1. Two years ago, the Mets effectively said Winans was not worth one of 38 spots on their Triple-A roster, as they opted not to protect him from the minor-league Rule 5 draft.
“I mean, to be fair, it was a little surprising,” Winans said. “I felt like I had a pretty good year, and obviously, I have the utmost confidence in myself.”
On Saturday, he threw seven scoreless innings versus the team that gave up on him.
Perhaps “revenge game” is too strong a term. Winans didn’t play this up at all. But this certainly was an opportunity for him to prove the Mets made the wrong call, even if he remained diplomatic about any motivation for this start.
“Being in the big leagues is motivation enough,” Winans said. “Trying to help a team win a championship is motivation enough. But it makes it a little more special when it’s against a former team and some people that you’re familiar with. There’s some familiar faces on other side, and so it was good to see those guys and compete against them.”
Winans allowed only four hits. He struck out nine. He walked two – one was intentional – and threw 111 pitches.
2. This might be the best example of how this game went: The Mets put a position player on the mound – in the eighth inning.
Saturday’s first game marked the third time in franchise history that the Braves have scored at least 21 runs.
The others: a 29-9 win over Miami in 2020, and a 23-10 victory over the Cubs in 1957.
Saturday also was the first time the Braves recorded 22 hits since collecting 23 in that aforementioned win over the Marlins.
3. Two days before the trade deadline, the Braves acquired Nicky Lopez in hopes of improving the utility infielder roster spot. He arrived in Atlanta the next day and since then, has tried to stay ready for any opportunity – such as the one that came Saturday.
In the first game of a doubleheader, manager Brian Snitker started Lopez at shortstop and batted him ninth. Then Snitker put him on the mound for the bottom of the ninth.
In his first start with the Braves, Lopez went 4-for-6 with a career-high five RBIs. And he pitched a scoreless inning.
Lopez produced consecutive run-scoring hits in his first two at-bats: In the first inning, he doubled, and in the fourth, he singled. In the ninth, he blasted a three-run homer.
“I’ve learned so much just being here, working every day with the hitting coaches and every day with (infield coach Ron Washington),” Lopez said. “Just staying ready. Right when I got traded here, I knew why I was coming here. I’m a defensive guy who also can hit. … I knew I was coming here to help this team any way I can, and just always be ready.”
4. As of Saturday afternoon, there was a new MLB home run leader.
His name: Matt Olson, and he had 42 homers after the first game of the doubleheader.
With a three-run blast in the sixth inning, Olson passed Shohei Ohtani for the most homers in baseball. And with a solo shot in the eighth, he took a two-homer lead over Ohtani.
The historical context really is impressive: Olson is only the sixth player since 1995 to reach 42 home runs in his team’s first 115 games. It has been done only eight times in that span.
Does the baseball look like a beach ball these days?
“It honestly goes in waves,” Olson said. “Every day is different. As much as you want to come to the yard and say (it looks like a beach ball), I can show up tomorrow and it’s like a pebble. Just enjoy it while you can and keep trying to have good at-bats.”
5. In two major-league starts, Winans – who hopes to one day stick in the bigs – has allowed two earned runs over 11-1/3 innings.
What does he hope he showed?
“I feel like I’m a competitor at heart,” Winans said. “I showed that I can compete at this level. I’m scratching the surface, I think. I think I have a lot more things to work on, a lot more things I can get better at. But definitely happy with today.”
Stat to know
4 – Lopez is the fourth player this season to homer and throw a scoreless inning in the same game, according to MLB.com.
“I think any time you get called up to the big leagues, it’s pretty special, and it’s pretty cool. But getting drafted by those guys, it definitely made me dream about Citi Field. Getting to come here and doing it against those guys makes it a little more special. But my job today was to help the Braves win, and that’s what we did today, so I was pretty happy with it.” – Winans
Yonny Chirinos will start Sunday’s road-trip finale for the Braves, who will face right-hander Kodai Senga. The game, which ESPN will televise, begins at 7 p.m.