Pete Alonso slugs the Mets to victory, and how his MVP candidacy could be defined in 2022
Pete Alonso's two homers gave the Mets leads on Saturday - he now leads the NL with 22 home runs and 68 RBI
What’s Up with the Mets? ⚾
The Mets defeated the Marlins by a score of 5-3 for the second straight day in Miami (box)
Pete Alonso scorched two go-ahead home runs for the Mets on Saturday - once in the second inning to give the Mets a 1-0 lead and then again in the eighth inning to give the Mets a 4-3 lead
Brandon Nimmo had a three-hit day, and he along with Mark Canha and Eduardo Escobar notched RBI
Chris Bassitt threw seven solid innings, allowing three runs on six hits with five strikeouts
Seth Lugo and Edwin Díaz shut the door with two innings of hitless ball
The Mets 1-4 in the order went 9-for-19 with two doubles, two home runs, three RBI and four runs scored
The Mets are a perfect 43-0 when leading after eight innings. They are 24-8 against the National League East, 35-4 when scoring five or more runs, 9-3-1 in road series, 37-8 when scoring first, 13-9 in June (clinched a winning record this month), 23-16 on the road and 21-10 during the day
Injury Updates 🏥
Jeff McNeil (hamstring) missed his fourth straight game on Saturday, although he has yet to be placed on the injured list
Max Scherzer (strained oblique) will make another rehab start on Tuesday, with hopes he can return to the Mets July 3 against the Rangers
Jacob deGrom (stress reaction in scapula) threw a 20-pitch live batting practice session in Port St. Lucie on Saturday morning. He will throw another one in the coming days, at which point the club will determine the next steps in his rehab process
Colin Holderman (shoulder impingement) will begin a rehab assignment today for Triple-A Syracuse
Trevor May (triceps inflammation) will soon face hitters for the first time during his rehab
Who’s Hot 🔥
Pete Alonso has hit .267/.345/.653 with two doubles, nine home runs and 21 RBI with 15 runs scored in 21 games in June
Brandon Nimmo has a five-game hitting streak - he is hitting .409/.417/.500 with nine hits and four runs scored during that span
Edwin Díaz has allowed one run in his last 11 appearances. Overall, Díaz has struck out 48.3% of the batters he’s faced so far in 2022
Today’s Game 🗓
Match-up: Mets (47-26) @ Marlins (32-38)
Where: LoanDepot Park - Miami, Florida
Starters: LHP David Peterson (4-1, 3.18 ERA) vs LHP Daniel Castano (0-1, 2.57 ERA)
When: 12:05 PM EDT
Where to Watch: Peacock (streaming devices only)
Defining Pete Alonso’s MVP-caliber performance in 2022 📝
For whatever reason and for as long as I can remember, it just never seems to come easy for the Mets when they play the Marlins, does it?
No matter how good or bad either club has been, games always seem to include some kind of slog or adventure, a little bit of drama and a lot of wait-and-see-what-happens.
Saturday’s afternoon affair between the Marlins and Mets was no exception to that rule.
The Mets jumped out to a relatively early 3-0 lead on Saturday and for once, it did in fact seem as though the Mets would be on cruise control towards their second series win against the Marlins over the last week. But in the bottom of the fourth inning, Chris Bassitt ran into some trouble and allowed a two-run home run to Jesus Sánchez to bring the Marlins to within one run.
Then the Mets had a rally stall on them in the fifth inning after they loaded the bases with one out when Pete Alonso - who had already homered earlier in the game - went out of the zone and popped a ball up to the right side and then Mark Canha struck out to strand all three runners.
That opened the door for the Marlins to tie the game, that which they did against Bassitt in the bottom half of the same inning when he allowed a solo homer to Bryan De La Cruz off the fair pole in left field.
So, it was 3-3 and the Mets and Marlins were tangled in one of those low-scoring, high stakes affairs where every pitch on both sides put the game in the balance.
It never seems to fail in a contest between these two clubs.
Bassitt would settle down and give the Mets a solid outing over seven innings. And his ability to keep Miami off the board over his final two frames opened up an opportunity for some late game heroics from Alonso and a bit of redemption of sorts for their star first baseman after his poor at-bat with the bases loaded in the fifth.
