New York Mets

Braves-Mets: Keeping Hope Alive

Jeff MoodyContributor IMay 12, 2009

I just performed the Joba Chamberlain-K-Rod-Jonathan Papelbon finishing move (one fist pump, yelling, a double fist pump, more yelling, going to one knee and point both hands to the sky).

It was a little over the top. I will admit that point, but the Braves just gave me tremendous reason to celebrate: They beat Johan Santana. (They really beat the bullpen, but Atlanta won the game he pitched).

Santana and Braves ace Derek Lowe battled in a classic pitchers duel until the seventh. Santana was brilliant, pitching 6.1 with 2 unearned runs and 6 strikeouts.

Derek Lowe recalled images of Greg Maddux with a ton of groundouts and two double plays. This pitching performance is why Atlanta signed him to a four-year, $60 million contract.

In games like this one, two things can kill a team: errors and bullpen. The Mets gave up the first run on a throwing error that brought Yunel Escobar home from second. Then Jose Reyes booted a routine grounder that loaded the bases and set up four runs scored on consecutive two-out singles from Matt Diaz and Casey Kotchman.

The Mets dug their own grave to an extent, but the Braves resiliency should not go unnoticed. Derek Lowe’s pitching kept them in the game and errors mean nothing without base runners. Their defense worked (no errors) as well as strong performances by the resurgent Peter Moylan and Rafael Soriano.

All the pieces came together with good management playing Diaz over Garrett Anderson in left and starting Kelly Johnson (both with decent track records against Santana).

The Braves are 5-1 on the current eight game road trip and just won against the Mets ace. Hopefully these are the tidings of continued success as Atlanta is back to a .500 winning percentage and 1.5 games behind in the division.

(Pardon me while I tomahawk chop the air).

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