We’re reaching the final stages of the 2017 season, and tonight marks the beginning of a nine-game homestand for the Atlanta Braves. This will also be the final homestand of the season, as they’ll end this year’s campaign with a six-game road trip starting on September 25. But for now, they’ll be welcoming in the Mets for this weekend’s series.
To say that this season has gone horribly wrong for the Mets would be an understatement. New York lost to the Cubs 14-6 last night, and the ending was absolutely hilarious.
Wow what a way to end the game, ha! CUBS WIN! pic.twitter.com/nv3Sr98PJn— ⓂarcusD (@_MarcusD2_) September 15, 2017
The loss saw the Mets get mathematically eliminated from the postseason. Yes, the Braves ended up lasting longer than the Mets did in the playoff race, just like we all predicted back in March!
Injuries played a big role in utterly derailing New York’s season, which is why the team the Braves will likely face tonight and the rest of this weekend is nearly unrecognizable from when the Braves last met the Mets in June. You could say the same about the Braves as well, and that’s one thing that struggling teams have in common by the time September rolls around — flux is inevitable and change is more-than-likely afoot.
Tonight’s pitching matchup is another example of what happens when two teams who are out of it face each other in September — you’re basically getting an audition for 2018. Sean Newcomb will be making his 17th start of the season and the obvious hope is that he can get back on the good foot after a string of somewhat underwhelming starts. He threw five shutout innings against the Reds back on August 20, but he’s been taking his fair share of lumps since the calendar switched to August. Granted, that’s what you’d expect out of a rookie but you also want to see flashes of what to expect going forward, and maybe we’ll see that tonight against the Mets.
Meanwhile, New York will be sending Rafael Montero to the mound tonight. Again, Montero is auditioning for 2018 and while it’ll be tough to crack that rotation when the Mets have a fully-healthy staff to choose from, Montero’s been doing his level best to make sure he’s in the conversation. He made it into the ninth inning against Cincinnati back on August 30, and aside from a couple of bumps in the road, he’s been pretty solid for the Mets this season.
The last time the Braves ran into Montero was all the way back on April 5, and it was actually a big moment for the Braves. The game was tied 1-1 and Montero entered the game in relief for the eighth inning. Kurt Suzuki, Ender Inciarte, and Freddie Freeman all reached base, and Matt Kemp finished off the rally with a two-run double. Safe to say, it would be nice to see those names continue to reach base against Montero tonight, and they’ll have more than just one inning to do so.
On the other hand, Sean Newcomb has fond memories of the Mets — he made his debut against New York and it was a lovely debut, at that. Again, let’s hope for a repeat of that performance because that would mean that the Braves would still be in the game with a chance to win.
There’s still plenty of reason to keep an eye on the Braves as the 2017 season rounds to a close. The future is being developed right before our very eyes, and it’ll be interesting to see if performances in September have a huge effect on what happens next Spring and even before then.
Time/Date: Friday, September 15, 7:35 p.m. ET
Location: SunTrust Park
TV: FOX Sports South
Radio: 680 AM/93.7 FM, Braves Radio Network