While last week went about as poorly as it could have gone, with the Mets winning just one game against the Nationals and Marlins, this week the team fared much better, going 5-1 and completing a four-game sweep of the Nationals and taking two out of three from the Tigers. Even in the one game the Mets lost this week, they certainly scored enough runs to win the game. This week, the team has averaged 6.67 runs per game. The team’s 15 home runs this week tops the National League. And with a lot of the Mets’ best hitters sidelined with injuries, a lot of this production came from unexpected sources.
Let’s first just do a quick breakdown of the injury updates for this week, which are extensive. Michael Conforto returned from the concussion injured list yesterday and went hitless, but reached base once on a hit by pitch. Robinson Cano and Jeff McNeil were placed on the injured list on the same day—Cano with a quad strain he suffered running out a ground ball and Jeff McNeil with a hamstring strain. Cano had one hit in seven plate appearances before the injury. As a result of the depleted infield, Luis Guillorme was briefly on the roster, but he did not make a place appearance before being optioned back down to Triple-A when Jason Vargas was activated. Brandon Nimmo was also placed on the injured list this week with what was originally called a stiff neck, but we have since learned that he is suffering from the effects of a bulging disc and whiplash.
Outside of Conforto’s return yesterday, it is unclear when any of these players will be back. As a result, the Mets have had to rely heavily on their positional player depth this week—even acquiring some new players as well—which has performed remarkably well. The Mets have gotten key home runs this week from all of Adeiny Hechavarria, Carlos Gomez, Rajai Davis, and Aaron Altherr. Hechavarria, in fact, hit not just one key home run this week, but two—both of them three-run shots. The first came in the fourth inning of Friday’s back-and-forth rollercoaster game, which at the time put the Mets ahead 5-4. The second came in yesterday’s contest, also in the fourth inning. It put the Mets ahead 4-3 and proved to be the difference in the game. In all, Hechavarria had four hits in nineteen plate appearances this week with. He also walked twice. All six of his runs batted in were the result of his two home runs. All of that is good for a 163 wRC+ for the week. With both Cano and McNeil sidelined, Hechavarria is the every day second baseman for the foreseeable future.
Carlos Gomez’s reunion with the Mets has been a great one so far. His dramatic home run was in Thursday’s game, when he belted what turned out to be a game-winning, three-run shot in the eighth inning off Wander Suero. Gomez posted a 125 wRC+ for the week, collecting just four hits in 26 plate appearances, but also walking four times. He also stole two bases and made a couple of key sparkling defensive plays in the outfield. During the absence of both Conforto and Nimmo, Gomez had been playing pretty much every day. With Conforto back, Gomez will likely share some time with both Juan Lagares and J.D. Davis in some combination, but with Lagares struggling mightily, Gomez may end up with the lion’s share of the at-bats in center field.
Lagares has not hit very much all year, but this week was especially bleak for him. He had just one hit in 19 plate appearances this week with a -36 wRC+. I felt that necessitated the poop emoji, but it is certainly worth pointing out that—fitting of the theme this week—his one hit was a big one. Lagares was right at the center of the Mets’ big eighth inning against Sean Doolittle on Wednesday. With Kyle Barraclough unable to get the job done, the Nationals called on Doolittle to record the final out. Doolittle hit Gomez with a pitch, and Juan Lagares came up with the bases loaded and the Mets down a run. Lagares smacked a bases-clearing double to put the Mets ahead 3-1. Other than that key hit, he reached base just one other time on a walk. He also drove in one other run on a sacrifice fly.
Doolittle’s troubles in that eighth inning did not end there. Cue Rajai Davis. After Lagares’ double, the Nationals chose to intentionally walk Wilson Ramos to get to Davis, who had taken his now-famous Uber ride and arrived at Citi Field mid-game. Davis responded with a three-run homer that put the Mets comfortably ahead, which allowed them to sit Edwin Diaz down—something that is not at all trivial, considering how many close games the Mets played in this week. In all, Davis collected two hits in seven plate appearances before being designated for assignment yesterday upon the activation of Conforto. The Mets are hoping that he will clear waivers and can be assigned to Triple-A Syracuse, where he will almost certainly be one of the first to get the call, should injury once again strike a Mets outfielder.
