For the second night in a row, the Braves played a fairly meaningless game against the New York Mets. For the second night in a row, the Mets hit a couple of homers off of the Atlanta starter, and that was the difference in the game. It happens, and it would have been annoying if it meant anything. As it is, the Braves are just counting down the hours ‘til the NLDS. So it goes.
All the scoring in this one happened quickly and in compressed fashion. Mike Foltynewicz started his third inning of work by allowing a leadoff single to Todd Frazier, and a misplaced slider to former Brave Rene Rivera got deposited into the left-center seats shortly thereafter, granting New York a 2-0 lead. Two batters later, with two outs, Pete Alonso got a middle-middle two-seamer and did what he had done 52 times previously this season — knocked it out of the park. His 53rd homer of the season sets a new rookie home run record. And that’s it. The Braves did their best to emphasize the only-homers-matter nature of 2019 baseball in the very next half-inning, by stranding a leadoff triple by Adam Duvall at third base. Yes, this was a game in which Rene Rivera hit a homer, but the Braves could not score a guy after a leadoff triple.
Mike Foltynewicz pitched reasonably well in his final tune-up before the postseason, or at least as reasonably well as one can pitch when allowing Rene Rivera to collect his first major league longball in over a calendar year. Limited to just 61 pitches, Foltynewicz allowed three hits (two of which were homers) and one walk in four innings, striking out five Mets in the process. Max Fried then came on for his first relief appearance since March and was straight dominant, throwing 29 strikes to 14 balls, facing just one batter over the minimum, and punching out five Mets in 3 2⁄3 innings of work. For some reason, Fried was not allowed to finish the game but gave way to Chris Martin for one batter, whom Martin dispatched via strikeout. The Braves appear committed to not starting Fried in the postseason, but if they can get him to throw a sizable collection of innings as a bulk guy, that might just work out.
Offensively, it was nothing doing for Atlanta. They tied the Mets in hits (four) and out-walked them (five to two), but were shut out for just the fifth time all year. Steven Matz hurled six innings of two-hit, five-walk, seven-strikeout ball, and a trio of Jeurys Familia, former Brave Brad Brach, and Edwin Diaz closed out the game. The Braves had a few decent offensive innings, including a three-walk effort against Matz in the second, a two-out rally consisting of a Freddie Freeman single and a Josh Donaldson hit-by-pitch in the third, and Duvall’s leadoff triple in the fourth, but nothing came to fruition.
This was the first time the Braves dropped a series to the Mets this year. They’ll get one final chance for win number 98 tomorrow afternoon, and then it’s on to the postseason. Congratulations to Pete Alonso, and I for one am glad that his dinger propensity is not going to torment the Braves for much longer in 2019.