The Braves played an unusual two-game set with the New York Mets and finished with a split in the two games. While the teams came out even in the win-loss column, the Braves have to feel as if their lone victory isn’t sufficient compensation for the loss of Jason Heyward for the rest of the regular season.
Heyward was hit in the face by a Jonathon Niese fastball on Wednesday breaking his jaw in two places. Early reports put Heyward’s recovery time at 4-6 weeks, which will make Heyward’s return for the end of the regular season (and even the NLDS) questionable. Even if Heyward’s injury is fully healed by the time the NLDS begins, his effectiveness may be compromised by an extended period of not being able to eat solid food. The Braves one victory over the Mets will surely not be worth the trouble if Heyward’s injury is the difference between a deep postseason run and a first round exit.
The Braves dropped the first game of the series on Tuesday night by losing 5-3. Brandon Beachy was very effective for most of the night until a three-run sixth inning that included a two-run home run by Marlon Byrd. The Braves looked to make a game of it in the 7th when Andrelton Simmons plated three runs with a bases loaded double. However, Simmons would be left on third base, and the Braves wouldn’t threaten again in the defeat.
On Wednesday, Alex Wood was once again very impressive, pitching six strong innings of one-run ball. The Braves tied the game when Jordan Schafer scored on a Freddie Freeman single after replacing the injured Heyward on the base paths. The game remained a pitcher’s duel until a three-run home run by Chris Johnson in the 10th inning put the Braves ahead 4-1. An easy Craig Kimbrel save (stop me if you’ve heard this before) in the bottom of the 10th secured the series split, but once again, the Braves left New York with a key player lost to a serious injury.
The Braves will still win the NL East going away, but objectively speaking, their World Series hopes may have taken a significant hit in this series.