After losing 3/4 in Washington, the New York Mets headed back home to face the Braves at Citi Field. The Mets have held onto the first place title for over a month now, which is quite amazing considering all the injuries they have dealt with. Luckily, multiple key offensive players returned in this series, which included Jeff McNeil and Michael Conforto. The Mets are currently in stretch where they are playing 16 straight games against NL East opponents, so this series was quite important.
June 21st (Game 1): Mets 4 – Braves 2
In the first game of a doubleheader, the storyline was Jacob deGrom. After having to leave a few starts in a row due to injury, deGrom looked absolutely brilliant in this one. Through 5 innings, deGrom struck out 6, walked 2, allowed 1 hit, and of course did not give up a run. DeGrom probably could’ve went a little longer, as he threw only 70 pitches, but the Mets decided to play it safe. The Mets’ ace continued his historic season, dropping his ERA to 0.50 through 12 starts. DeGrom’s 0.51 WHIP is the lowest any pitcher has ever had through through 12 starts since at least 1901.
Jeff McNeil made his return from a hamstring injury in this game, and immediately knocked a base hit as a pinch hitter. The big hit of the game was provided from Dominic Smith, who cleared the bases with a 3-run double. Seth Lugo pitched the 6th inning and allowed a 2-run home run to Ozzie Albies, cutting the Mets lead to 4-2. Edwin Diaz got the 7th inning, and pitched a 1-2-3 inning to collect his 15th save of the season. (Remember doubleheaders are only 7 innings now.)
June 21st (Game 2): Braves 1 – Mets 0
After having Jacob deGrom start the first game, the Mets had to go with Jerad Eickhoff to start the second game. Eickhoff made his first big league start in nearly 2 years and he was better than expected. In 4 innings, Eickhoff pitched through some trouble, but he ended up allowing zero runs with 3 strikeouts. Miguel Castro came to pitch the 5th inning and allowed the only run of the game, a Ronald Acuna Jr. solo homer. Sean Reid-Foley and Trevor May both pitched scoreless innings after that.
Jonathan Villar was hit by the injury bug, and had to leave the game in the bottom of the 6th with right calf tightness. The Mets once again could not score, and were shutout for the 3rd time in a week. The Mets put some pressure on Will Smith in the 7th inning, loading the bases with only 1 out, but Smith was able to pitch out of it. A 1-0 Mets loss defines their season to this point. Great pitching, but poor offense.
June 22nd: Braves 3 – Mets 0
Another day, another Mets injury. After losing Joey Lucchesi for the season with Tommy John surgery, the Mets desperately needed Marcus Stroman to give them some length in this one. Well, that didn’t happen. Stroman had to leave the game in the 2nd inning with apparent hip soreness. The Mets were forced to go with a bullpen game with their bullpen already taxed.
Yennsy Diaz was the first pitcher to come in for the Mets, and he was shaky. Through 2 innings, Diaz walked 2, allowed 3 hits, and gave up the game’s deciding moment, a Dansby Swanson 3-run home run. The Mets were fortunate enough to get 6 shutout innings from the remainder of the bullpen, but it did not matter. The Mets could not score off of Charlie Morton. The veteran pitcher was terrific for 7 innings, allowing only a single hit with 11 strikeouts. The only hit for the Mets for the majority of the game was a pinch-hit single from Jerad Eickhoff! James McCann collected a 2-out double in the 9th, but imagine if Eickhoff did not collect that hit. The Mets could have been no-hit!
June 23rd: Mets 7 – Braves 3
With the Mets desperately needing starting pitching, Tylor Megill was called-up to make his major league debut. Megill in his debut was surprisingly effective. He went 4 1/3 innings, with 2 walks, 2 earned runs, 3 hits, and 4 strikeouts. The Mets bullpen did its job after that, allowing only 1 run over 4 2/3 innings, with strong performances from Miguel Castro, Corey Oswalt, and Edwin Diaz.
Michael Conforto made his return after missing more than a month with a hamstring injury, and immediately hit a double. His offensive presence was felt, and the Mets’ bats finally woke up today, scoring 5 early runs in the first 2 innings. Dominic Smith, Jeff McNeil, James McCann and Francisco Lindor all drove in runs, with Lindor having the big hit, a 2-run home run. The Braves crawled back into the game after an Ender Inciarte 2-run home run, but they could never come back. The Mets won this game 7-3 to split the series 2-2.
What’s Next for New York
The Mets will have tomorrow off before going right back at it for a 4-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies. The Mets will once again be playing a doubleheader on Friday, so keeping their pitching intact is important. They will be starting a stretch of 19 games in 18 days without a day off, so buckle in. First pitch for Friday’s doubleheader is scheduled for 4:10 PM EST with Taijuan Walker getting the start. David Peterson will start the second game. Both games will of course be on SNY.