Anemic Mets roster crumbles against Braves

ATLANTA — One look at the Mets’ starting lineup on Tuesday night was enough to gauge the degree of difficulty this team faced against the soaring Braves.

The ugly numbers at the bottom were .210, .216, .200 and .167, representing the batting averages of Dominic Smith, Eduardo Escobar, Travis Jankowski and Patrick Mazeika.

Such is life for the Mets as they await the returns of Jeff McNeil and Starling Marte and perhaps a trade to bolster the roster.

An anemic performance at home plate, coupled with two homers allowed, resulted in a 4-1 loss for the Mets at Truist Park that tied that July streak between the NL East rivals. The Braves moved back to within a game and a half of the division lead, one night after Max Scherzer’s seven-inning gem carried the Mets to victory.

Chris Bassitt and Charlie Morton are the scheduled starters for Wednesday’s rubber game, after which the Mets and Braves will meet another 13 times before the end of the regular season.

Francisco Lindor reacts in frustration after being called out in the third inning of the Mets’ 4-1 loss to the Braves.

The Braves took control in the seventh on Adam Duvall’s two-run homer against Seth Lugo that put the Mets in a 4-1 hole. Lugo, in his second inning of work, hooked a slider that Duvall smashed into the second deck in left field. The explosion followed Travis d’Arnaud’s debut single.

David Peterson’s 105th pitch of the night, a fastball to Matt Olson, landed behind the center field fence for a two-run homer and gave the Braves a 2-1 lead in the sixth. Peterson had walked Dansby Swanson, and manager Buck Showalter tried to get southpaw Peterson at least through southpaw Olson with Lugo warming up in the bullpen.

Down to the last pitch against Olson, the Mets couldn’t have asked for more from Peterson, who struck out nine and walked three in 5 ¹/₃ innings.

David Peterson reacts as he is taken out of the game during the sixth inning against the Braves at Truist Park on July 12, 2022 in Atlanta.
David Peterson reacts dejectedly as he is taken out of the game in the sixth inning against the Braves.
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Peterson walked Swanson in the first inning and allowed a single to Austin Riley, but took out Marcell Ozuna on a 2-2 slider to end the threat. The Braves didn’t get another hit until Olson exploded.

Barring injury, Peterson may only have one round in the rotation, Sunday at Wrigley Field. After the All-Star break, the Mets are hoping Jacob deGrom will be activated from the injured list, giving the team a full rotation for the first time this season. DeGrom is scheduled for a third start to rehab when he returns after a stress reaction to his right shoulder blade on Thursday for Triple-A Syracuse.

The Mets knocked out rookie Braves starter Spencer Strider in the fifth. Brandon Nimmo walked and reached second on crazy ground before Francisco Lindor delivered with a two-out right hit that rolled under Ronald Acuña Jr.’s glove and went for a triple RBI that gave the Mets a 1-0 lead. Pete Alonso followed with a walk, ending Strider’s night at 103 pitches.

In his previous three starts, Strider had allowed just one run in 18 innings with 30 strikeouts, in a 100 mph heat. He entered the game with 102 strikeouts in just 65 ²/₃ innings.

The Mets lost a chance to Strider in fourth, leaving the runners in second and third after Escobar’s brace. Luis Guillorme, an offensive hero in the previous game with his homer in the eighth inning, singled into the frame.


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