Braves at Mets Series Recap: Road, Sweet Road

I sure picked a good series to return to TC recapping, didn't I? Coming off a dispiriting homestand, the Braves went to Citi Field and basically dominated the Mets. The Braves swept this series the way they've been winning all year: with good, timely offense, solid defense and starting pitching, and a dominant bullpen. It was the perfect way to end Bobby Cox's last regular-season series in New York.

Sure, the Phillies swept the Nationals, so we're still 3 games out in the division heading into the huge series that starts tonight. But we did pick up ground on all the NL West teams and widened our Wild Card lead to 2.5 games. It seems increasingly likely that the 2 best records in the NL will come from the East division; it's just a matter of whether the Braves can surpass the Phillies for the top spot in the last 2 weeks.

The series saw a potentially serious shoulder injury to dominant setup man Takashi Saito, but it also saw the emergence of a quality replacement: flamethrowing rookie Craig Kimbrel, who struck out the side en route to his first major-league save in Game 3.

Oh, and by the way: the Braves have now won 86 games, as many as they won all of last year. And there are still 12 games to go.

Game 1: Braves win 6-4
Game 2: Braves win 4-2
Game 3: Braves win 6-3

Stat of the Series: The Braves batters out-walked the Mets 14 to 3.

Awards after the jump...

Awards Section

Braves' Pitching MVPs
The Bullpen -- 8 IP, 1 R, 0 HR, 6 H, 0 BB11 K, 0.563 WPA (wow!)
Tim Hudson -- 7 IP, 2 R, 2 HR, 6 H, 1 BB, 7 K, 11/17 GB (65%), 0.227 WPA
Derek Lowe -- 6 IP, 2 R, 1 HR, 4 H, 1 BB, 2 K, 14/19 GB (74%), 0.093 WPA; 1/2, 2B, 0.049 WPA as a hitter

Braves' Hitting MVPs
Derrek Lee -- 5/11, 2 BB, HR, 2B, 5 R, 4 RBI, 1 K, 0.504 WPA
Alex Gonzalez -- 4/12, BB, 2 2B, 4 RBI, 2 K, 0.230 WPA
Omar Infante -- 3/12, 2 BB, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 K, 0.247 WPA
Jason Heyward -- 3/12, 2 BB, HR, R, 3 RBI, 0 K, 0.135 WPA

Braves' Clutch Play
Derrek Lee's grand slam in game 3 (0.404 WPA)

Mets' Pitching MVP
Pedro Feliciano -- 2.2 IP, 1 ER, 0 H, 1 BB (1 IBB), 2 K, 0.178 WPA
(Yes, he's seriously their pitching MVP... And that 1 run he gave up? That makes for some persuasive evidence against using ERA to judge relief pitchers. He got 2 guys out in a clutch spot in game 3, but Jerry Manuel ordered him to intentionally walk a guy... then brought in Manny Acosta, who promptly gave up a grand slam. Feliciano bears zero blame for that run, but it goes against his ERA anyway.)

Mets' Hitting MVPs
Lucas Duda -- 3/6, BB, HBP, HR, 2B, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2 K, 0.154 WPA
Nick Evans -- 2/3, 2B, K, 0.121 WPA
(Kind of a pathetic group of MVPs, but that's really all there is... No other Met had more than 1 hit and a WPA above 0.001. Great job by our pitching staff.) 

Mets' Clutch Play
David Wright's 2-run homer in Game 3 (0.191 WPA)

Anti-Awards Section

Braves' Pitching LVP
Tommy Hanson (by default; he wasn't that bad) -- 6 IP, 4 R, 1 HR, 5 H, 1 BB, 4 K, -0.082 WPA

Braves' Hitting LVP
Martin Prado -- 1/12, 1 BB (1 IBB), 1 R, 1 K, -0.245 WPA

Braves' Un-Clutch Play
Jason Heyward grounding into a double play with runners on the corners and 0 out in game 3 (-0.166 WPA)

Mets' Pitching LVPs
Manny Acosta -- 1.1 IP, 1 ER, 1 HR, 1 H, 2 BB, 1 K, -0.368 WPA
Jon Niese -- 4 IP, 6 R (0 ER), 1 HR, 5 H, 3 BB, 4 K, -0.480 WPA (Wright's error really hurt him, but Niese still didn't pitch well at all.)

Mets' Hitting LVPs
Carlos Beltran -- 2/12, 0 BB, 1 R, 0 RBI, 3 K, GIDP, -0.258 WPA
Angel Pagan -- 2/9, 0 BB, 0 R, 0 RBI, SB, 2 K, GIDP, -0.211 WPA
Josh Thole -- 3/10, 0 BB, 1 R, 0 RBI, 3 GIDP, -0.196 WPA
Ike Davis -- 2/11, 1 BB, 2 R, 0 RBI, 5 K, -0.147 WPA
Chris Carter -- 0/6, 0 BB, 0 R, 0 RBI, 3 K, -0.146 WPA

Mets' Un-Clutch Play
Angel Pagan grounding into a double play in the 8th inning, down 1 run, in game 2 (-0.205 WPA)

------

Great series, Braves! Now let's keep rolling through Philadelphia!

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