I know IWOTM, but they must have been reading their “Weaver on Strategy.” Five of the Mets’ runs scored by a three run homer in the second (two walks followed by a blast) and a two run homer in the seventh (a walk followed by a blast). Their other run was on three straight singles with two outs in the sixth.
Kevin Gausman started for the Braves and went five and two thirds, giving up four runs. He actually pitched pretty well; the only hits he gave up were the three run dinger in the second, two of those three singles in the sixth, and a leadoff single in the fifth that he managed to pitch around. The killer was the mini-episode in the second, when he somehow lost the strike zone in walking the first two batters of the inning. You knew that would come back to bite, and sure enough Ahmed Rosario followed one batter later with a blast to right center. As I say, other than that little stretch, I thought Gausman was pretty sharp (“Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln…”). Wes Parsons came on after the two singles in the sixth, and he allowed a run scoring single to the aforementioned Rosario. Jonny Venters started the seventh, and he opened that inning with his own two batter episode, walking Nimmo on four straight pitches and then allowing Pete Alonso to absolutely crush a ball to straightaway center. It looked like it was still rising when it hit the waterfall. I love Venters, and I know it’s early, but he’s beginning to remind me of EOF when the Braves brought him back after several years. Nostalgia doesn’t get hitters out.
Those six runs were more than enough, thanks to a strong outing by Steven Matz. In the first he gave up a double to Freddie followed by a triple to center by Acuña. The only other run he gave up was a line drive homer to left by Camargo. After that, he was pretty much unhittable, striking out 8 through six with only one walk. The Braves had their chances against the Mets’ pen, loading up the bases with one out in the seventh. Ozzie Albies came to the plate with the Braves down 4 as the potential tying run. (By the way, I heard that earlier in the day he may have signed a contract extension; y’all may wish to discuss in the comments). Unfortunately, Ozzie still has a weakness for the high fastball, especially batting lefty; he swing through one and struck out. Donaldson ended the inning by grounding out.
I mentioned the Mets young star Alonso and his prodigious blast in the seventh. Well, we have a young power hitting star of our own. When Ronald came to the plate in the eighth, he said to Alonso, “I see your blast to the waterfall; now watch this,” and promptly hit one into the swimming pool at the Omni Hotel. To be truthful, it may not have actually landed in the pool, but it did go over 460 feet in that direction. The Braves brought the tying run to the plate again in the ninth, and it looked like they may have some more of their ninth inning magic, but the mighty Freddie struck out.
A couple of broadcast notes: Tom Glavine was in the booth with Chip. On Camargo’s home run, Glavine pointed out that he hit a fastball that was right down the middle. Of course Glavine noted that, because he never in his long HOF career threw a fastball down the middle of the plate. Glavine was quite critical of the modern trend of emphasizing velocity over location. (Apparently the laws of physics do not allow one to have certainty as to both; remember Heisenberg?) As we all know, Glavine was the master of location. He was an outstanding pitcher for over twenty years because he had excellent fastball command. Glavine walked his share of batters—at least compared to Maddux. But what he never did, under any circumstances, was to throw a fastball over the heart of the plate. Glavine also credited Matz’s strong performance to his relying more on the changeup than a breaking ball to right handed batters. Again, that’s what Tom did. Fastballs that don’t hit 90 just off the outside corner and changeups also just outside. That was pretty much his entire repertoire—and it worked for a couple of decades.
It made me wonder whether a pitcher like Glavine could be successful today. A lot of folks say no, because umps today would not give him the strike call a few inches off the plate. But if Dan Bellino was calling the game, Glavine could still get people out. Bellino rung up both Culberson and Camargo in the eighth on balls that were several inches off the plate (he also had a strike call on Charlie on a check swing that wasn’t close to being a swing). It was so bad that Snit got ejected (good for him). The funny thing was that Glavine was highly critical of the ump, noting correctly that those pitches were plainly off the plate. Without getting those calls himself, would Glavine have been who he was?
The two teams are back at it tonight. Wright vs. Wheeler. I’ve got a feeling young Kyle is going to throw a gem. Of course Wheeler is awfully good. If their starting pitchers don’t get hurt, this Mets team could be for real. It’s going to be a great pennant race among four teams.