You know it is going to be a bizarre night when Jacob deGrom gives up 3 first inning runs on an Ozzie Albies RBI single and a 2 run homer from Austin Riley that put the Mets in a 3-1 hole after the first frame. And the way the Met offense has been struggling you just knew it would be an uphill climb for them.
But Jacob deGrom found his game after that three run first inning, striking out 14 Braves and retiring the last 18 hitters in a row that he faced in this game. And once we got past the sixth inning the Mets got their customary 7th inning wakeup call as Dominic Smith crushed 2 solo homers- the second of the two occurring in the 9th inning that knotted the score at 3
Seth Lugo took the mound in that ninth inning and I witnessed one of the most bizarre walk off wins that I ever saw as the Braves win the game without hitting a ball out of the infield. The frame began when Guillermo Heredia hit a swinging roller that Seth Lugo tried to field but he lost his footing and his errant throw resulted in a 2 base error. But Lugo rebounded retiring the next two batters before intentionally walking Ronald Acuna setting up a matchup with Ender Inciarte with runners on the corners and 2 outs. But after getting ahead of him o and 2 Lugo could not put him away walking him in an 8 pitch at bat.
That brought Freddie Freeman to the plate who hit a sharp comebacker to Lugo who deflected it towards Met third basemen Luis Guillorme who rather than try to beat Ronald Acuna to third base for the force play tried to throw Freeman out at first but the Braves first basemen beat the play giving the Braves a win with a ninth inning rally featuring a frame where not one batter hit one past the infield. That is about as bizarre as you could get.
The Mets head back to NY for a 3 game Subway Series in the Bronx before they play the Brewers and Pirates in 7 games that will take us to the All Star Break. They still sit in first place 2 games ahead of the red hot Washington Nationals who were cooled off by the Dodgers in a rain shortened loss in DC. They also lead these Braves by 3.5 games and the Phils by 4.5 games in a division where they have held the top spot for nearly 2 months.
It will be a challenging weekend for them because this Yankee team they are facing is coming off a historically brutal loss to the Angels on Wednesday and whose season appears to be in DEFCON 5 stages right now. The Mets should get Brandon Nimmo off the injured list for the Subway Series and I expect them to DH either Pete Alonso or Dom Smith putting an outfield out there of Conforto, Pillar and Nimmo. The Mets need to load lefties in the lineup because their swings could take advantage of the minor-league like right field dimensions at Yankee Stadium.
Jordan Montgomery will face Taijuan Walker tonight while the Mets get a shot at Gerrit Cole as he will face off against Marcus Stroman on Saturday in the non-creme filled world that Cole must now reside in when he takes the mound. It will be a fun weekend in the Bronx. The last three years the 2 teams have played 16 regular season Subway Series games with each team winning 8 times.
So the recent history has been more evenly matched than some may contend. I am sure these 3 games will bring plenty of both Met and Yankee fans through the turnstiles creating a fun weekend in the Bronx.