Alonso came up in the eighth inning against Jimmy Yacabonis (that’s a seriously fun name to say out loud, by the way), a sinker/slider specialist out of Miami’s bullpen with slightly above average stuff. He was pounding Alonso with fastballs who was able to work the count to 3-2.
Then Yacabonis threw Alonso one fastball too many.
Alonso took a fastball up and over the outer half and lined one over the left-center field fence 433 feet away from home plate at 110 mph. That would give the Mets a lead they would not relinquish.
It was Alonso’s second home run of the day, and second to give the Mets a lead on the day.
“I just wanted to move on to the next AB,” Alonso explained after the game. “The next pitch and Pop to me, his stuff looked a lot sharper than last year. It’s not at all what I remembered, not at all what I saw on video. He came out with his big boy stuff. I felt prepared, but he won and I just was really upset because I swung kind of outside my zone and not trying to do that at all.”
“Thankfully I came through for my team later on with another chance.”
Baseball is indeed a game of redemption at all levels. Its simply a matter of the player’s outlook on the situation.
For Alonso, it was his 22nd home run and 68th RBI on the year, both of which are the most in the National League. His .924 OPS is fourth behind Paul Goldschmidt (1.038), Bryce Harper (.985) and Manny Machado (.945). His 162-game pace is 48 home runs and 150 RBI.
Eight of Alonso’s home runs have come in innings 7-9 so far this season, and five of Alonso’s 22 home runs (23%) have come in tie games.
“He doesn’t let one at-bat ruin his whole game,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “He was very frustrated with the bases-loaded situation. He doesn’t dwell on past successes and failures. He just keeps on grinding. I think that is a common denominator of guys who drive in runs.”
It’s still early, and a lot can happen over the season’s second half and in a hurry at that (look at what happened to Harper yesterday in San Diego, putting his injury-riddled season in immediate jeopardy). And yes, Goldschmidt is arguably having a statistically better season overall than Alonso. But the MVP award isn’t always defined by the league’s best player statistically. Yes, statistics are important and carry a ton of weight in the conversation, but note the word, “valuable” in the middle of the name of this prestigious award.
For me (and of course I do not get an official say in this process), the award is best defined as someone who made both a measurable and immeasurable difference towards a club’s success. And Alonso’s elite statistics only tell a part of his story in 2022.
It’s what those statistics have translated to for the team which has elevated his value in the league and for the franchise. In Alonso’s case, he has been a transformational figure for the Mets offense from the moment he suited up on Opening Day back in April. Alonso is tracking to finish in the top five in home runs, RBI and OPS if he stays healthy, but perhaps its those home runs he hits late in games or those runs he drives in to give the Mets a lead which should enhance his campaign and at a minimum put him in equal standing with Goldschmidt, who has done similar work for his club in St. Louis.
Does that mean Alonso deserves it over Goldschmidt or vice versa if they both continue down this path? Is it going to come down to where each club finishes, or where each player finishes in the ranks for every major offensive category? Is it a combination of all of that, as it should be?
How that’s determined by the voting population could ultimately prove to be the immeasurable or the intangible part of each player’s value and who ultimately lands this prestigious hardware in November.
Down on the Farm 🌾
Francisco Álvarez (C, No. 1 Prospect, Double-A): 3-for-5, HR, RBI, 2 R
Ronny Mauricio (SS, No. 3 Prospect, Double-A): 2-for-4, HR, 4 RBI, 1 R
William Lugo (SS, Low-A): 2-for-5, 3B, 3 RBI, 1 R
Around the League 🚩
The Astros used three pitchers for a combined no-hitter against the Yankees in a 3-0 shutout at Yankee Stadium
The Braves scored two runs in the eighth inning to edge the Dodgers 5-3 to keep pace with the Mets in the NL East
The Phillies defeated the Padres 4-2 in San Diego on Saturday night, but lost Bryce Harper to a fractured left thumb
Mark Appel - the 2013 no.1 overall draft pick - was finally called up to the major leagues on Friday night by the Phillies
The Yankees have expressed interest in acquiring RHP Luis Castillo from the Reds (Athletic)
The Rays are likely to activate star rookie Wander Franco from the injured list on Sunday
The Royals are exploring the trade market for OF Andrew Benintendi (Boston Globe)