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A Half Inning the New York Mets Would like to Forget

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COMMENTARY | If you watched the New York Mets on Sunday, you know that they had a nightmarish bottom of the third inning against the Atlanta Braves, one of the better teams in baseball, a team that will capitalize on opportunities you give them.

In that half inning, the Braves scored five runs, but were helped out in just about every way by the Mets.

With one run already in, Freddie Freeman hit a double over the head of the Mets' leftfielder Lucas Duda. Really, it was a ball Duda should have caught. On the play, Duda's first step was in, then he had to go back to try to track it down. He had no shot at that point, and two runs scored.

Two batters later, with two outs and Freeman on third, Jonathon Niese threw a wild pitch, a ball that the catcher John Buck probably should have stopped. The Braves were up 4-0.

After a walk, B.J. Upton hit a hard grounder to third that David Wright couldn't handle. It was scored as a hit, but it's one of those plays that you know is an error, even if the hometown scorekeeper doesn't say so. That gave the Braves an opening to score one more run, giving them a 5-0 lead. The game was essentially over.

It was a bad inning for Niese, who also walked the pitcher, Tim Hudson, that inning, and it was an even worse inning for the Mets. Five runs on five hits, three walks, and a wild pitch. A bad play by Duda and a bad play by Wright. Facing Hudson, a quality pitcher, the Mets weren't coming back against a first-place Braves team that needed the win.

The Mets scored a couple of runs in the top of the fourth inning on a two-run home run by Wright, who all of a sudden has found his power stroke again. Wright has now homered in three straight games, none more memorable than the one he hit Friday night off Braves closer Craig Kimbrel in the ninth inning that tied the game.

You see, it wasn't a lost weekend for the Mets. They won in impressive fashion Friday following Wright's heroics, scoring two in the 10th inning for their second straight win. But after rain forced the postponement of Saturday night's game, the Mets turned in a clunker on Sunday.

And so as New York heads home to take on the Chicago White Sox and Pittsburgh Pirates, they do so coming off one of their worst performances this season.

One half inning on Sunday said a lot about what could go wrong in 2013.

Charles Costello has followed the Mets closely since the rookie years of Darryl Strawberry (1983) and Dwight Gooden (1984). He was a beat reporter assigned to cover the Mets during the 1997 and 1998 seasons.

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