Pete Alonso offered a deceptively simple-sounding assessment of things for the New York Mets after they played games Nos. 107 and 108 -- completing exactly two-thirds of their regular-season schedule -- Saturday afternoon and evening.
"We've got a lot of time left and we want to make the most outof every single day," Alonso said.
The Mets certainly made the most out of Saturday, when their doubleheader sweep of Atlanta drastically cut the amount of time left for the Braves to mount a charge in the National League East.
With a series win already locked up, the Mets will look to deliver a resounding message to the visiting Braves in the finale of a five-game set Sunday.
Jacob deGrom (0-0, 1.80 ERA) is slated to make his second start of the season for the Mets when he opposes fellow right-hander Spencer Strider (6-3, 2.79).
The Mets never trailed in sweeping Saturday's day-night doubleheader. David Peterson tossed 5 1/3 scoreless innings in the opener and earned the win in the Mets' 8-5 victory before Max Scherzer struck out 11 -- tying a season high -- over seven scoreless innings in leading the hosts to a 6-2 win in the nightcap.
The wins lifted the first-place Mets (69-39) to 30 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2006 season and extended their lead over the second-place Braves to 5 1/2 games.
Despite the healthy lead and the momentum they've generated this weekend, the Mets know they won't be able to let up against the Braves. Atlanta has captured the NL East in each of the past four years and won the World Series last season despite not moving over .500 until Aug 5.
"It's great to get these wins, but it's not over yet," Scherzer said. "Don't get me wrong, you want to beat them as much as you can. But it's going to take that kind of effort the rest of the season."
The Braves made three errors that led to two unearned runs in the nightcap, but a strange and mistake-filled loss -- manager Brian Snitker used the word "weird" to describe the game three times in fewer than three minutes -- could have been even costlier.
Catcher Travis d'Arnaud left after his right leg twisted awkwardly when he tried tagging Alonso after receiving a high throw from third baseman Austin Riley in the sixth. The Braves said X-rays were negative and d'Arnaud is day-to-day.
Starting pitcher Max Fried was tended to after he landed hard and awkwardly on his head and throwing shoulder while making a desperate throw home following shortstop Dansby Swanson's error in the third.
With those health scares dodged, Snitker is hoping the Braves can make the weekend look a bit more aesthetically pleasing with a win Sunday.
"We just need to win the game (Sunday)," Snitker said. "We wanted to get the series. We're not. If we get out of here with a win tomorrow, then that's, from where we are right now, the best possible outcome."
deGrom made his first start since July 7, 2021, on Tuesday night, when he didn't factor into the decision after giving up one run over five innings in the Mets' 5-1 loss to the Washington Nationals, The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner missed the second half of last season with elbow woes and was sidelined this season with a scapula injury.
Strider, a leading contender for the NL Rookie of the Year, earned the win Tuesday after surrendering one run over 6 2/3 innings as the Braves beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 13-1. He has allowed one run or fewer eight times in 12 starts since moving into the rotation May 30.
deGrom is 9-7 with a 1.96 ERA in 25 career starts against the Braves. Strider is 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA in three games (one start) against the Mets.
--Field Level Media