Perhaps the most important homestand of the year takes place for the New York Mets beginning on Friday. The Mets play three games versus the San Diego Padres then follow it up with four versus the Chicago Cubs.
New York will get to prove they are the real deal in these seven games. Up against two tough opponents on their home turf, coming away with a winning record is what the team should have as their mission.
Lucky for them, first baseman Pete Alonso has been hot of late. How he hits should factor into the results of these upcoming games.
Pete Alonso is quietly doing for the Mets exactly what they need him to
Alonso won’t break any home run records this year, but he can certainly prove to be an effective slugger for the Mets yet again. The time he missed did hurt his overall season numbers. Some slumping early on has also put him well behind the pace we would expect from a guy who hit 53 home runs back in 2019.
Despite the lack of jaw-dropping totals, Alonso is the team leading in home runs (10) and RBI (31). His hot hitting ways have recently raised his slash line up to .265/.349/.500. In any year, let alone one like 2021 where hitters are getting taken advantage of by starting pitchers with spider webs on their fingers (I think I’m understanding this Gerrit Cole controversy correctly), these are good numbers for him to aim at.
Although nothing to jump for joy over and risk a bad landing that tears your Achilles—I’ve seen enough injuries from the Mets players this year to know any movement could cause severe damage—we should acknowledge Alonso is having the exact kind of year the team needs from him. Heat is radiating from his bat. In his first 22 at-bats in May, he is hitting .364 with 3 home runs and 7 RBI.
The heart and soul of many MLB lineups have the blood pumping through the cleanup hitter. Alonso, quintessentially built to slug home runs, is doing just that.
Somewhat overlooked, he’s also cutting down on his Ks. With less than one strikeout per game, Alonso has apparently made it a point to put the ball in play more.
Maybe he really doesn’t care whether or not pitchers are doctoring baseballs. Swatting baseballs and moving them great distances is top of mind.
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Against two tough opponents this weekend, the Mets will need him to do a lot of this. The cavalry is getting ready to return (at least partially). Until then, the Mets will need the most they can get out of the Polar Bear.