3 takeaways from bitter ending to Braves' series win over the pesky Mets

It wasn't the ending that Atlanta fans wanted but the Braves still went to New York and took two of three over the weekend, avenging their series loss to the Mets earlier last month.

Atlanta Braves v New York Mets
Atlanta Braves v New York Mets / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages
2 of 3

Sunday's series finale in New York was filled with bad mojo, as despite another fantastic pitching performance, the Braves couldn't hold on to a 3-2 ninth-inning lead, with A.J. Minter allowing a two-run walk-off home run to let the sweep slip out of Atlanta's hands.

Combine that with Austin Riley leaving Sunday's game early, and you have an overall sub-par evening.

Still though, there were some positives, and some fun storylines to take out of the series win in the Big Apple.

Jarred Kelenic gets his revenge

Despite the heartbreaking loss via a Brandon Nimmo pinch-hit two-run walk-off home run on Sunday, and another underwhelming offensive performance for the Braves, Jarred Kelenic got his revenge.

Five days after hitting his first home run as a Brave, the former Mets first-round pick rounded the bases again on Sunday, ambushing a Luis Severino fastball in the second inning of the series finale at Citi Field. It was a ball that just got over the right field wall, a 368-yard bomb that wasn't particularly hard hit, or that went very far, but it did the job.

It was a home run that would not have been one in 25 other stadiums, but on a cool Sunday night in the Big Apple, it was enough, and it's a home run that perfectly fits and brings in full circle Kelenic's big league story to this point. Filled with potential, but ultimately underwhelming.

Drafted sixth overall in the 2018 MLB draft by the New York Mets, Kelenic was slated to be the next big thing at Citi Field, but he never made it out of rookie ball, after struggling with a .781 OPS in 44 Appalachian League games. He was dealt to the Seattle Mariners in a shocking blockbuster trade that saw several top 100 MLB prospects as well as Robinson Cano and Jay Bruce involved.

Kelenic at the time was the No. 3 prospect in the Mets organization and the No. 62 overall prospect in the entire MLB. It was a head-scratcher of a trade for the Mets at the time, trading their top pick just a few months after drafting him. However, once he got to the big league level in Seattle, though the Mets never got much out of their return in that trade, losing Kelenic never really hurt them.

He struggled for the Mariners, with a slash line of .204/.283/.373 and an OPS of just .656 in three big league seasons. He had his best year in 2023, posting a .746 OPS, and the Braves didn't have to give up much to get him, someone they still believe has unlocked potential.

Despite a hot start this year in Atlanta, it hasn't been great for Kelenic with a .272/.322/.358 slash line and a .680 OPS in 29 games for the Braves. And even Sunday night wasn't great, as after the home run, Kelenic didn't look great at the plate, going 0-for-2 and being pinch-hit for by Adam Duvall in the eighth inning. His defense has been by far the best part of his game this season, and something that will keep him in the lineup moving forward.

However, that home run had to feel good for Kelenic six years after that fateful trade to Seattle.

Despite Sunday's late-game fail, the Braves' pitching was incredible

It has been 13 games and 16 days since the Braves offense has scored more than five runs. Just a few weeks ago, they were tops in the MLB in runs per game and now, they have fallen to fifth.

For comparison, last year's record-breaking Braves offense only went five consecutive games scoring six runs or less. All season, this offense has just felt different. It's been good, but not great as Braves fans know it can be.

That fact has reared its ugly head over the last two weeks but even with the drastic drop in offensive production, the Braves still went 6-7 over that span, including winning four of their last five games.

It's been much better than I think most fans expected it to be after Spencer Strider went down with a season-ending injury and it was fantastic again in this series.

It of course starts with the starting pitching. In the 4-2 game one win, Charlie Morton threw seven innings of three three-hit ball, giving up just one run, a solo shot off the bat of Francisco Lindor in the seventh inning.

In the 4-1 game two win, Max Fried had his no-hitter broken up by his pitch count as he had to leave the game at 109 pitches after seven innings of no-hit ball thrown. J.D Martinez of course broke up the combined no-hitter in heartbreaking fashion with an opposite-field solo shot off of Raisel Iglesias with two outs in the ninth.

In game three, Bryce Elder bounced back after his disastrous start in Los Angeles, throwing 5.1 innings and giving up two earned and seven hits with a season-high six strikeouts. For those keeping count, 19.1 innings, 10 hits, and three earned runs for Braves starting pitching in the series.

And when you hand it off to a bullpen that's been good, sitting at a 3.45 ERA, good for 10th-best in the MLB, you've got a winning formula. A.J. Minter, Iglesias, Joe Jimenez, Aaron Bummer, Jesse Chavez, and Dylan Lee combined to throw 7.2 innings, giving up five hits and three earned runs. All three earned runs on the bullpen.

The pitching for the Braves has carried them this season for sure, but it can only do so for so long. The Braves need to find a way to get out of their offensive slump back in Atlanta in a series with the Cubs starting Monday.

Marcell Ozuna continues his unbelievable 2024

Praising Marcell Ozuna is becoming a staple of these series recap articles and for very good reason. I wasn't going to originally talk about Ozuna again, but he did something on Sunday night that made it hard not to mention.

It genuinely shocked me when ESPN flashed up the graphic after his second RBI single of the night, two of the three RBIs for the Braves in the game, that with his MLB-leading 40th RBI, Ozuna is now the fastest Brave to reach that mark since Hank Aaron.

Hank Aaron is in my very biased opinion, the greatest baseball player of all time, and praising Ozuna before was all fine and dandy, he's having a fantastic season with an OPS at 1.032 on the year. He had a hit in every game this series, and multiple hits the last two nights.

But now we are throwing around Hammerin' Hank's name? He's in that company? Now it's serious.

He's still on the shortlist for early-season NL MVP candidates and if he keeps putting himself in conversation with Hank Aaron, it's going to be hard to deny him that honor come season's end.

However, there is still a long way to go.

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