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Mets look to keep the vibes alive, and Álvarez continues to grow up
The Mets look for their sixth straight win after an off-day. Plus, the young Francisco Álvarez continues to grow up in front of our eyes.
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾️
The Mets enjoyed an off-day on Monday and traveled to Chicago to face the Cubs later tonight
New York will look to win their sixth consecutive victory, which would mark their longest winning streak of the 2023 season
LHP David Peterson was named the International League Pitcher of the Week after tossing eight scoreless innings with nine strikeouts in Triple-A on Sunday
The Mets sending C Francisco Álvarez back down to the minors “could still be on the table” once Tomás Nido and Omar Narvaez return from the injured list (SNY)
Who’s Hot 🔥
C Francisco Álvarez is hitting .271/.364/.604 with four home runs, four doubles, nine RBI, seven runs scored and a .968 OPS in 16 games this month
1B Pete Alonso clubbed four home runs and drove in 10 runners over the team’s six-game homestand
RHP Max Scherzer has posted a 0.81 ERA and a 2.38 FIP over his last two starts while holding opposing hitters to a .135/.220/.162 slashline
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (25-23) vs. Cubs (20-26)
Where: Wrigley Field - Chicago, IL
Starters: RHP Kodai Senga (4-2, 3.77 ERA) vs LHP Drew Smyly (4-1, 2.86 ERA)
When: 7:40 PM EDT
Where to Watch: SNY
Francisco Álvarez is growing up in front of our eyes… ✍🏼
Kids grow up so fast, don’t they?
Over the last week, the Mets season has been lifted off of the proverbial mat and in large part due to the club’s rookies. Brett Baty and Mark Vientos have provided major sparks to this team, but the rookie making the most impact right now is the youngest of them all – Francisco Álvarez.
It’s been very encouraging to see Álvarez perform the way he has of late, especially after the incredibly trying start he got off to at the start of the season. Over his first 11 games of the year, Álvarez hit just .177/.200/.265 with a single extra-base hit, 13 strikeouts and a .465 OPS. He often looked over anxious at the plate, especially in big moments, swinging for the fences and missing quite often.
In fact, in those 11 games, Álvarez was striking out 37.1 percent of the time and was only being used as the back-up catcher to Tomás Nido.
Things have certainly changed, however, as the young backstop has appeared to hit his stride in a major way this past month. Over his last 17 games, the 21-year-old Álvarez is batting .280/.368/.600 with four home runs, four doubles, nine RBI, seven runs scored and a .968 OPS. In that time, Álvarez has also posted a 166 wRC+ while striking out just 17.5 percent of the time.
Álvarez’s strides have been noticeable, as his hot May has raised his overall OPS on the season from .419 (where it stood on April 26th) to .769 entering the day.
Not only have the overall numbers seen a massive improvement, but Álvarez’s approach at the plate as a whole has completely changed. After looking completely outmatched against big league pitchers in high-leverage situations earlier this season, the youngster has come through in massively clutch moments multiple times in the last week alone. Twice in the last five games, Álvarez has come up with the club down to their final out and has tied the games both times against two tough closers in Jason Adam and Emmanuel Clase.
Over this last month, we’ve all been reminded why this was the number one overall prospect in all of baseball just one season ago. And now, just 33 games into his big league career, Álvarez looks like a man who belongs here and has no plan of turning back. Despite rumors that he could be demoted back to the minor leagues once Nido and Omar Narvaez return from the injured list, there’s simply no way the Mets could justify a demotion to one of the most exciting and increasingly important cogs to their lineup.
It’s also worth noting, by the way, that Álvarez’s 0.7 fWAR this season is already just 0.3 points shy of matching Tomás Nido’s career fWAR in the major leagues. By the time Nido does return, the young man who was once his back-up not long ago will suddenly be the one in need of a back-up catcher.
Crazy how quickly things can change. I guess the kids are all right after all.
Around the League 🚩
The Astros crushed a season-high five home runs to win their eighth consecutive game
Dodgers 1B Freddie Freeman hit a go-ahead three-run home run against his former club as LA defeated the Braves in Atlanta
Reds 3B Nick Senzel delivered a walk-off sac fly as Cincinnati outlasted the Cardinals 6-5 in 10 innings
Phillies RHP Zack Wheeler continued his slow start to the season as the team fell to the Dbacks by a 6-3 score
Rays CF Jose Siri hit his 7th home run of the season as Tampa Bay improved to 35-14 on the season following their win over the Blue Jays
Long-time Cardinals writer Rick Hummel passed away at the age of 77