Saturday was not a good day for the Braves franchise. Injured outfielder Marcell Ozuna was arrested for aggravated assault by strangulation and family violence. As that news came to public light, the Braves were routed by the Mets 13-2 at Citi Field.
The Braves issued a statement on Ozuna during the game. And manager Brian Snitker said afterwards: “I heard about it. We just got in here (into the clubhouse). The Braves have made a statement and stand by that. That’s all I know.”
Here are five takeaways from Saturday’s game:
1. Braves starter Ian Anderson had possibly his worst start of the season. He allowed four runs on a season-high seven hits in only four innings, tied for his shortest start of the campaign. He surrendered two homers for the second time in 16 career starts. His ERA rose from 2.82 to 3.27.
“Those first two innings, I struck the first two guys out in each inning, then it gets away from me a little bit,” Anderson said. “It’s never fun pitching like that as opposed to my last few outings when I’ve been going right at guys and getting ahead. Not only getting strike one, but getting strike two as quick as I can. I feel like I didn’t do a good job with that tonight. I’ll have to go back and look, see what I can build on and move forward.”
2. The Braves’ lack of bullpen depth loomed large. Right-hander Edgar Santana pitched the sixth, with Cameron Maybin reaching on a soft hit to set up Brandon Drury’s two-run homer. It sparked a seven-run inning for the Mets, who sent 10 to the plate.
New York’s Billy McKinney capped the frame with a grand slam off Jay Flaa, who was pitching in his second career game. The Mets, using largely a patchwork offense due to injuries, turned a 4-1 lead into an 11-1 advantage. All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor padded their lead with a two-run homer in the seventh.
3. Mets catcher James McCann homered off Anderson for New York’s first run. Jonathan Villar tacked on another home run in the fifth. It was the first time Anderson allowed multiple home runs in a road start.
“Definitely an outing I want to put behind me,” Anderson said.
Anderson did a phenomenal job keeping the ball in the park his rookie season, allowing one homer in six outings. He’s surrendered six in 10 starts this season, with McCann’s shot the first homer he’s allowed on the road since Andrew Knapp took Anderson deep April 4 in Philadelphia.
4. The Braves are 1-3 against the Mets this season. While that’s a small sample size, the Braves have needed to take advantage of head-to-head games against New York while the Mets are dealing with so many ailments. The Mets should have reinforcements on the way as the summer continues, bolstering their roster for the stretch run.
5. The Braves had a negative run differential for almost the entire season until they faced the hapless Pirates, whom they outscored 33-3 over a three-day stretch to bring their run differential to +11.
Unfortunately for the Braves, they couldn’t stay in the positive differential column for long. Less than a week later, they’re back to -2 differential. On the flip side, the first-place Mets moved into a positive run differential themselves with their win (+2). Run differential is one prominent method (though imperfect and far from the only avenue) to project future performance.
Stat to know
24-11 (the Braves have been outscored 24-11 by the Mets in four games this season.)
“I’ve been in years in the past when we’ve won the division in April (with wins over) divisional opponents. I think they (divisional games) are all very important. … They’re all big.” - Snitker
The Braves and Mets conclude their rain-shortened series Sunday night. Max Fried (2-2, 4.63) will start for the Braves against Mets ace Jacob deGrom, who owns a 0.80 ERA in seven games.