Shouldn’t have been that close, but both of our teams have tire-fire bullpens right now. Ervin Santana was again superb; somehow, allowing one run in 7 innings actually raised his ERA to 0.86. “Harang and Santana and pray for Dantanna’s”? “Ervin and Aaron are both mighty scarin'”? Help me out here, guys.
Bartolo Colon was typically maddening and the Braves’ first two runs were a gift in multiple ways: they came via an infield single-ball thrown away sequence where the infield single was almost certainly hit off Freeman’s foot. We added another on a Heyward single-Bupton single-Freeman double sequence that would be nice to see a lot more of.
(Bartolo Colon also had one of the most entertaining at-bats I’ve ever seen. Mesmerizing.)
I won’t try to analyze Ervin Santana like I analyzed Aaron Harang yesterday — he’s been plenty good before, as I’ve written — but he’s throwing a lot more changeups this year than ever before. As I said, pitch mix is a place where you’re likely to see the influence of a pitching coach, and thus far, his changeup has been a real weapon for him.
So it was 3-1 Braves through 7 innings. And then, just like the previous game, the Braves scored a bunch off the Mets’ bullpen in the 8th and 9th. Jupton scored an old-school National League run in the 8th when he hit a single, stole second, advanced to third on a groundout, and scored on a Daisuke Matsuzaka wild pitch. Then in the 9th he hit a three-run bomb off Jose Valverde. (Those runs were unearned because Valverde Bucknered a Jordan Schafer bunt to open the inning, then recorded two quick outs before intentionally walking Freddie to get to Justin. Oops.)
David Carpenter and Craig Kimbrel gave up two runs each. Their velocity was fine, but the control is a problem, to say the very least. But Carpenter is making about $40 million less than Kimbrel, so I’ll focus on the Kraken.
Craig Kimbrel came in after a week off while he recovered from shoulder soreness, and he nearly yakked it all up. The velocity was basically fine — he just couldn’t control where the ball was going, and both the fastball and slider kept tailing back up over the heart of the plate. After giving up a hit by pitch, a single, an RBI double, an RBI single, and a walk, Fredi yanked him and put in Walden to try to get the game’s final out with the bases loaded. Kimbrel wasn’t happy, but it was the right move, and Jordan got the job done. Kimbrel said all the right things in the clubhouse after the game, apologizing to Fredi for swearing at him when he took the ball from him, and I’m glad to see the velocity was there. Hopefully, next time he’ll have his command.
Fredi made an early decision that was moot in retrospect but really stupid at the time, and I’ll just mention it here. In the first inning, Ervin Santana gave up a leadoff walk to Eric Young, who promptly stole second and took third on a flyout to deep center. And then, with David Wright at the plate in the first inning, Fredi brought the infield in.
Wright is the Mets’ best hitter and there are 8 innings left to play. You don’t bring the infield in there. Bringing the infield in is a last-ditch, play for a single run type of move like calling for a position player to make a sacrifice bunt in the 8th inning. As it was, Wright hit a ball in a spot where Andrelton Simmons could easily have fielded it at his normal depth, and traded a run for an out. Instead, it went for an RBI single. There was no further harm done in the inning, but giving away extra outs is never a smart move.