Mets Win A Big Game In Atlanta
Scherzer And Diaz Send The Braves A Huge Message By Rich Coutinho, The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com
When the New York Mets signed Max Scherzer in the off-season they dreamed of nights like this–Road games against quality opponents where Scherzer throws a game that submits a great offensive team into submission and hands it to the sports best closer-Edwin Diaz–to show that team who the boss is in graphic fashion.
Entering this game all we heard about was the Mets had almost surrendered their entire NL East lead which sat at 1.5 games (2 in the loss column) and Robinson Cano would play for the Braves with Mets still paying him. But the fact that all the critics failed to mention was that the trade that brought Cano to the Mets also brought Edwin Diaz to Flushing. But we will talk more about that in a bit because the story of the night was Max Scherzer.
In his second start since returning from the injured list, he threw another gem going 7 innings giving up only 3 hits, one run striking out 9 while walking nobody. Meanwhile, the Met offense kept dragging up the pitch count of Max Fried drawing 5 walks. They scored two third inning runs on a Pete Alonso double and a Luis Guillorme force out.
It is ironic that all the chatter about Cano kept percolating as he stroked 2 hits but they neglected to mention Guillorme stroked a solo homer to give the Mets an insurance run who was in the lineup replacing Jeff McNeil who is on paternity leave. And a big reason the Mets released Cano was the fact the organization believed in the young Mets utility man who brought a .300 batting average to Truist Field on this night.
Once Scherzer left after 7 outstanding innings, Adam Ottavino got some huge 8th inning outs before Edwin Diaz strode to the mound and struck out the Braves 3, 4 and 5 hitters (Matt Olson, Austin Riley, and Marcel Ozuna) to put the game away.
On this night, the Mets sent a stern, direct message to the baseball world. The Braves are a good team but this Met team is not the 2021 team as they do not ever back down from anybody. They have not gotten an inning from Jacob deGrom and on this night were missing Starling Marte, Jeff McNeil, and James McCann from the lineup, but they responded with back up players performing coupled with a future Hall of Famer showing the Braves in a short series they will have to deal with him as well as Jacob deGrom later in the season.
The baseball world was convinced the Braves would pass the Mets in Atlanta but that could not happen even if the Braves win the next 2 days as Mets now lead by 2.5 games with 2 games remaining in this series. In addition to his great pitching performances, Scherzer leads by example showing his teammates what it takes to win–a game plan that has every detail immersed in it and executing that game plan to the letter of the law.
A great illustration was how the Mets pitched Matt Olson–one of the Braves big bats. He struck out 4 times on this night because the game plan was simple–sliders that danced inside the dish with late movement that forced him to miss the low and in pitch as he is a great high fastball hitter. Scherzer executed it three times and then Edwin Diaz tossed his great slider to give Olson the golden sombrero.
Simply put, Buck Showalter devises a game plan that leaves no stone unturned and then veterans like Scherzer, Lindor and Canha make sure that message circulates in every corner of that clubhouse. And that message was given to the Braves on this night. Now don’t get me wrong–I have respect for the Braves but this Met team has won 3 of 5 from them this year because they are always well prepared to utilize the great roster they assembled in EVERY way.
And once deGrom returns, does any team want to face a series versus this team with Scherzer, deGrom, Bassit, Walker and Carrasco starting the game and Mr. Automatic–Edwin Diaz ready to close it. Throw in the sports best power hitter in Pete Alonso and heavy RBI bats like Francisco Lindor and Jeff McNeil coupled with great on-base players like Brandon Nimmo, Mark Canha and Starling Marte. It is a tough team to beat no matter how hot you are or where the game is played.
Th New York Mets illustrated that in detail to the World Champions last night and this race will still have many twists and turns but this 2022 Met team knows how to win in a myriad of ways despite what the baseball media might say. The Mets could care less what those critics say and showed that last night.