NEW YORK -- The Braves exited the season's first series feeling good about two things: Outfielder Matt Kemp is on fire, and two weeks will pass before there's reason to worry about the significant challenge Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey present every time they step on the mound
NEW YORK -- The Braves exited the season's first series feeling good about two things: Outfielder Matt Kemp is on fire, and two weeks will pass before there's reason to worry about the significant challenge Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom and Matt Harvey present every time they step on the mound for the Mets.
Kemp extended his early-season power surge on Thursday with a two-homer performance that went for naught, as the rest of the Braves' offense remained silent against Harvey and a trio of relievers in Thursday night's 6-2 loss to the Mets at Citi Field. New York claimed two victories in this three-game set, which featured starts by Syndergaard, deGrom and Harvey.
"When you come out of Spring Training, that's a rough three guys to face right there," manager Brian Snitker said. "[Harvey] was so good. He just pounded that strike zone with everything tonight. He was just mixing everything up and hitting all of his spots."
Providing an indication that he could make a successful return from last year's season-ending surgery to address Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, Harvey limited the Braves to two earned runs on three hits over 6 2/3 innings. Those runs came courtesy of Kemp's two solo homers -- a 421-foot shot in the fifth inning and a 423-foot shot in the seventh that had an exit velocity of 111.9 mph, per Statcast™, eclipsing the exit velo he produced with any of last year's 35 home runs.
"I had a lot of confidence with keeping the ball around the zone," Harvey said. "I was able to keep it down for the most part, except for about 800 feet of home runs. I'm happy about that."
Harvey confidently navigated his way through a Braves offense that for the series totaled five runs, four of them driven in by Kemp, who notched six extra-base hits (four doubles and two homers) over the three games.
"We had lots of opportunities, even against Syndergaard [on Opening Day]," first baseman Freddie Freeman said. "We just didn't come through this series. The positive you take out of it is, those are probably three of the top 10 starters in the National League, when Harvey is healthy. We had opportunities, we just didn't come through today. We didn't come through the whole series. It's really just been Matt Kemp the whole series for the offense."
Freeman recorded three hits during Monday's Opening Day loss, then went hitless for his nine at-bats in the final two games. Leadoff hitter Ender Inciarte went 1-for-13, with that lone hit a single in the eighth inning on Thursday that loaded the bases before Dansby Swanson ended the final threat by striking out.
The Braves went 3-for-20 with runners in scoring position and scored in just four of the 30 innings played during this three-game series. An afternoon game against the Pirates awaits on Friday, and they have the comfort of knowing that Syndergaard, deGrom and Harvey won't be spending the weekend in Pittsburgh.
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.