FLUSHING, NY, July 24 – The Atlanta Braves rocked the New York Mets 14-1 to win the opening series of the 2020 season. Every one of the Braves starters had at least one hit in the blowout win. Out of the 17 Braves hits, 11 were for extra bases including four long balls with one majestic blast by Austin Riley.
Rick Porcello, who was making his Mets debut could not get out of the third inning as the Braves bats pounded out seven hits and seven runs in just two-plus innings of work. After getting great starting pitching in the first two games of the year, Porcello put the Mets in a hole early in the game. With Noah Syndergaard out for the year and Marcus Stroman currently on the IL, Porcello is expected to pick up the slack.
After the Mets bullpen imploded in the previous game, three relievers combined to pitch seven innings giving up seven runs. Corey Oswalt pitched four innings giving up five runs on seven hits including three home runs. Paul Sewald tossed two innings giving up two runs on two hits. Hunter Strickland who took the loss in Saturday’s extra-innings game rebounded with a scoreless frame in the ninth inning.
Braves Scored Early and Often
With one out in the top of the first inning, Ozzie Albies doubled and was followed by a walk to Freddie Freeman. Porcello was having a hard time throwing strikes all game long, and the Braves made him pay. Matt Adams single drove in Albies with the first run of the game. Adams who was in the Mets Summer camp, signed with the Braves after requesting his release when he did not make the Mets opening day roster.
Dansby Swanson, who had a big night then drove in Freeman with a run-scoring single as the Braves jumped out to a 2-0 lead. The inning could have been worse for Porcello but Mets centerfielder Brandon Nimmo cut down Adams at third just after Freeman scored.
Mets Wasted Chance
The Braves offense sent Sean Newcomb to the mound with a 2-0 lead and he nearly gave it up. Newcomb also was having control problems of his own when he got behind leadoff batter Amed Rosario. Rosario would ground out for the first out. Newcomb then hit the next two batters, Jeff McNeil and Pete Alonso, and the Mets were a base hit away from cutting the lead in half. Yoenis Cespedes struck out on a full count and Michael Conforto on a check swing grounded out weakly to third base ending the inning.
Porcello got into trouble again in the second inning by giving up back to back one-out singles to Ender Inciarte and William Contreras. But Porcello would get Ronald Acuna Jr. to ground into a double play to keep the Braves off the scoreboard. The Mets would push across a run in the bottom of the inning after a two-out walk to Tomas Nido and an RBI double by Nimmo. Rosario would ground out to end the inning.
Braves Take Control
In the top of the third inning, the Braves would bat around and plate five runs. Albies got the inning started by reaching on an error by McNeil. After a walk to Freeman, Marcell Ozuna hit a run-scoring double to left field over the head of J.D. Davis. Adams walked to load the bases when Swanson would hit a two-run double to left field. As with the double by Ozuna, Davis appeared to take a strange route to the ball and both sailed over his head.
With the Braves winning 5-1, Mets manager Luis Rojas would replace Porcello with Oswalt. Riley would walk to load the bases setting the table for Inciarte to stroke a two-run double. Oswalt would settle things down and retire the next three batters. Now trailing 7-1 the Mets would get two men on with two outs in the bottom of the inning. But Conforto grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the threat.
Braves Play Long Ball
Leading 7-1, the Braves decided to show off their power by hitting four homers in the next four innings. Swanson capped a five-RBI night with a two-run shot in the fourth inning. Albies double to right scoring Acuna. with the 10th Braves run in the fifth inning.
In the sixth inning, the Braves added a pair of home runs. Ozuna led off the inning with a solo shot to center. Three batters later Riley launched a ball deep into the left-field bleachers at City Field. Albies hit a two-run homer in the seventh inning to close out the scoring for the Braves. The Mets never seriously threatened again and the Braves leave Citi Field with an opening weekend series win.
Amed Rosario was the third different leadoff batter for the Mets in their first three games. Brandon Nimmo and Jeff McNeil were the other two. Yoenis Cespedes was the designated hitter for all three games in this series. The Mets bats were quiet in this series. In three games the Mets have scored five runs on 21 hits with 24 men left on base. This includes a paltry 4-21 with men in scoring position.
The Mets play their next four games vs the Boston Red Sox. Monday and Tuesday the Mets travel to Boston and Wednesday and Thursday the series shifts to New York. The scheduled pitchers for Monday’s game are for the Mets Michael Wacha and for the Red Sox Phillips Valdez. Corey Oswalt is the listed starter for Tuesday’s game. After pitching four innings in Saturday’s game, the Mets have not confirmed that Oswalt will start on Tuesday.
Embed from Getty Images