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Nimmo and The Home Run: Mets Avoid Braves Sweep

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Brandon Nimmo said the Mets know the Braves are a good team. Nimmo was not in the starting lineup because of an injury to his right side and came off the bench as a pinch runner in the seventh inning. He said the Mets comeback win Sunday night at Citi Field and his two-run walk-off home run in the ninth inning made it [his injury] better.

The right midsection irritation he experienced Saturday during the Mets 4-1 loss was good to go. It was probably the biggest home run of his career that prevented the Mets from avoiding a three-game series sweep. He felt better and so did the Mets after their 4-3 win.

After all these are the Braves and the Mets are trailing them and also the first place Phillies in mid -May in the standings. Eight games behind at this time of year usually does not concede a season, though chances are the Mets will have difficulty catching the Phillies or Braves for the division title.

Chances are the Mets will fight for a NL wild card when the final standings are tabulated in late September. The Mets need a healthy Nimmo at the top of their lineup. They need Pete Alonso, Francisco Lindor, and J.D, Martinez to be consistent and they need to get respectable starts from their rotation.

Regardless, the Mets needed this win and avoiding a sweep was not the momentum needed as they await the Phillies for four games, two at Citi Field, followed by two on the road in Philadelphia. The Phillies (28-13) are rolling, winning eight of their last 10, and with the best record among teams in the NL.

It’s been established again that the Atlanta Braves are a superior team, perhaps a debate in discussion with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but after three games this weekend, the visiting Braves were again a team the Mets could not overtake for superiority in the league and NL East.

“Good team win overall,” said manager Carlos Mendoza. “Sure, he (Nimmo) was good to go. “We created traffic, Good to see them battling back.” Alonso also had game tying hits in the third and sixth innings and Martinez, though 1-for-4, is making more contact. He had that two-out home run Saturday night that broke up what would’ve been a combined Braves no-hitter.

But it was Nimmo who battled back, and he provides a spark for the Mets with speed on the bases and also defensive gems in the outfield. Nimmo in the 8th inning leaped and robbed Matt Olson of an extra base hit that kept the game close. And he fought his way back on the field during an early day of treatment that included electronic therapy and taking swings in the cage.

Said Mendoza “I wanted to see it myself. But once I saw it, it was pretty clear that he was ready to go today.”

Had this been the original scheduled day game, Nimmo may not have been on the field, but ESPN and MLB made the change a month ago for their national broadcast. Nimmo was good to go and can thank the schedule. More important, though, the Mets are trying to keep pace with the Braves and earned their fourth walk-off win of the season, tied with the Orioles for tops in MLB.

Nimmo also hit a game tying homer off losing pitcher A.J. Minter in the seventh inning of an 8-7 Mets win in Atlanta on April 8, a series that saw them come from behind, and take two of three with one game postponed.

Nimmo is a clubhouse leader and you could see the respect as the Mets ran out of the dugout after the home run. As Jeff McNeil said, “For him to go through what he went to yesterday and today, just to be available kind of shows the player that he is.”

It was almost 24 hours earlier and there were doubts that Nimmo would be available. There was talk about the injured list and perhaps a 6-to 8 week time for recovery. Of course Nimmo was having nothing of that. He has sustained previous injuries during his time as a homegrown Met. He was confident and ready to go, discussing a day-to-day situation but the process would wait until game time.

“That was a great first test,” he said. “Hey, get it out of the way right away. “If we weren’t sure enough that we were OK, we are now, because Francisco [Lindor] just about sucked the air out of me when he hugged me. It was a beautiful thing, and I would do it all over again.”

Saturday, rookie right hander Christian Scott with 6.0 innings was the first Mets pitcher since Steven Matz to record back-to-back quality starts to begin their major league career. Scott is becoming a work in progress and will get more starts before Tylor Megill or Kodai Senga return from the injured list.

But this night belonged to Nimmo and the Mets. They prevented a sweep. They know the Braves are good as a team. And the Mets realize that value of having a healthy Brandon Nimmo on the field

Rich Mancuso: X (Formerly Twitter) @Ring786 Mancuso

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