Max Scherzer dominates Braves as Atlanta is swept in doubleheader

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

NEW YORK – The Braves lost both games of Saturday’s doubleheader, suffering a 6-2 defeat to the Mets in the nightcap at Citi Field. Atlanta is 64-45.

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Here are five observations:

1. “Just weird.”

That’s how manager Brian Snitker described the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader.

Max Scherzer manhandled the Braves, but Atlanta fell victim to a few tough moments. The box score shows three errors, but two came on difficult plays.

“Those are not easy plays, they’re not routine plays that they got credited with an error (on),” Snitker said. “Those are tough, tough errors.”

In the third inning, Dansby Swanson, who committed two errors, fired an errant throw to first base as he tried to complete a double play. But this was a difficult throw considering Max Fried, who was sprinting to cover first, was like a moving target. Two runs scored as the ball bounced on the dirt, hit Fried’s chest and rolled into foul territory.

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Austin Riley fielded a ball toward the third-base line and, with a runner heading home, fired the ball to Travis d’Arnaud. D’Arnaud, in his catching gear, made a leaping catch, then spun and tried to tag the runner. The runner was initially ruled out, but the Mets challenged it and the call was overturned.

“Our defense, they’ve bailed me out of a ton of jams before,” Fried said. “That’s the reason why we play 162. Just go back out there tomorrow and kind of get back on the saddle.”

On the play at home plate, d’Arnaud’s leg appeared to crumble as he spun around to tag the runner. He finished the inning, but exited the game after that. He received X-rays on his lower right leg and they were negative, the Braves said. He is day-to-day.

2. The Braves have tormented many opposing pitchers this season.

Max Scherzer is not one of them. He has overmatched the Braves, shutting them out over seven innings while striking out 11 on Saturday.

In two starts versus the Braves this season, Scherzer has allowed one run over 14 innings. He has struck out 20 while walking none. Complete domination.

“I mean, he’s one of the best pitchers in baseball,” Fried said. “He has been for a long time. He’s got great command of all of his pitches, he has an idea of what he’s doing and he knows how to pitch, and when you kind of combine all of that together, that’s the reason why he’s the stature that he is.”

The Braves scored their only runs on Ronald Acuña’s eighth-inning RBI double and William Contreras’ ninth-inning solo homer.

3. Fried stayed on the ground, looking to be in obvious pain on the play in the third inning. He had chased down a ball that rolled away on Swanson’s throw, and slammed into the ground hard as he tried to grab the ball and throw home to nab a runner.

He looked hurt.

“Just kind of fell and kind of just whipped my neck and hit my head,” Fried said after the game.

The Braves breathed a sigh of relief as Fried stayed in the game and eventually finished six innings. He said he didn’t hurt his left arm or shoulder.

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

4. D’Arnaud found himself at the center of another key play at home plate – this time on offense.

In the top of the fifth inning, with the Braves down three runs, d’Arnaud was thrown out at home on a grounder to the second baseman. Not many infielders would attempt this throw, but Luis Guillorme did. D’Arnaud briefly hesitated to see where the ball would go, and it seemed that slowed him enough.

“That ball was smoked and he saw line drive off the bat. You got to make a good throw too, and (Guillorme) did,” Snitker said.

5. The Braves have been handed a series loss. At this point, they’re just trying to avoid losing four of five.

The Braves are 5 1/2 games behind New York. If they lose on Sunday, they will be 6 1/2 back.

“You have to (move on),” Snitker said. “Tomorrow is a new day. We just need to win a game tomorrow. We wanted to get the series, we’re not (going to), but if we get out of here with a win tomorrow, that’s from where we are right now the best possible outcome.”

Mets 6, Braves 2

Stat to know

4 of 7 - The Braves have been swept in four of their last seven doubleheaders.

Quotable

“Sometimes balls take your bounce and sometimes they don’t. But you just got to make the best play that you can with what you got that day and hope for the best. We put ourselves in good positions, we work day in, day out to be able to make those plays, and sometimes they happen, sometimes they don’t.” - Fried on some of the strange plays

Up next

Spencer Strider takes the mound for Sunday’s series finale, which will begin at 4:10 p.m. The Braves will face star right-hander Jacob deGrom in his second start since returning from the injured list.