The Braves shared a 4 game streak with the Mets

NEW YORK – Nothing lost. Nothing won. Now the Braves will spend the next five months trying to overcome the six-game division deficit they faced after ending a four-game streak with a 9-2 win over the Mets on Wednesday afternoon at CitiField.

While it was good to see these two sides face off for the first time this season, the National League East was not going to be decided in May. But by sandwiching the wins around Tuesday’s ugly doubleheader, the Braves at least kept from getting buried too far down the standings. The division’s six-game deficit equals the one the defending World Series champions faced against the Mets on July 28 of last year.

But instead of counting on another late-season push, the Braves are hoping for a much earlier success than last year. They showed signs of turning in a streak that included its share of ups and downs.

“Our team chemistry is great and we’re all having fun,” Braves receiver Travis d’Arnaud said. “There are good things happening on the baseball field and we communicate well. So yes, good things are happening.

The Braves have only won one series this year and they opened that road trip by losing two of three to the last-place Rangers. But while they may not have found their groove yet, here are three encouraging things seen during this series:

Strike in time
OK, there weren’t an abundance of timely hits. In fact, there really weren’t any during Tuesday’s doubleheader. But d’Arnaud contributed a huge two-strike hit in the sixth inning of Monday’s win and he tied his first walk of the season to tackle the first run of the seven-run sixth that decided of Wednesday’s game.

The Braves entered Wednesday’s sixth after going 3 for 20 with runners in scoring position during this series. But Ozzie Albies, Adam Duvall, Dansby Swanson and Ronald Acuña Jr. recorded four hits with RISP in the big inning. d’Arnaud broke up that stretch by running a loaded walk, the only free pass he’s shot in 73 plate appearances this year.

Atlanta entered Wednesday with .159 (22 for 138) with runners in scoring position in their last 20 games.

“It was good to keep the line moving with the one big inning,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “I don’t know if we did that this year. It was good to see. It shows that we are capable of it. »

The bottom of the command
Making the sixth-inning uplift even more heartening was the fact that it included Duvall’s two-run double and Swanson’s RBI single. The Braves need this duo to be productive to make training less cumbersome and help create more opportunities for Acuña Jr.

Swanson started off slow but hit a team-high .341 with a .954 OPS in his last 13 games dating back to April 22. After producing what was only his third multi-hit game on Wednesday, Duvall was still hitting .191 with a .537 OPS and just one home run.

Still, Duvall’s average speed out and hard-hit rate are higher than they were when he hit 38 homers last year.

“Traditionally, I started slower,” Duvall said. “I just need to clean up some things and we’ll be where we need to be.”

Acuña’s energy
Acuña went just 5 for 25 with an extra hit since being called up from the disabled list. But as he played in three of four games against the Mets, he showed no signs of being just 10 months out with a torn right ACL.

The energetic outfielder created some excitement in the sixth inning on Wednesday when he found himself in a rundown state and eventually sprinted past Francisco Lindor to successfully reach second base. After slipping and dusting, the 24-year-old star looked over to her dugout and playfully ran in place.

“I’m sure all the doctors were [gasping] when they saw him running like that,” Snitker said. “But that just shows you how healthy he is.”

Acuña recorded the Braves’ fastest opening time (30.5 fps) in Monday’s series opener and on Tuesday he smoked a double at 186.6 mph, which is the fourth ball the hardest hit he has ever struck. He hasn’t been cleared to play every day yet, but it will be hard to keep him out the more he shows his body and knee can handle the daily grind.