Braves sweep to take NL East lead; Mets look unprepared for playoffs

By Deesha Thosar
FOX Sports MLB Writer

The sour tablet used to be avoidable.

The Mets soared into Atlanta with a one-game lead within the National League East; they left having been swept, chopped and overpowered by way of the Braves, all however wiping out their shot of successful their first department identify since 2015. 

The Braves’ magic quantity is down to one.

Atlanta Braves keep on best: The combat for the NL East is not over

Atlanta Braves stay on top: The battle for the NL East isn't over

Ben Verlander and Alex Curry look on the NL East after the Braves’ sweep of the Mets over the weekend.

Thanks to a triumphant, come-from-behind win over the Marlins remaining week, simply prior to heading to Atlanta, the Mets had to win only one recreation in opposition to the Braves this weekend to protected the tiebreaker and feature a forged probability of successful the department identify. Not even the gloomiest of Mets lovers concept one win in Atlanta could be insurmountable for New York, particularly with the Mets’ best 3 hands taking the mound.

But the Mets contracted underneath the brilliant lighting fixtures, and the Braves got here to play. All season, the protecting champions have had their eyes at the NL East crown. The Braves weren’t timid about this; they broadcast their intentions for all to listen. They mentioned it used to be only a topic of time prior to they stuck the Mets and took first position. 

And the Mets, as a substitute of furiously protecting their 175-day keep in first position, had been a no-show in Atlanta. They had been by no means even insulted by way of Atlanta’s chutzpah. When all used to be mentioned and carried out, they tipped their caps to the Braves for doing what they mentioned they’d at all times do.

“The Braves played better,” Mets first baseman Pete Alonso mentioned Sunday. “They played excellent baseball this entire weekend. They just flat-out beat us.”

Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer and Chris Bassitt blended to report a 6.91 ERA (11 earned runs in 14.1 innings) of their disappointing begins this weekend at Truist Park. New York’s absolute best hands couldn’t conceal their errors or sneak a couple of dangerous pitches previous Atlanta’s plucky offense. The Braves blended for seven house runs within the sequence, led by way of the facility duo of shortstop Dansby Swanson and primary baseman Matt Olson, who every homered in all 3 video games. 

Pitching wins postseason video games, and the clunkers from deGrom, Scherzer and Bassitt are unquestionably motive for fear heading into the playoffs.

Dansby Swanson crushes two-run house run off Max Scherzer

Dansby Swanson crushes two-run home run off Max Scherzer

The Atlanta Braves’ Dansby Swanson overwhelmed a two-run house run off Mets pitcher Max Scherzer to give Atlanta a 3-2 lead.

The Mets’ offense amassed best 4 extra-base hits throughout all 3 video games: 3 house runs and one double. Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in Friday’s sequence opener and 0-for-5 with two extra whiffs in Sunday’s sequence finale, combining for a .154 batting moderate (2-for-13) within the make-or-break sequence. 

Alonso, Major League Baseball’s RBI chief, amassed one hit in every recreation, and none of the ones singles drove any individual in. While Atlanta’s stars pumped their fists and yelled with elation into the night time, the Mets’ absolute best hitters seemed overwhelmed and exhausted.

“It’s a clubhouse full of guys who want to win,” Olson mentioned of the Braves’ season-long angle. “That’s No. 1 on the program.”

The Mets now look so much weaker heading into the postseason. Winning the department would’ve earned them a bye week previous the wild-card spherical, one that appears all of the extra important following the drained performances from their pitching group of workers and lineup alike. Instead, New York is sort of unquestionably headed for a wild-card sequence in opposition to the Padres or Phillies at Citi Field. 

In addition to the loss of relaxation, the Mets’ rotation can be weakened must they achieve the NLDS. DeGrom and Scherzer, who will pitch within the wild-card spherical, can be coated up to cross best as soon as within the NLDS. And talking of that NLDS, the Mets can be slated to cross up in opposition to the Dodgers in an early playoff matchup. 

What’s extra, for the second one immediately season, the Mets’ collective angle and emotion didn’t fit the truth they face. Getting swept by way of the Braves used to be the worst-case state of affairs for New York. After being in regulate of the department for lots of the season, together with preserving a lofty 10.5-game lead June 1, the Mets are two video games in the back of the Braves and now not within the motive force’s seat. 

That scenario has left any other sour style for a fan base that has observed this film too again and again.

Rather than appearing even slightly of that unhappiness, supervisor Buck Showalter necessarily caught to the similar strains he has fed to the media all season. Showalter indicated that he used to be content material with the participation trophy of creating the playoffs, no longer even acknowledging the harder street the Mets have paved for themselves. The uninterrupted positivity from the chief and the roster — after you have swept in probably the most important sequence of the season — used to be an ordinary and uncomfortable response. Maybe they had been nonetheless in surprise, but it surely all added up to the Mets taking part in and performing like an unprepared group at the largest level.

“We know what they’re capable of. It just wasn’t there the last three days,” Showalter mentioned. “But our guys have answered a lot of challenges and will again. They’re going to get a chance to roll the dice in October regardless. I am proud of everything they have done.”

Teams that get swept at all times look slightly dejected and useless later on, like they’ll by no means win once more. But the Mets nonetheless give you the chance to get offended concerning the sweep and deal with the Atlanta sequence like a take-heed call. Sitting on 98 wins, they host the Nationals starting Tuesday after Monday’s rainout. They have a possibility to flip issues round and finish the season on a greater notice; they’ve performed lots of the season like they’re in a position to it. 

In truth, simply a few months in the past, Braves catcher Travis d’Arnaud described the Mets as a whole group. 

But the street forward is now a lot more tough. For the Mets, the query is: Can they get again to that complete-team dominance prior to it’s too overdue? Their first playoff berth in six years has misplaced probably the most luster it might’ve had if the Mets had completed the process and gained the department. 

But they nonetheless have the chaos of the playoffs, through which anything else can occur, on their facet. If they would like to reveal the sector that they may be able to upward thrust to the instance in opposition to higher groups, they’ve earned the postseason price ticket to achieve this.

But the sour tablet from getting swept nonetheless burns.

Deesha Thosar is an MLB creator for FOX Sports. She in the past lined the Mets for the New York Daily News. Follow her on Twitter at @DeeshaThosar.

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