The Atlanta Braves (61-91) defeated the Mets (85-66) by a score of 6-2. Matt Wisler was very good for Atlanta, with 7 innings allowing only 1 run, while Logan Verrett allowed 4 runs in 5 innings, with all 4 runs coming on 2 home runs in the 5th inning. The Mets wasted some opportunities against Wisler early and scored only one run with a major opportunity in the 8th against Wisler and the Atlanta bullpen. However, a Baltimore defeat of Washington reduces the Mets’ magic number to 6, while keeping their divisional lead at 6.5 games. Wisler has just his 6th quality start in his first 17 career starts, and 3 of those 6 have come against the Mets (oddly enough, the other 3 came against St. Louis, Colorado (in COL), and the Yankees, some fairly strong offenses).
Once again, the Mets got off to a fast start, but failed to come away with much. After Logan Verrett worked around a leadoff single, David Wright hit a 1-out solo home run to put the Mets up 1-0. Daniel Murphy followed with a 1-out double, but they stranded him there. The Mets had a leadoff single in the 2nd, and a 1-out double in the 6th, but those were the only real threats against Wisler, who once again shut down the Mets, this time through 7+ innings. Wisler allowed only 5 hits, 2 runs, and 1 walk while striking out 8.
After 4 fairly easy innings, the Braves jumped on Logan Verrett in the 5th, first with a home run to Jace Peterson to tie the game at 1. An out, a single, and a sac bunt put a runner on 2nd with 3 outs. Verrett intentionally walked Nick Markakis (curious call) to face Hector Olivera, who hit a 3-run home run to make it 4-1 Braves. Verrett was done after 5 innings, allowing 5 hits, 4 runs, and 1 walk, while striking out 3.
The Mets kept it 4-1 until the 8th inning, when Curtis Granderson drew a leadoff walk against Matt Wisler to chase him from the game. A single by David Wright singled against righty Peter Moylan before Freddi Gonzalez brought Matt Marksberry into the game to face Daniel Murphy. Murphy popped out, but Yoenis Cespedes walked to load the bases. After pinch hitter Michael Cuddyer was announced, Gonzalez countered with righty Edwin Jackson, who got out of the jam while only allowing a sacrifice fly to Cuddyer. It was 4-2 through 8.
In the top of the 9th though, Tyler Clippard got into trouble immediately by allowing a leadoff double to Nick Swisher. After two foul popouts to Kevin Plawecki, Clippard lost Michael Bourn on a walk before allowing a pinch-hit 2-run double to Adonis Garcia (Garcia also hit the pinch-hit 3-run home run to tie off of Clippard a week and a half ago). Arodys Vizcaino retired the Mets in order in the bottom of the 9th to complete a 6-2 loss.
With the win combined with Washington’s 4-1 loss to Baltimore, the Mets remain 6.5 games up with 11 left to play (12 for the Nationals). The magic number is down to 6.
Positives: David Wright and Daniel Murphy each had good games, going 2-4 each. Murphy had 2 doubles, but was stranded both times, while Wright had a single and a solo home run. Sean Gilmartin also pitched two scoreless innings, allowing only 2 hits while striking out 3, and Hansel Robles had a nice bounce-back outing after his debacle on Sunday.
Negatives: Tyler Clippard continues to have trouble with his command, allowing yet another big hit, to Adonis Garcia for the 2nd time in as many weeks. As the radio broadcast noted, Clippard is leaving his pitches up, which won’t particularly work for a changeup pitcher who does not have a hard fastball. Logan Verrett was solid before his 5th inning, but he was unable to limit the damage. Also, Lucas Duda continues to struggle since his return from injury. Also, I understand the decision to walk Nick Markakis, the lefty having a fantastic season in order to face rookie Hector Olivera, but Olivera is no slouch at the plate. This was a ridiculous call, but it is greatly colored by the benefit of hindsight.
WPA Winner: David Wright (.171)
WPA Loser: Logan Verrett (-.319 pitching, -.018 batting, -.337 total)
Best Play: David Wright homers, 1-0 Mets, 1st inning (.120)
Worst Play: Hector Olivera hits a 3-run home run, 4-1 Braves, 5th inning (-.361)