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Thursday, August 28, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Braves 6, Mets 1

By Danny Knobler | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- The reality is that the 90-win goal died long ago for the New York Mets. All they're doing this week is making it official.

The Mets lost their 72nd game of the season Thursday night, a number that only has significance because it's the most a team can lose and still win 90 games. So the Mets, who stand at 62-72 after Thursday's 6-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves, could theoretically win all 28 games left on their schedule and still get to 90 wins.

Theoretically.

Realistically, the Mets will do well to avoid finishing in last place in the National League East. Thursday's loss left the Mets just half a game ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies, who will be at Citi Field this weekend.

Remember when Terry Collins was talking about how many games the Mets had left with teams ahead of them? In case you're wondering, this weekend's games are the only ones the Mets have left with the team (now barely) behind them.

What happened?

"I think, in a nutshell, we haven't hit," general manager Sandy Alderson said before Thursday's game.

In a nutshell, the Mets didn't hit again. Lucas Duda's fifth-inning single, on a line drive just out of the reach of Braves superman shortstop Andrelton Simmons, was the only hit off Mike Minor in the first six innings.

The Mets eventually got to Minor for a run in the eighth, when Travis d'Arnaud doubled and Eric Campbell followed with the single, but it wasn't enough.

The Mets, baseball's lowest-scoring team since the All-Star break, didn't change that Thursday.

And now the 90-win dream has all but officially died.

A Niese effort: Mets starter Jonathon Niese pitched well, allowing just three runs in 7 1/3 innings. Emilio Bonifacio hit a ball that caromed off Niese's leg to start the third inning, but Niese stayed in the game and responded by retiring 10 of the next 11 batters he faced (with the other one reaching on an infield hit).

Wright returns (but doesn't hit): David Wright played for the first time since Sunday, but the struggling Wright wasn't much help to the Mets' struggling offense. He struck out, grounded out and grounded into a double play.

Minor problem: The Mets had trouble hitting Mike Minor, but they also had a hard time keeping Minor from hitting. The Braves pitcher had a two-out single off Niese to drive in the game's first run, his fourth RBI of the season (and his second against the Mets).

Minor also doubled over Granderson's head in the eighth, making him the first pitcher with a two-hit game against the Mets since Miami's Henderson Alvarez did it on July 31, 2013 off Jenrry Mejia.

What's next: The Mets and Phillies battle for last place this weekend at Citi Field, with Jacob deGrom (6-6, 3.13) starting the Friday night opener against Phillies right-hander David Buchanan (6-7, 4.21).