Not So Fast -April 21, 2018-

Have you guys met my new starting catcher?

His name is Tomas Nido.

Guess what? The Mets have thrown out a runner trying to steal a base. Wait, it gets better. The Mets have thrown out TWO runners trying to steal a base! What a time to be alive.

Given the Mets inability to control the running game, I think that is definitely the story of the night. Let’s get right into the game, as there are some other interesting storylines for us to dissect.

Noah Syndergaard got the start for the Mets, facing off against the Braves’ lefty Sean Newcomb. With a left handed pitcher on the mound, Wilmer Flores was in the lineup, playing 1st base. Tomas Nido got the start at catcher. I expected to see Juan Lagares as well, but he did not get the call.

Do the Mets give up a run in the 1st inning every game? Seems like it. Braves phenom Ozzie Albies, started the proceedings with a solo home run. Ask me how happy I am to have Albies in the NL East for the next decade.

The Mets answered, but not immediately, as you might expect this year. They struck in the 3rd inning after Tomas Nido led off with a single. Amed Rosario doubled to bring home Nido, and Rosario advanced to 3rd on an error by Ender Inciarte. He would come home on Michael Conforto’s sacrifice fly, and the Mets gave Syndergaard a 2-1 lead.

The Mets added on in the top of the 4th. After Todd Frazier walked and stole 2nd, Wilmer Flores singled him home. Wilmer Flores tried to stretch his hit into a double. Nick Markakis laughed and threw him out.

Noah Syndergaard came out in the bottom of the 4th and retired the first two batters. Dansby Swanson singled and then Ryan Flaherty came up to bat. He hit a line drive directly at Jay Bruce in right field. Bruce started in, then froze as the ball sailed over his head for an RBI double. 3-2 Mets.

Bruce has missed time recently due to plantar fasciitis. He’s been struggling at the plate and in the field. Signing Jay Bruce for 3 years in the off-season didn’t make much sense, as the Mets’ two best position players are corner outfielders. The emergence of Brandon Nimmo, and terrific play from Juan Lagares has really put the magnifying glass to Bruce’s struggles.

Amed Rosario hit another double in the 5th, but was left stranded when Yoenis Cespedes struck out to end the inning. Cespedes is in a bad slump, but seemingly all of his hits have come in big spots with runners in scoring position. Hold that thought.

I know that the Mets want to be more aggressive on the base paths this season. Can we tailor that strategy to the appropriate personnel though?

Wilmer Flores singled in the top of the 6th. Jay Bruce followed with a double against the shift to left field. Wilmer Flores tried to score from 1st base and was thrown out. The ball home was up the line, and catcher Kurt Suzuki had to retrieve the ball and dive towards the plate. He was still able to tag Flores to end the inning.

Here are some locations where Wilmer Flores should try and score from 1st base. Dead center at Polo Grounds. Dead center at Houston when they used to have that hill with the flagpole on the field. I think that’s it. I understand Glenn Sherlock doesn’t like to put up stop signs, but know your runners.

In the bottom of the 6th, Nick Markakis led off with a hard hit ball in the gap. It looked for a second like the ball would get to the wall, but Yoenis Cespedes cut it off and threw a strike to second. The ball beat Markakis to the bag by plenty, but Asdrubal Cabrera could not handle the throw. Tomas Nido was then unable to block a pitch in the dirt, and the Braves had a runner at 3rd with no outs.

Kurt Suzuki hit a sacrifice fly and the game was tied at 3. Noah Syndergaard deserved a better pitching line. One or two plays go differently, and Noah leaves with only 1 earned run allowed. Syndergaard pitched 6 innings and allowed 3 runs on 7 hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out 6. I thought he pitched well. We haven’t seen Thor yet, but he’s kept us in every game he’s started. Check out this slider.

Seth Lugo relieved Syndergaard in the 7th, and walked the first batter he faced, Ryan Flaherty. Johan Camargo was brought in to hit for the pitcher. Camargo worked the count full and struck out swinging. Flaherty ran on the pitch, and was thrown out by Tomas Nido trying to steal? Yes, that is not a mistake. The Mets have thrown out a runner trying to steal for the first time in 2018.

