MLB: New York Mets at Atlanta Braves

Game recap May 30: Split series

Boy, it feels good to bounce back. Coming off a crushing walkoff loss in the game prior, the Mets rebounded to defeat Atlanta by a score of 4-1. Wednesday’s win allowed the Mets to split the series with the Braves and prevented them from digging their hole any deeper. They also staved off another opportunity to fall below .500 with the victory. Julio Teheran, who regularly seems to dominate the Mets, just didn’t seem to have it, surrendering two runs, five hits and three walks. On the back of Amed Rosario, Brandon Nimmo and Adrian Gonzalez, the Amazins’ were able to seal the deal to record Jason Vargas’ second win of 2018. Here’s how it shook out.

Vargas Did What?

Given their crumbling depth in the starting rotation, you would think that Mickey Callaway would squeeze every inning he could out of his starters. Wednesday, he did the exact opposite. The wildly inconsistent and ineffective Vargas took the mound and came out firing. The lefthander shut out the Braves across five frames, surrendering two hits and one walk, and striking out two. At only 65 pitches, the expectation would be that Vargas would go deep into this game. Instead, Mickey Callaway opted to pull him after the fifth, giving an early hook to his pitcher throwing on just three days rest. The result is not all bad, however. Allowing Vargas to leave on a high note may instill some confidence and lead to more productive outings going forward.

The Magnificent Amed Rosario

Amidst his early-season struggles, many doubts arose surrounding the viability of Rosario’s future. A consensus top prospect, the impatience was semi-warranted. You either have it or you don’t. The good news is that Rosario really seems to finally be putting everything together. In the last seven days, the 22-year-old is batting .357/.400/.571 with a home run, four RBIs and two stolen bases. That includes the two huge extra base hits he chipped in last night — a triple in the seventh and a double in the ninth. Both resulted in Rosario coming across to score two very important insurance runs. He also made a sparkling diving stop to begin a 6-4-3 double play and get Jeurys Familia out of a tumultuous eighth inning.

We’ve Found Nimmo

This almost hurts to write for two reasons. First, I’ve been a big supporter of Jay Bruce and have continually advocated for him to remain in the lineup and work out of his slump. Second, I was completely in favor of shipping Brandon Nimmo to Pittsburgh in exchange for Andrew McCutchen. Well, it’s safe to say I was dead wrong. From the moment spring training kicked off, Nimmo has looked like a quality big leaguer that deserves the opportunity to play every day at the major league level. There is no reason to leave Nimmo on the bench just on his plate discipline alone. To make matters sweeter, it looks like his bat is coming around now too. Over his last eight games, Nimmo has posted a .333/.444/.733 slash line with two home runs, five RBIs and two stolen bases. In four at-bats, Nimmo notched two hits Wednesday — a bloop single that drove home Rosario in the seventh and a line drive doubles over the head of Nick Markakis in the ninth. Those two RBI knocks proved critical and he is now up to a scorching hot .970 OPS on the season. Could we possibly see Brandon Nimmo make an appearance at the All-Star game this July?

Joey Bats Hits Balls Hard

Sandy Alderson already pulled a rabbit out of his hat by turning Matt Harvey into Devin Mesoraco. Now, after plucking Jose Bautista from the depths of obscurity, he may just have found a diamond in the rough. During his stint in Atlanta this season, it didn’t seem like there was much baseball left in Bautista. After all, he was 5-for-37. Bautista is already well past that number as a member of the Mets and scorched a double to left field last night. Even when the hits aren’t falling, he is still finding a way to hit the ball hard. The last seven days of Joey Bats have been magnificent, with the 37-year-old sporting a 1.105 OPS. If Wednesday was any indication, Jose Bautista may just prove to be a valuable piece down the stretch.

A-Gon is Still Hanging Around

If I were to be completely honest, I would have ventured to say that Adrian Gonzalez would be long gone by now. Instead, the other geriatric player in the Mets starting lineup is not only hanging around but producing his fair share. Gonzalez posted a 2-4 night at the plate, driving in two runs. He opened the scoring in the first with a rocket ground rule double and picked up an insurance run in the eighth when he drove Jose Bautista home. Over his last 25 games, Gonzalez looks like an All-Star, batting .305 with seven extra-base hits, 12 RBI, and an OPS of .850. Maybe first base isn’t such a big problem for the Mets after all.

New Arms in Atlanta

In order to bolster their depleted bullpen, the Mets called up three relievers prior to Wednesday’s game. Tim Peterson and Buddy Baumann joined the Mets from Las Vegas, while Scott Copeland departed Binghamton. Peterson made his first major league experience after relieving Vargas in the sixth. Despite surrendering a home run to Johan Camargo (in the exact same spot that he hit his walk-off to in the game prior), Peterson looked good. The righthander posted two frames with a walk being the only other blemish besides the home run. Jeurys Familia and Robert Gsellman combined for the final two innings of the game, with Gsellman recording his second save of the season after a perfect ninth.

The Mets return home to Citi Field tonight to face the Chicago Cubs. Seth Lugo makes his debut as a starter against Jose Quintana at 7:10 p.m. And before I go, shout out to Ed Kranepool. He did not deserve the Don LaGreca treatment on ESPN Radio yesterday.

Photo credit: Jason Getz – USA Today Sports

Related Articles

Leave a comment

Use your Baseball Prospectus username