Mets lose more key players to injury, somehow defeat Braves in series opener

The Mets beat the Braves 3-1 last night in Atlanta. What did it cost? In the words of Thanos, “Kevin Pillar’s nose.” The surprisingly useful outfielder took a fastball from Atlanta reliever Jacob Webb directly to the face in the top of the seventh inning. That resulted in Pillar’s nose being bloodied, but also a run for the Mets because the bases were loaded when it happened.

Even better is that Pillar is apparently okay despite suffering multiple nasal fractures. Hopefully he recovers quickly because the Mets’ outfield now consists of Johneshwy Fargas and Khalil Lee, both of whom made their big league debuts last night, as well as Dominic Smith. That’s it.

Pillar wasn’t even the only new injury for the Mets, though. Taijuan Walker left the game after just three innings due to an issue with his left side. Fortunately, the MRI came back clean, but he could still miss a turn in the rotation, which would put even more stress on New York’s bullpen. Sean Reid-Foley was the hero of the game for the Mets, as he came into the game on short notice and threw three perfect innings with five strikeouts to keep Atlanta at bay until the Mets finally broke through in the seventh.

Nido led off the frame with a double and then was doubled home by James McCann, who pinch-hit for Reid-Foley. That’s not exactly where you plan for the offense to come from, but the Mets will need to continue getting production from surprising places with all the backups in the lineup these days.

Monday’s win in the series opener was huge when you factor in that the opponent was a division rival and all the injuries threatening to torpedo the season. The going will only get rougher in the near future with Miguel Castro slated to start tonight’s game and bat eighth in between the two rookie outfielders.

On the bright side, the Braves’ starter Tucker Davidson just arrived from Triple-A, and he was a train wreck in 2020 when he made his only major league appearance. Davidson was excellent in the minors in 2019 and so far this season, but the Mets’ lineup is only half minor league players, so they should do okay against him. If not, there’s always the rubber game with David Peterson on the mound.

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