The bottom of the 8th started like the 7th did, as Ozzie Albies drew a lead off walk. After a Freddie Freeman line out to right field, the Mets called for a pitch out. It worked out perfectly, as Albies was in fact running, and Nido fired a strike to nail him at 2nd base.

Tomas Nido is the catcher now right? I mean what is the argument for Josè Lobatòn to play right now? Let’s give our number 1 catching prospect a chance. He’s been praised for his defense, let’s see if his bat shows up.

Tomas Nido had a good night at the plate as well. He singled and walked twice. The two runners caught stealing was great to see, but the bullpen took center stage after that.

AJ Ramos relieved Seth Lugo in the 9th inning and was dominant. He struck out 2 Braves in a perfect inning, and we went to extras.

After the 4th inning, the Mets offense was unable to string anything together so we were reliant on the bullpen putting up zeros. And that’s exactly what they did.

Robert Gsellman came out for the 10th inning, and he retired the Braves in order. Gsellman came back out for the 11th and retired the first 2 hitters. He allowed a walk to Kurt Suzuki, then a base hit to Nick Markakis. Gsellman bounced back, striking out Ryan Flaherty, and the Mets would have another chance.

As the Mets bullpen was stretched pretty thin, Robert Gsellman hit for himself in the bottom of the 12th. Atlanta fans let out a huge collective groan, as Gsellman was hit by a pitch.

Amed Rosario laid down a beautiful sacrifice bunt, and he actually almost beat out the throw to 1st. Michael Conforto popped up to 2nd, and Yoenis Cespedes stepped up to the plate.

Cespedes was having a rough night, as he was 0-4 with 4 strikeouts to that point. There is no getting around it. Cespedes is in a bad slump right now.

It seems like anytime the Mets need a big hit from him though, he delivers. Tonight was no different. He laced a ball to right field, and the speedy Robert Gsellman beat Nick Markakis’ throw home. The Mets had the lead 4-3.

Asdrubal Cabrera followed with a double, and Cespedes trotted home, giving the Mets a 5-3 lead.

Jeurys Familia made it stand up, retiring the Braves in order in the bottom of the 12th, notching his 8th save.

What a win. After Matt Harvey’s debacle the night before, it was so big to get back in the win column. The Mets have stumbled a little bit this past week, so winning a game like last night’s was just fantastic.

You never really felt confident last night. The Mets made some costly errors in big spots. If they lost last night, there were a number of situations you would have been able to point out as reasons why.

The bullpen was the hero of the day. They pitched 6 scoreless innings, allowing just 1 hit and 2 walks. They struck out 6. The 2017 Mets lost this type of game so often. Game tied with the starter leaving the game. You know you’re going to have to rely on multiple innings from the bullpen. Last night, the bullpen gave the Mets offense 5 chances to score, while keeping the Braves off the scoreboard.

It was great to see Amed Rosario get a couple of extra base hits last night. Michael Conforto had a sacrifice fly but did not get a hit. Hopefully, he gets going soon.

Yoenis Cespedes is such an interesting story this year. The batting average is hovering around .200 and he’s striking out a ton. There are times when he looks completely lost at the plate. Anytime you need him though, he comes through. When he gets going, look out.

Asdrubal Cabrera continued his red hot spring. He had another two hits. His second hit was a double that drove in a huge insurance run.

Again, you have to give the bullpen so much credit. For some reason Jerry Blevins faced a ton of batters the night before, even though the game was a blowout. With Blevins unavailable, the Mets kept lefty Freddie Freeman quiet.

Another Mickey Callaway decision I didn’t understand last night was leaving Jay Bruce in, after both Brandon Nimmo and Juan Lagares were brought in to hit at different intervals. I feel like with the bullpen pitching multiple innings late in the game, you want defense behind them.

Jacob deGrom gets the start against Julio Teheran. DeGrom has dominated the Braves in his career, so hopefully that trend continues.