1. Nine days ago, Allan Winans spun a gem against the Mets, which left him in front of the line the next time Atlanta needed a starting pitcher.
Monday provided a cruel reminder that baseball is full of highs and lows.
Facing those same Mets, Winans lasted only 4 1/3 innings. He was charged with seven runs on nine hits. He served up two homers in the second, then was charged with four more runs in the fifth.
“I think that I gotta do better executing,” Winans said. “The (second inning), a couple balls down the middle they put decent swings on. I can’t be too mad about that, I gotta just execute better. The fifth, I mean, a little unlucky. Again, I gotta execute. We got to be able to get on that inning and get us out of the fifth, and do my jo, do what I came here to do, (which was) help us win.”
This was an opportunity to prove he earned another start.
Instead, Winans left room to doubt that possibility.
“The job doesn’t change,” he said. “After tonight, the job doesn’t change for me. My job is to try to help this team win as long as I’m here, and that’s what I intend on doing. Obviously, tonight, we didn’t get that done. But that’s not something I’m gonna hang my head low on. I’m a groundball pitcher and I got a lot of ground balls tonight. I just got to execute better and just gotta be a little bit better.”
2. Winans put the Braves in an early three-run hole because he served up two home runs. But his offense picked him up. Through four innings, the Braves led by a run.
Winans unraveled in a four-run fifth inning. He’s a groundball pitcher, and those groundballs hurt him.
With one out, he allowed a walk and four straight singles. Three of the singles scored runs.
You can say Winans received some tough luck on a couple grounders, but contact is contact. This is why strikeouts are so valuable.
“That’s what we always preach: If you don’t strike out and put the ball in play, something good might happen,” manager Brian Snitker said. “It’s kind of a victim of circumstance, and he’s not a guy that’s gonna strike out a lot of guys, I think. And we really couldn’t come back, either. If we could’ve come back and scored some runs, who knows how it changes the way you go at things?”
On Monday, Winans only had four strikeouts, compared to nine when facing the Mets in New York.
In that previous start versus the Mets, New York whiffed 15 times on 56 swings over 111 pitches. On Monday, Winans produced eight whiffs on 51 swings as he threw 94 pitches.
“A little bit, yeah,” Winans said when asked if the Mets had a different approach this time. “(Catcher) Sean (Murphy) and I had the same gameplan going in. They swung a little bit more, I thought. But last outing, they swung at the pitches I needed them to swing at, and then tonight, I didn’t execute as well as I could’ve. So hats off to them.”
3. For all the inevitable criticism every manager receives, Snitker deserves a lot of credit for continuing to stick with Marcell Ozuna, who has turned around his season.
He launched two home runs in the loss for his third multi-homer game of the season.
“Just his past,” Snitker said of what made him confident in Ozuna even when he slumped. “You look at his baseball card and he’s been a really good hitter for a long, long time. And you just put your hope in that, that he’s going to find it and get the thing back going. And the man, too. How he hung with himself and his attitude and the work ethic and everything that he did. It was kind of like, well, if it doesn’t happen, it’s not going to be because he doesn’t care or lack of effort or trying or working at it. I’m just happy for him that it’s turned around for him.”
4. Francisco Lindor skied the first pitch Brad Hand threw him. From right field, Ronald Acuña Jr. charged forward at full speed.
Acuña got there, but dropped it.
Two pitches later, Lindor lined a well-struck, three-run home run over the left-center field wall. It gave the Mets a six-run lead.
5. The 2023 Braves made more history with Ozuna’s first homer.
Ozuna’s home runs gave them five players with at least 25 homers, which is a franchise record.
They are also creeping up on MLB history: The 2019 Twins and 2003 Red Sox hold the overall record, as both clubs had six players with at least 25 home runs.
Stat to know
10 - Atlanta has only 10 losses by more than three runs, which is the fewest in MLB and is six fewer than the next closest team.
“Execution is king in this game. If I do that a little bit better, I think the outcome is a little different tonight.”-Winans
On Tuesday, Bryce Elder will face right-hander Tylor Megill and the Mets. First pitch is at 7:20 p.m.