‘We did not play well’: Braves drop four of five to Mets in New York

NEW YORK — The Braves knew an important weekend in New York loomed. It couldn’t have gone much worse.

A 5-2 loss to the Mets on Sunday capped a series in which Atlanta (64-46) dropped four of five. The Braves, who entered the series 3½ games behind New York, are 6 ½ back.

Here are five observations:

1. Standing in front of his locker, Dansby Swanson, an unquestioned leader in the clubhouse, provided honesty and accountability.

“I think the initial reaction, obviously, is we did not play well, really in any phase,” he said. “If you take out two innings of the second game of the series, if you take out that, we obviously did not play well in all phases of the game, really. I didn’t think offensively we had consistent at-bats. Defensively, there was a lot of just miscues – not necessarily just errors, but free passes, extra bases. Then pitching-wise, inefficient with pitch counts and things of that nature.

“We obviously did not play well. I don’t think that anyone here would argue that.”

The two innings Swanson mentioned came on Friday, when the Braves built an eight-run lead. Otherwise, the Mets outclassed Atlanta.

Swanson doesn’t like using the term “wake-up call.” So he did not. But he expressed a need for improvement.

“We got to be better,” Swanson said. “And we will, because that’s what we do here. That obviously needs to start Tuesday in Boston, but just kind of get back to doing what we do best, and things should definitely work out in our favor.”

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2. The Mets’ lineup is known for its ability to make pitchers work. They pile on infield hits, bloopers and more.

Spencer Strider lasted only 2 ⅔ innings, allowing four earned runs. He fell victim to some bad luck, most notably when Pete Alonso’s grounder up the third-base line ricocheted off the base and turned into a two-run double in the third inning.

“A lot of weird hits,” he said. “They seem to be having a lot of luck right now offensively. That’s great. It’s August. (We’ll) see what things are like in October.”

The Mets’ average exit velocity on nine balls in play versus Strider was 82.2 mph. He allowed some soft contact. His day ended when Mark Canha smoked a 105 mph double off Strider that scored two more runs.

3. Jacob deGrom took a perfect game into the sixth inning, when Ehire Adrianza ended it with a two-out walk. Swanson, the next batter, broke up the no-hitter and the shutout with one swing, sending a ball flying over the wall in right-center field for a two-run home run that ended deGrom’s day.

The Braves scored on deGrom and avoided the embarrassment of falling victim to a perfect game or no-hitter. But they looked overmatched. Over 5 ⅔ innings, he struck out 12 of them, walked one and allowed one hit.

“He was really good,” manager Brian Snitker said. “I’m like, good God, there’s nothing wrong with him. … I think he just got a little tired as he was elevating his pitch count. But, no, that was nasty. Nasty.”

The Braves collected only two hits. They struck out 19 times.

It all started with deGrom.

“Obviously, Jacob was typical deGrom today,” Swanson said.

4. Asked why the Mets are able to put together so many tough at-bats, Strider said: “I don’t know. It helps when they’re getting calls and 1-1 counts turn to 2-1 counts instead of 1-2 counts, and stuff like that. When your BABIP is .330, .340 as a team, it’s tough to get quick innings and get quick outs.”

Strider didn’t seem pleased with a couple calls that went against him in the four-run third inning.

His second pitch to Alonso looked like a strike that would’ve made the count 0-2. Instead, it was 1-1.

His third pitch to Canha appeared to be a strike. The count became 2-1 instead of 1-2.

5. The Braves have lost three games in a row for the first time all season. (Yes, you read that correctly). They had lost consecutive games 13 times – including this one – before suffering their first three-game skid.

Atlanta had been the only club in the majors without a three-game losing streak. This marked the deepest a team has gone into a season without losing three in a row since 2001, when the Mariners didn’t do so until games No. 147-150.

Mets 5, Braves 2 (box score)

Stat to know

25 of 42 – Of the 42 swings the Braves took on deGrom’s pitches, they whiffed 25 times.

Quotable

“Obviously there’s some frustration in the way the weekend went. But I’ve said time and time again, this game’s crazy, and we’ve got to continue to just play baseball and play our game and see where we’re at at the end of this thing.”– Austin Riley on the series

Up next

Atlanta has an off day on Monday before Tuesday’s game in Boston. Charlie Morton will face Rich Hill, with first pitch coming at 7:10 p.m.