Tue, 28 Sep 2021

Mets, Braves set for deciding game of 5-game series

Field Level Media
29 Jul 2021, 16:55 GMT+10

The legend of the New York Mets' "Bench Mob" continues to grow.

Numerous Mets players have stepped in for injured starters and delivered big moments. It's one of the reasons New York has a four-game lead in the National League East and has won two of the four games in the current five-game seriesagainst visiting Atlanta.

The series finale is scheduled for Thursday afternoon in New York.

On Wednesday, Brandon Drury's pinch-hit home run in the seventh inning made the difference in the Mets' 2-1 victory.

Drury didn't join the team until May 21, when he was promoted from Triple-A Syracuse. He is batting .526 (10-for-19) off the bench this year, including 7-for-15 (.467) with three homers and six RBI as a pinch hitter.

"That's the story of this season," New York right fielder Michael Conforto said. "Everybody has had a hand in it. It makes me proud to be a part of this team. I don't think everybody understands how hard it is to come in and hit, and for Brandon to be ready in that spot is unbelievable for us."

The Mets have frustrated the Braves, who continue to fail in their attempt to reach .500. Atlanta has not spent a day over .500 all season.

The Mets have been tied for first or alone atop the division since May 8, a streak of 82 days. It is their longest run atop the East in the past 14 seasons, since the 2007 Mets held the lead for 135 consecutive days.

In the series finale, Atlanta left-hander Drew Smyly (7-3, 4.30 ERA) will oppose New York right-hander Taijuan Walker (7-4, 3.43). New York is 8-7 against Atlanta in 2021 after going 3-7 against the Braves a year ago.

Smyly left the Braves' 15-3 win over the Phillies on Saturday after four scoreless innings when he felt a tight, pulling sensation in his knee. Smyly tested his knee with some running drills on Wednesday.

"We thought it was best to take it to the house and make sure everything is OK before you do anything worse," Smyly said of his abbreviated start.

Walker's last start came on Saturday against the Toronto Blue Jays, his former team. He took the loss after he allowed six runs on eight hits with two walks in four-plus innings. It was his second straight start in which he allowed six runs.

"It's a long season, 30-plus starts. These starts are going to happen," Walker said. "I don't want them to happen, but they are going to happen. and I just got to find a way to bounce back in and go back out there and get back to what I was doing at the beginning of the year."

Walker has had good success against Atlanta. In four career starts, he is 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA -- three earned runs over 20 innings -- with 20 strikeouts. In two starts against Atlanta at Citi Field, Walker has allowed one run in 11 innings.

His last start against the Braves came on May 29, when he pitched five scoreless innings with eight strikeouts.

--Field Level Media

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