It’s a fairly uncommon Sunday win for me to recap!
The Braves came back home to Atlanta having lost two series in a row, prompting some wringing of hands about the team’s prospects for the division title after not fully taking advantage of the Mets losing 5-of-7 to horrible teams. This would mark the second time these lamentations have proved premature by my count. After a three-game sweep of the potentially playoff-bound Phillies, we’re down a game going into a week where we play horrendous Washington and the Mets have to play the potentially playoff-bound Brewers.
The Braves pulled away late for a 5-2 win over Philadelphia on Sunday, getting an outstanding start from Spencer Strider and some more timely hitting to complete a sweep that throws the Phillies playoff hopes back into some flux.
Strider was outstanding through six innings, getting through the opening 5 2/3 without allowing a hit. Unfortunately, the one hit he did allow was a game-tying home run to Alec Bohm in the sixth (on which Michael Harris almost made a play that we would’ve been comparing to the Otis Nixon catch in 1992 for the best catch in franchise history…but almost doesn’t count, alas). He left after the sixth, having allowed just the one hit and one run while striking out 10. He did walk three, which helped to drive his pitch count up and meant he almost certainly wouldn’t have been able to finish even if his no-hitter had continued (in fact, it was looking like the sixth was gonna be it for him regardless). He finished with 106 pitches.
Offensively, the Braves started the scoring in the third when Robbie Grossman doubled home Harris, who led off the inning with a double. Right after the Phillies tied the game in the top of the sixth, William Contreras answered in the bottom half with a bomb of his own to happily give Strider the lead back before officially being lifted, giving him a chance to win the game (I know it’s en vogue around here to act like a win is totally worthless, but Strider deserved it…sue me for being happy about it if you want to).
Additionally, there was no hibernation mode today. Up 2-1 in the seventh, the Braves proceeded to add on in each of their next two times at bat. Grossman continued his left-handed renaissance (or his clowning of the narrative of his demise as a left-handed hitter when we traded for him, whichever is more accurate) with a homer into the Chop House seats to make it 3-1. Later in the inning, Ronald Acuna doubled and Austin Riley singled him home to make it 4-1. In the eighth, Marcell Ozuna doubled home Harris to add the fifth and final run.
As far as relief goes, Tyler Matzek gave the Phillies probably their best scoring chance of the game in the seventh, allowing a hit and a walk with the Braves up just 2-1. He got out of the mess with a pair of strikeouts, though, and the Phillies were down 4-1 with six outs to work with the next time they came to the plate. A.J. Minter followed in the eighth with a hit allowed and strikeout. Jesse Chavez allowed a garbage-time home run en route to picking up an Atlanta Save (which maybe doesn’t really qualify as an Atlanta Save since our top relievers were not taking part in it…I’ll have to check with the judges on that one).
So we’re still just a game back going into a three-game home set against Washington. As I mentioned, the Mets have to travel to a desperate Milwaukee for three games. I know Milwaukee isn’t great, but maybe we can get at least a little bit of help this week. The schedule goes back to Advantage Mets next weekend with the Braves in Philadelphia for four and the Mets in Oakland for three.