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May 12, 2024 9:24 am

Braves ask Bryce Elder to continue strong pitching run vs. Mets

bryce elder

Atlanta Braves manager Brian Snitker said he believes starting pitchers can feed off the momentum generated by those who preceded them in the rotation.

No pressure, Bryce Elder.

The right-hander will look to continue a strong stretch by Braves starters Sunday night, when visiting Atlanta attempts to complete a three-game sweep of the New York Mets.

Elder (1-1, 5.28 ERA) is slated to oppose fellow right-hander Luis Severino (2-2, 2.93).

Max Fried threw seven no-hit innings and earned the win Saturday for the Braves, who came within one out of the team’s first no-hitter in more than 30 years in a 4-1 victory.

Joe Jimenez walked two in the eighth and Raisel Iglesias got the first two outs of the ninth before J.D. Martinez homered to right center field to end the bid for the Braves’ first no-hitter since April 8, 1994, when Kent Mercker stymied the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“It’s really cool to be part of an almost one — (a) 26-outer,” said Braves center fielder Michael Harris II, who robbed Martinez of an extra-base hit when he caught Martinez’s seventh-inning fly while hitting the wall.

“So hopefully this season, or in the near future, we can squeeze one out.”

The win was the fourth straight for the Braves, whose starters in that span — Reynaldo Lopez, Chris Sale, Charlie Morton and Fried — have allowed just three runs (two earned) in 25 1/3 innings for an ERA of 0.71.

“I think that little inner competition and things like that — I’ve seen it happen a number of times, where it’s like (pitchers are) just going to keep handing that baton off,” Snitker said Saturday afternoon. “I think it’s a real thing.”

There’s little doubt about the validity of the slump being endured by the Mets, who have just six hits, have struck out 18 times and have yet to hold a lead in the first two games of the series. New York is 6-12 in its past 18 games, a span in which it has scored two runs or fewer nine times.

The Mets sent the tying run to the plate both Friday and Saturday, but Martinez flew out after hooking a potential game-tying homer just foul in a 4-2 loss Friday. Following Martinez’s homer Saturday, Jeff McNeil walked and Harrison Bader singled before Brett Baty flew out.

“I wish I would have hit that (homer Friday) night, when we would’ve tied the game up,” Martinez said. “But here we are. We lost two to the Braves and we’ve got another (Sunday).”

The Mets are hoping they’ll be playing Sunday with leadoff hitter Brandon Nimmo, who left with right intercostal irritation — signified by pain largely in the nerves of the ribs, chest and abdomen — following the fourth inning. Nimmo said he felt uncomfortable during a third-inning at-bat, but he isn’t expected to undergo an MRI.

“I’m not too concerned,” Mets manager Carlos Mendoza said. “I think we caught it early.”

Elder took the loss in his most recent start May 4, when he gave up seven runs over 3 1/3 innings as the Braves fell to the Los Angeles Dodgers, 11-2. He is 2-0 with a 5.27 ERA in three career games (two starts) against the Mets.

Severino didn’t factor into the decision May 5 after allowing four runs over five innings in the Mets’ 7-6, 10-inning loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. He is 1-1 with a 2.70 ERA in two starts against the Braves.

–Field Level Media

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