The loss of Pete Alonso has devastated the New York Mets starting lineup. Their ability to score runs will be tested. Minus their best power hitter and the one true player capable of driving in his teammates on a regular basis, they almost passed the first test with flying colors by scoring 10 times on Thursday against the Atlanta Braves. If not for a complete collapse late, the narrative would be different even with them getting pummeled on Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
A lot of what the Mets are doing feels familiar. Todd Zeile perfectly described the Braves losses, at least the first two, as a repeat of the late 1990s and early 2000s. The loss of Alonso is a bit familiar as well.
Back in 2021, the Mets lost ace Jacob deGrom for what turned out to be the rest of the season. They were trade deadline buyers, going as far as to acquire Javier Baez from the Chicago Cubs. But it was clear even before Baez had joined the ball club. Doubts about deGrom returning put a nail in the coffin of the team’s motivation.
The Mets losing Pete Alonso will sting more than the offensive numbers
Losing a leader like Alonso is sure to have some effect on the players whether they realize it or not. This year’s offensive output, unfortunately, is way too similar to what we saw from them in 2021 when they were relying on their starting staff to carry them.
deGrom pitched his last game for the 2021 Mets on July 7. He had a no-decision (go figure) and would end the year 7-2 with a 1.08 ERA. The Mets were 46-37 at the time and in a much better position than the current 2023 team who are suddenly in need of a hot couple of days in a row to even get back to .500.
It all seemed to fall apart for the Mets with deGrom’s absence. Taijuan Walker wasn’t the same in the second half. Carlos Carrasco never had any success at all. A team 9 games over .500 slightly past the exact midway point of the year would end up going 77-85. It was a miserable second half for the team. The loss of deGrom was the point where it all began to fall apart.
Even more ironic, it was the Pirates they played next.
The Mets split their four game series against Pittsburgh heading into the All-Star Break then dropped two of three immediately after. It’s strange how baseball works, isn’t it? That was a much worse Pirates team in 2021. The one the team is up against this weekend is actually playing for something meaningful.
Alonso is expected to be back in 3-4 weeks. This is enough time for the Mets to stay afloat and for him to come back and lead the team. The problem is how far out of contention they could be by that point. There are no wins they can spare right now.