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Mets can’t give Max Scherzer much support in 4-2 loss to Braves

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Braves have quite possibly one of the deepest lineups in baseball. The Mets assembled a starting pitching rotation that they believed could counter that lineup.

But if the big-game pitchers don’t get any run support then it doesn’t matter. Once again, the Mets offense failed to show up for an ace and they lost 4-2 to the Braves on Saturday night at Truist Park.

The Mets (98-60) came into the series leading the NL East by a single game. The Amazins’ are now trailing Atlanta (99-59) by a game and their chances of clinching the division are looking slimmer each day.

The Braves lineup did what it does best to win a crucial series: Pounded pitchers out of the park. The club leads the National League in home runs and they hit two of them against Max Scherzer on Saturday.

“Competitive,” manager Buck Showalter said of Scherzer. “He gave us a chance. We had some opportunity first but when you score four runs in 18 innings it’s a real tribute to their pitching, but Max gave us a chance and he competed.”

Scherzer was tagged for four runs over 5 2/3 innings. He struck out four and walked none. He was frustrated with some mechanical issues that he was pushing through.

“I felt like mechanically, I was working east-west,” he said. “For me, I want to work more north-south. I just didn’t feel like I had good putaway pitches. My two-strike pitches tonight weren’t as sharp as I usually have them and that’s a lineup that, when I make mistakes they’re going to make me pay. I just couldn’t efficiently pitch tonight.”

It was not his best outing, but the margin for error was thin with the way the Mets were swinging the bats. Showalter couldn’t seem to find an answer for the lack of run scoring, other than the fact that the Mets have faced two top pitchers in these two games.

With the fourth-best ERA in the National League (2.48) Max Fried could receive Cy Young consideration. Wright is the first pitcher in three years to reach the 20-win mark. The bullpen is the third-best in baseball.

“The last two nights it’s been pitching,” Showalter said. “They’re deep. They’ve got good pitchers and we’ve got good pitchers and that’s why we’re competing for (the division title) at this time of year. I’m always going to give credit to the people we’re competing against because that’s the truth. That’s reality.”

But this is a team built to beat the Braves and they dropped a crucial series because of a sudden inability to hit.

“It feels terrible,” Nimmo said. “Those are our guys. Those are our best shots and they stuffed ‘em in our face. It doesn’t feel good. It doesn’t feel good at all.”

For the second time in as many games, the Mets struck first, getting a run off Kyle Wright (21-5) in the first inning. The Braves tied the game in the fourth and a two-out rally in the top of the fifth gave the Mets a brief 2-1 lead.

But Dansby Swanson took Scherzer deep into the left-center seats for a two-run shot to put Atlanta up 4-1. Scherzer threw him a four-seam fastball right over the middle and he drove it 432 feet.

Matt Olson led off the sixth with a home run as well. It was the second time in as many nights Swanson and Olson homered off a Mets starter. They both took Jacob deGrom deep in the first game of the series, as did Austin Riley, who went 3-for-4 with a double and a run scored.

The middle of the order continues to torment the Mets. It’s not surprising considering just how stacked this lineup is.

Wright was 1-4 against the Mets in seven previous starts and 0-2 this season. The Mets made him work for it in the first inning forcing him to throw 30 pitches but he settled in and limited them to just two runs on seven hits. The Braves bullpen limited the Mets to just a single base-runner through four innings and Kenley Jansen recorded his 39th save with a perfect ninth.

Scherzer and deGrom might not have had their best stuff but the bottom line is that stringing together only two runs isn’t good enough, especially when the stakes are this high. They have one more day to figure it out against the Braves.

“We need to play ball,” Scherzer said. “That’s it.”


Source: Berkshire mont

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