Braves’ ‘post-up mentality’ draws Buck Showalter’s respect

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By Susan Comstock

Mets manager Buck Showalter sounded downright wistful at the consistency, production and health the Braves have enjoyed with their position players.

The big four of Ozzie Albies, Ronald Acuna Jr., Matt Olson and Austin Riley have each appeared in 113 games and have produced standout seasons, with at least 26 home runs apiece and an OPS of .825 or higher.

“Sharing the load, they have so many weapons. Want me to pick one thing, it’s how their entire infield has played 100 games,” Showalter said. “It’s a real post-up mentality that they have really benefited from. It’s hard to do. I have a lot of respect for that.”

The two teams will meet this weekend at Citi Field for the first time since early June.

The Braves (72-41) hosted and swept that most recent series, part of a June swoon during which the Mets went 7-19.

The Mets (52-62) will enter the series a whopping 20 ¹/₂ games behind the cruising Braves in the NL East.

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It’s quite a change from last year, when the two rivals finished tied atop the division, with Atlanta winning the crown based on head-to-head results.

“You got to really search for a weakness [with them],” Showalter said. “You can make a case for them being the best team in baseball right now.”

The players the Mets traded away at the deadline have so far found varying degrees of success.

Max Scherzer has been the most successful, notching a 2-0 record while allowing just four earned runs and striking out 15 hitters across 13 innings for the Rangers.

He has, however, faced two of the worst teams in the AL, in the White Sox and Athletics.

Justin Verlander pitched well in his first start back with the Astros, limiting the Yankees to two earned runs over seven quality innings in a hard-luck loss.

The position players haven’t been nearly as productive.

Mark Canha has six hits in 34 at-bats for the Brewers.

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Tommy Pham has three hits in 21 at-bats for the Diamondbacks, who have lost eight consecutive games to fall 2 ¹/₂ games behind the Marlins for the final NL wild-card spot.

And Eduardo Escobar, who was dealt to the Angels on June 23, has a slash line of just .230/.269/.322 in 87 at-bats.

Closer David Robertson has struggled the most. He has allowed four earned runs in five innings and has blown a save for the Marlins. He blew just three saves with the Mets all season.

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