Bradley’s Buzz: Braves vs. the Big Apple - it’s no contest

The Braves celebrate after Tuesday's 5-0 victory over the Yankees at Truist Park. The Braves have beaten the Yankees in back-to-back games - after winning three of four against the Mets over the weekend. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

The Braves celebrate after Tuesday's 5-0 victory over the Yankees at Truist Park. The Braves have beaten the Yankees in back-to-back games - after winning three of four against the Mets over the weekend. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

How it started: New York teams entered the season as MLB’s biggest spenders. The Mets paid $344 million, a record outlay, for their roster; the Yankees were second-highest at $279M.

How it’s going: The Mets have given up; the Yankees might as well.

The Mets are 54-66, one game out of last place in the NL East. The Yankees are 60-60, holders of last place in the AL East.

The Braves’ past six games have come against the big clubs from the big city. The Braves are 5-1, having outscored the New Yorkers 56-13. The loss came on a night when Yonny Chirinos started.

On Tuesday, Ronald Acuna led off the bottom of the first with a hit. (He does that often.) He moved to third on Luis Severino’s wild pickoff throw. Acuna scored on Marcell Ozuna’s three-run homer.

In one at-bat, Acuna matched the Yankees’ output for the night. A lineup including Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, Giancarlo Stanton and D.J. LeMahieu – four players making an aggregate $100M this season – mustered one hit. (LeMahieu singled in the second. Give that man a raise.) Only once did a Yankee reach second base. Bryce Elder induced three double plays over seven innings. Kirby Yates coaxed a fourth.

The headline on the back cover of today’s New York Post: “Dead Even: Lifeless Yanks tumble to .500, manage just one lousy hit in 4th straight loss.” At the bottom of the page: “Walk the Plank: Ten free passes sink the Mets against Pirates.”

New York, New York – it’s a hell of a town!

The Mets/Yankees spent $623 million on ballplayers. The Braves are paying one-third of that – $206M. The team with the 10th-highest payroll has baseball’s best record. It has outscored opponents by an MLB-best 206 runs. The Mets/Yankees have been outscored by 66 runs.

Since 2012, the Yankees have won two division titles; the Mets have won one. The Braves are about to win their sixth in succession. The Yankees haven’t graced a World Series since 2009. The Mets reached the 2015 World Series and lost 4-1 to Kansas City. The Braves won it all in 2021.

We mention this for two reasons: First, it’s hilarious; second, it’s instructive. Given their resources, New York teams should never be bad. (To be fair, the Yankees haven’t finished below .500 since 1992, and they’ve won 27 World Series to the Braves’ four, the first two coming in Boston and Milwaukee.) But this is baseball, where plans can and do fail.

In February, Baseball Prospectus foresaw a Subway Series. The Yankees were projected to win 97.5 games, the Mets 96.4. Three other teams – Astros, Dodgers and Padres – were assigned higher win totals than the Braves’ 90.5. We stress that BP’s PECOTA metric isn’t swayed by back-page hullaballoo. Still, it’s uncanny how seldom in this latest run of excellence the Braves have been tabbed even to win the East.

But they do. Their plans tend to work. If they don’t, Alex Anthopoulos thinks of something. The Braves can’t outspend the Yankees or Mets – or Dodgers; let’s not forget them – but you wouldn’t trade this team for any other in baseball. You wouldn’t trade any club’s next five years for these.

After Tuesday’s loss, Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of his team’s doldrums: “It’s a broken record.” Speaking of which, the Braves are on pace to win 105 games, one off the franchise mark. They’re on track to hit 314 home runs, which would break the MLB record by five. Unlike certain others, they get a bang for their buck.

The above is part of a regular exercise available to all who register on AJC.com for our free Sports Daily newsletter. The full Buzz, which includes extras like a weekly poll and pithy quotes, arrives via email around 1:30 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

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