The Mets were limited to six hits en route to their third consecutive loss, 4-2, to the Braves on Thursday night at Citi Field.
Things you should know about tonight's game...
1) Jason Vargas allowed four runs on six hits and three walks while tying a season-high with seven strikeouts in five innings. The southpaw allowed a run in the first and was betrayed by his defense in the third thanks to a poor throw by Wilmer Flores and a dropped pop up by Kevin Plawecki, which helped Atlanta tacked on three more runs. Vargas (2-7) extended his dubious record of not pitching into the sixth for the 11th consecutive start to begin a season.
2) Brandon Nimmo led off the bottom of the first with his third leadoff home run of the season and just his second long ball in 37 games. Luis Guillorme added a pinch-hit RBI single in the fifth and Wilmer Flores had two hits and walked, but he also short-circuited a rally in the sixth by getting thrown out trying to stretch his single into a double. Todd Frazier went 0-for-4 after missing 19 games with a strained rib cage muscle.
3) Bobby Wahl -- one of two prospects the Mets received from the A's in the Jeurys Familia trade -- made his debut with the club and retired both batters he faced in the eighth, striking out one. New York's pitchers combined to retire the last 16 batters -- 12 by the bullpen quartet of Paul Sewald, Jerry Blevins, Robert Gsellman and Wahl.
Michael Avallone, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Watching the Mets since the end of April has been a painful enough proposition. Watching them play the Braves and witnessing the tremendous disparity in athleticism, pep and youth makes things that much worse, if it's possible.
By their own admission, the Braves' rebuild has appeared to end a year or two sooner than expected. What we're seeing and have seen is a team flush with young, exciting talent that has found the right ingredients to take the next step. On the mound, in the field and at the plate, Atlanta has put itself in position to be a thorn in New York's side for quite some time. And there's more on the way in the minors.
Contrast that with the Mets, who appeared to be the up-and-comers in 2015 but have watched that window slam shut quickly. New York has several intriguing prospects who are getting closer -- nowhere near Atlanta's stockpile -- but the well isn't totally dry. Unfortunately for the Mets, most of their best prospects still reside in the lower reaches of the system. This season's merry-go-round of call-ups -- Ty Kelly, Jose Lobaton, etc. -- shows how devoid the Mets are of ready-made prospects.
It becomes that much more glaring when facing a team like the Braves, who the Mets will have to contend with in an already quickly-improving division.
News and notes...
The Mets dropped to 3-10 against the Braves this season, including 0-4 at Citi Field. New York has lost 23 of its last 32 home games and fell to a season[-worst 18 games below .500 (44-62).
Since homering twice during a four-hit night against the Rockies on June 18, Nimmo is batting .195/.327/.297 with 51 strikeouts in 37 games.
Jose Bautista went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and is hitting .178 with 32 whiffs in 26 games since July 1.
Vargas has surrendered seven runs in 9 1/3 innings across two starts since his return from a calf strain last Friday in Pittsburgh.
Prior to the game, the Mets activated Frazier from the disabled list and purchased the Wahl's contract from Las Vegas. Phillip Evans was placed on the DL with an undisplaced fractured tibia and Jacob Rhame was optioned to Triple-A.
The Mets (44-62) continue their series with the Braves (58-47) from Citi Field on Friday night at 7 p.m. on SNY.
Jacob deGrom (5-6, 1.82 ERA/2.25 FIP, 164 K, 0.976 WHIP) takes the mound looking to snap a four-game losing streak that has spanned six starts. The right-hander has a 2.51 ERA in that stretch and a 1.86 mark in his last 12 starts, but only one win to show for it. DeGrom has allowed two runs in 25 innings against the Braves this season but has no victories in those four outings. He is 5-4 with a 1.80 ERA in 15 career matchups with Atlanta.
Anibal Sanchez (5-3, 3.00 ERA/3.68 FIP, 74 Ks, 1.090 WHIP) hopes to bounce back after surrendering five runs -- four earned -- over 6 1/3 innings in his worst start since mid-June. The 34-year-old has been consistent all season, allowing two runs or less in eight of his 13 starts. Sanchez struggled against the Mets on April 25 when he surrendered four runs in five innings. He is 4-5 with a 4.34 ERA in 13 career starts against New York.