The south comes with some expectations. You expect a lot of fried food. You expect possible death by humidity or at the very least a really bad hair day. Above all these things, you expect some southern hospitality. Mets fans can thank the Atlanta Braves for good manners.
Jacob deGrom took the mound for the New York Mets on Sunday (4-24) afternoon in hopes of completing a three game sweep of the team in the south. One would think a 16-day absence would lead to some hiccups. Not the case for this kid. He was on cruise control through 5 2/3 innings allowing only one run.
Manager Terry Collins resolved deGrom would only be allowed 85 pitches in this game. Not only was he dealing with the medical emergency with his son, Jaxon, the pitcher also had a troublesome lat muscle he was healing from. After 82 pitches, he was done.
The bullpen came in and Jeurys Familia closed the door on the comeback the Braves attempted. Of course, it helped when Familia took his foot out of the way after allowing one run.
If you were looking for home runs to win this game, you were sorely disappointed. It was the little things like sacrifice fly balls that did. Michael Conforto, who has a .324 BA on the road trip, started the offense off with a sacrifice fly.
Conforto hit a sac fly to score Curtis Granderson in the first. 1-0 Mets
Braves come within one with a Nick Markakis single to right field. Jace Peterson scores. Tied at one.
Conforto followed that in the sixth with a ground rule double. Granderson scores again. 2-1 Mets. Still in the sixth inning, Lucas Duda comes to the plate. Sac fly to center allowing Asdrubal to score. 3-1 Mets.
In an attempt for the Braves to mount a comeback in the ninth, Jeff Francoeur singles a ground ball to right, scoring Kelly Johnson. The attempt was futile. Mets win in a nail biter: 3-2.
Collins felt the offensive aspect of the game was:
“…well-played…with the situational hitting…but I’d like to hit four homers a game.”
Regarding the bullpen there are concerns. Collins told reporters after the game “they’re tired”. Relievers Antonio Bastardo and Addison Reed were unavailable for today’s game. The manager gave both guys the day off.
The Mets come back to Citi Field Monday (4-25) against the Reds for three games with an off day on Thursday. Then they face a difficult stretch playing 17 games straight. Collins feels this road trip was good for the team.
“It’s good to get on this road trip, really and start playing consistently and start playing everyday like we’re supposed to.”
A positive road trip is just what the baseball doctor ordered to get this team back on track. It may still be too early in the season to think playoff race, but you have to admit seeing this team win eight out of their last ten games is definitely encouraging.