ATLANTA — The most gruesome part of the Mets schedule has gotten off to a disturbing start.
Monday started four games with the No. 2 Braves, the weekend has four more with the Phillies and their Wild Card aspirations in store, and then the Mets will play two busy games at Yankee Stadium.
Playing under dark and ominous clouds all night in Atlanta, the Mets were beaten 13-1. A 55-minute rain delay in the second leg cast a very eerie feeling on the match, and rightly so, it ended up being kind of a washout.
The Mets got just six outs from Carlos Carrasco, who was throwing when the tarp came down, then went back to the mound to get one more before leaving for good. Carrasco was seen grabbing his left side on the way out, and the Mets officially diagnosed him as a left-sided tightness.
Because of that, Monday became a bullpen game for the Mets, which meant a lot of Joely Rodriguez and Adonis Medina. The former always gets luck after luck because he’s the only southpaw in the team’s bullpen, while the latter has been good on limited occasions but isn’t someone a team honks on. playoffs should count.
However, they had to pick up three innings in relief from Carrasco, and although their mere presence on the mound allowed Buck Showalter to save some of his big guns for later in the series, Rodriguez and Medina combined to give up six earned points. Hilariously, positional player Darin Ruf came on to pitch the seventh and eighth innings and left no runs.
Sometimes that’s how the cookie crumbles.
Carrasco and the rain put the Mets in a very weird spot, but even after things got back to normal, the offense wasn’t. The Braves starter, Spencer Strider, the same one who says the Mets were lucky against him in their August 7 showdown, held his self-created foes to three hits and an earned run in five innings. The three to six hitters in the Mets roster – Francisco Lindor, Pete Alonso, Daniel Vogelbach and Mark Canha – didn’t reach base at all.
From the bad weather to the continued enthusiastic turnout of tone-deaf Atlanta fans to the tone-deaf Tomahawk Chop, it was a bad scene all around Monday night. The Braves ruthlessly scored eight runs late in the sixth. When it finally ended, it did on a scary play for the Mets as Alonso had to hit a charge runner to complete the takedown.
This piece didn’t end up creating an even worse scene, but the visual was in line with the rest of the night: uncomfortable bordering on tragic. Luckily, it’s just one of 162, and the odd circumstances will allow the Mets to downplay its severity. But the thing is – even with the Mets still holding a comfortable lead in NL East – it was their worst loss of the season, and it came against the team that wants to take the division from them. Heading into Monday night, the Mets’ 13-2 loss at San Diego on June 8 was their most lopsided loss of the year.
For most of the season, it’s the Mets who inflict that kind of pain on their opponents. The Amazin have won six games this year by eight points or more. Monday night was the exact opposite of that, and while it won’t become a habit, it’s a reminder that even the best teams in the league can get embarrassed from time to time.
But hey, at least the blowout allowed Lindor, Alonso and Starling Marte to take the final innings.