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|4:10 PM PT5:10 PM MT6:10 PM CT7:10 PM ET19:10 ET23:10 GMT7:10 4:10 PM MST6:10 PM EST6:40 PM VEN3:10 UAE (+1)5:10 PM CT, July 27, 2021
Citi Field, Flushing, New York Attendance: 24,000
Braves send Charlie Morton to face division-leading Mets
The Atlanta Braves squandered an opportunity to sweep a doubleheader from the Mets on Monday, which would have drastically cut into New York's lead in the National League East.
However, with their best starting pitcher scheduled to take the mound Tuesday and a well-rested bullpen behind him, the Braves headed to their midtown hotel late Monday feeling pretty good about the start to the pivotal five-game series.
Veteran right-hander Charlie Morton (9-3, 3.65 ERA) will look to give the Braves a lift, although he might not know who he's opposing until he gets to Citi Field. The Mets did not list a starter and are expected to go with a bullpen game.
The Braves and Mets split a pair of low-scoring games Monday. Rookie left-hander Kyle Muller earned the win by tossing five scoreless innings in Atlanta's 2-0 win in the opener before six New York pitchers combined on a four-hitter and Jeff McNeil hit an RBI double in the fifth inning of a 1-0 victory in the nightcap.
The doubleheader continued the Braves' post-All-Star-break stretch of alternating wins with losses and kept third-place Atlanta five games behind the division-leading Mets.
But with the surging Morton -- who is 4-0 with a 2.40 ERA and 55 strikeouts over 45 innings in his past seven starts dating back to June 17 -- scheduled to be followed Wednesday and Thursday by Max Fried and Drew Smyly, Atlanta has some comfort regarding its starting pitching, something the Mets will lack Tuesday and perhaps thereafter.
"We're hanging in there right now," Braves manager Brian Snitker said. "We're going to keep grinding and fighting. Charlie's going (Tuesday) and (then) Max and Drew. We're OK. We're lined up really good for the rest of this series. Guys are going to be ready, and we're going to fight our way through this thing."
The Mets know who is scheduled to pitch the final two games of the series -- rookie Tylor Megill, who has made six big league starts, and right-hander Taijuan Walker, who has a 22.85 ERA in his last two outings.
Before that, New York -- which didn't announce Aaron Loup as the opener for Monday's nightcap until after the first game -- has to spend a second straight game figuring out how to piece together its pitching.
"We'll figure it out (Tuesday)," Mets manager Luis Rojas said before the doubleheader. "We'll have somebody at the one position at 7:10."
Only three Mets relievers -- right-handers Yennsy Diaz, Drew Smith and Nick Tropeano -- didn't pitch Monday. To keep Tropeano -- who was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse as the 27th man for the doubleheader -- active for Tuesday would require New York to subtract someone else from the 26-man roster.
Morton extended his winning streak on Thursday, when he allowed two runs over six-plus innings as the Braves beat the Philadelphia Phillies 7-2. He is 2-3 with a 3.24 ERA in 12 career appearances (11 starts) against the Mets.
--Field Level Media
Updated July 28, 2021