Friday, July 13, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Braves 7, Mets 5
By Adam Rubin
WHAT IT MEANS: Chris Young had his shortest outing as a Met and Miguel Batista struggled too, which undoubtedly will intensify calls for Matt Harvey’s promotion. The Mets stumbled in the second-half opener and ultimately lost in Atlanta, 7-5.
The Friday the 13th game, played on the 35th anniversary of the New York City blackout, was delayed 16 minutes in the second inning because of a power outage.
More relevant, the Mets disappointed in the opener to a critical stretch. After this series, the Mets head to Washington before returning home to face the Dodgers and Nationals.
“The next month will determine a lot,” Terry Collins said. “We’ve got Washington three times, I think. We’ve got the Braves twice. We’ve got the Dodgers. We go on the West Coast swing. You know what that can mean. You’re talking about Arizona, who is playing better. The Giants, who are fighting. You’ve got to go play San Diego in their place. Even though they’re not playing the way they want to, certainly, they can always be tough out there, and that’s at the end of an 11-day road trip. That’s a tough trip.
“We’re going to know how we’re standing when we get to Aug. 1, if we’re still in the dogfight.”
FIRE, FIRE: Collins insisted pregame he would not hesitate to insert lefty Josh Edgin into a pressure situation. “It's the middle of July,” the manager said. “It's fire time.”
Edgin entered in his MLB debut after Batista walked the bases loaded with one out in the fifth. The rookie struck out Juan Francisco and Michael Bourn to hold the Mets’ deficit at 5-4.
Edgin returned the following inning and retired two Braves. However, he then served up a homer to Chipper Jones. When Freddie Freeman followed with a double, Collins pulled him.
Edgin was charged with two runs, and the Braves grabbed a 7-4 lead, when Ramon Ramirez surrendered a single to Dan Uggla on which Freeman scored.
CHIP SHOT: Jones’ homer was his 49th longball against the Mets, tying him with Mike Schmidt for second most. Willie Stargell has 60 homers. Jones passed Willie McCovey, who had 48 homers against the Mets.
Overall, Jones tied Schmidt for the second-most RBIs in major league history by a player who primarily played third base, at 1,595. George Brett has the record, at 1,596.
PAGING MATT HARVEY? After Thursday’s workout, Collins labeled Harvey’s candidacy for Dillon Gee’s spot next week “remote.” But then the presumptive favorite did little to merit the assignment.
Entering in the fourth after Young departed for a pinch hitter, Batista surrendered one hit and walked four in 1 1/3 innings. Batista needed Edgin’s bases-loaded bailout to ensure a scoreless appearance.
Because Young threw only 71 pitches, assuming he’s healthy, he should be fine to start on standard rest Wednesday in D.C. That would delay the need for Gee’s replacement until next Saturday at Citi Field against the Dodgers.
Harvey is due to pitch for Buffalo on Monday. No doubt there will be scrutiny of that start, assuming it proceeds. It would put Harvey on the proper rest to step in against L.A., which just returned Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier from the DL.
SHORT APPEARANCE: Young surrendered five runs in three innings. It marked his shortest outing and most runs allowed since June 14, 2009, with San Diego against the Angels, when he allowed five runs in 2 1/3 innings.
Young issued all three of his walks, the final one forcing in a run, in a 36-pitch first inning during which Atlanta grabbed a two-run lead. He served up a three-run homer to David Ross in the third as Atlanta went up 5-0.
Young was the third candidate assigned to the second-half opener. Johan Santana originally was scheduled, but his cranky right ankle required extra rest. Then Gee was named, but a blood clot in his right shoulder led to surgery in St. Louis on Friday.
ALMOST: The Mets rallied to within a run with a four-run fourth against Tim Hudson, which included Scott Hairston's RBI double and Kirk Nieuwenhuis' two-run single.
An inning later, the Mets loaded the bases with none out while chasing Hudson, but came up empty. Reliever Cristhian Martinez consecutively struck out Hairston and Nieuwenhuis, then retired Josh Thole on a flyout as the Braves maintained a 5-4 lead.
Rallying from a 5-0 deficit would have marked the largest comeback for the Mets this season. The season high instead remains turning a 4-0 deficit into a 7-4 win against Philadelphia on May 8.
HE’S BACK: On the double-switch in which Edgin entered, Andres Torres took over in center field. It was Torres’ first action since July 4, after which back discomfort sidelined him.
WHAT’S NEXT: R.A. Dickey faces the team that handed him his lone loss. Of course, Dickey noted the baseball felt like a “water balloon” on April 18 at Turner Field, when he surrendered eight runs in 4 1/3 innings in the rain. Dickey (12-1, 2.40 ERA) opposes right-hander Tommy Hanson (10-5, 3.71) at 4:05 p.m. Saturday.