The Braves and Mets renewed their rivalry for the first time in 2021 Monday. The Mets prevailed in the unenergetic contest, 3-1, to deliver the first blow in a three-game series at Truist Park.
Here are five takeaways from Monday:
1. Braves starter Max Fried exited in the seventh as a precaution with cramping in his left hand. Fried was excelling, having pitched six scoreless innings before giving up a double to Tomas Nido. That was his final pitch of the evening.
“I just gave up a double and I knew my hand was cramping up on me, so I was a little frustrated,” Fried said. “They said they didn’t want to take any chances. As a precaution they wanted to take me out. Obviously, in that spot you don’t want to come out of the game but you understand. It’s not ideal but I understand the decision.
“It’s all good now. I was out there, I threw the pitch and my hand cramped up and locked up on me.”
Fried, who said he’s felt under the weather the last two days and had been taking antibiotics, is expected to make his next start.
2. It was a rather dull game prior to Nido’s double. Fried exited afterward, giving way to Jacob Webb. James McCann smacked a pinch-hit double to score the first run.
Later in the inning, the Mets had the bases loaded with two outs thanks to a walk to Francisco Lindor and an intentional walk of Dominic Smith. On a two-strike pitch, Webb hit Kevin Pillar in the face. Pillar was down and gushing blood before eventually walking off the field. The game was paused so the grounds crew could clean it up.
Credit: AP Photo/John Bazemore
Credit: AP Photo/John Bazemore
Webb was replaced with Sean Newcomb, who completed the inning.
“I just hope Pillar is OK,” manager Brian Snitker said. “That was ugly. Everybody keep him in your prayers. That’s about as sickening a thing as you can see on a baseball field when a kid gets hit like that. Just keep that kid in your prayers and hopefully everything works out OK. This guy is nothing but a pro. The way he carries himself, how he plays the game. He’s a gamer. Just hope everything works out good for him.”
Braves catcher Jeff Mathis added: “It was really scary. First of all, I hope he’s OK. I wish him the best and hope everything is OK.”
3. Fried wasn’t the only starter forced out by unforeseen circumstances. Mets starter Taijuan Walker exited after three innings with left-side tightness. Walker, who owns a 2.05 ERA, retired nine of the first 10 Braves he faced, allowing just a Fried single. Sean Reid-Foley replaced him, pitching three scoreless innings and earning the win.
4. Austin Riley put the Braves on the board with a solo shot off Trevor May in the eighth. It was the Braves’ second of three hits. Guillermo Heredia followed Riley with a double, setting the Braves up for a potentially eventful inning, but Pablo Sandoval and Ehire Adrianza were retired.
5. Ronald Acuna returned to the Braves’ lineup after a three-game absence (he did pinch hit Sunday) due to a sore ankle. Acuna led off and manned right field. He went 0-for-4 with a strikeout.
“He’s healthy, he’s good,” Snitker said. “They put him through the paces. I’m sure they’ll keep wrapping his ankle up every day but he’s fine.”
Mets 3, Braves 1 (box score)
Stat to know
9-12 (The Braves dropped to 9-12 at Truist Park, tying them for the worst home record in the National League, percentage-wise, with Pittsburgh’s 8-11 mark at PNC Park.)
“There are some good arms down there that know what they’re doing. We’ll get it straightened out.” - Mathis on the Braves’ bullpen
Tucker Davidson will make his second career start Tuesday against the Mets. The Braves plugging Davidson into their rotation gives the rest of their group additional rest. The Braves opted to promote Davidson after Huascar Ynoa broke his hand Sunday and will be out more than two months.