In the meantime, Aaron Altherr retains his roster spot as the backup outfielder. With pretty much all of their outfield depth now on the major league roster, the Mets claimed Altherr off waivers on Thursday and added him to the roster. In keeping with the theme this week, he immediately made an impact. His first at-bat as a Met was a pinch hitting appearance on Friday in the sixth inning. He hit a towering shot on a 1-0 pitch over the left-center field wall which at the time put the Mets back on top 7-6. It was his only hit in six plate appearances this week.
It wasn’t just the Mets’ depth pieces hitting dingers this week, though. The Mets’ regulars—few as they now are—also contributed to the barrage of run-scoring this week. The Mets’ hottest hitter this week by far was Wilson Ramos, who leads the team in pretty much every category: hits (10), home runs (3), runs scored (9), walks (5), RBIs (7), and wRC+ (266). Despite collecting his soft singles with runners in scoring position nearly every week, Ramos had yet to show much power at all, but he changed that this week in a big way. A day after he hit a home run in the eighth inning on Friday that pulled the Mets within a run, he had a two-home run game on Saturday. Ramos appears to be finally barreling the ball with some consistency and pulling a little bit more, which will hopefully translate to a sustained hot streak for the Mets’ catcher.
Saturday was the day of the catcher for the Mets. Not only did Ramos hit two home runs, Tomas Nido hit a walk-off shot in the bottom of the thirteenth inning to win the game. That was his only hit in four plate appearances, but it was a big one. Although the Mets previously insisted that they were not going to use Nido as anyone’s personal catcher, it seems like he is going to be catching Jacob deGrom’s games for the most part moving forward.
Ramos wasn’t the only Met to hit three home runs this week. Pete Alonso also hit three home runs this week and is now on pace to top 50 home runs over the full season. That is on pace to break an all-time rookie record and absolutely obliterate the Mets’ single-season franchise record. All three of his home runs—all solo shots—came in key spots in tight games. On Friday, his fifth inning blast put the Mets ahead 6-5. On Tuesday, his was the second of back-to-back shots that gave the Mets an early lead in the first inning against the Nationals in a game they would go on to win by two runs. On Monday, his gargantuan blast just fair over the foul pole in left field tied the game in the eighth inning, setting the table for the walk-off win in the ninth. Overall, because of these three home runs, Alonso posted a 129 wRC+, despite hitting just .190 for the week. While he’s continuing to hit his home runs every week, Alonso has also been striking out a lot of late, which is something to keep an eye on for the Mets’ rookie first baseman.
Alonso got a day off yesterday in favor of Dominic Smith, who continues to thrive in his pinch hitting role. Smith leads the team with a .556 batting average this week, collecting five hits and two walks in eleven plate appearances this week. Smith scored three runs and drove in one—a key insurance run in the eighth inning on Monday.
Amed Rosario’s story this week is pretty similar to Juan Lagares’, although a less exaggerated version. His overall offensive numbers for the week are poor, but he did deliver in a couple of key spots where it mattered most. Most notably of course, he was responsible for the Mets’ walk-off victory on Tuesday, legging out an infield hit that allowed Hechavarria to score from third base. It was the first walk-off hit of his major league career. He also hit two home runs this week. The first was the aforementioned solo shot in the first inning of Monday’s game, which Alonso followed with a solo shot of his own. The other came in Friday’s game in the third inning—a solo homer that put the Mets on the board. Overall, Rosario had five hits and two walks in 33 plate appearances this week, good for a 59 wRC+.
All of the Mets’ injuries have forced J.D. Davis to log innings in the outfield, something the Mets had avoided doing earlier in the season. But thus far he has performed well out there and at least has not been a liability defensively. Davis had a mediocre week at the plate overall, but—I’m beginning to sound like a broken record—his home run this week was clutch. With the Mets down two runs to the Nationals on Tuesday in the seventh inning, Davis delivered a three-run homer to put the Mets in front 4-3. It was one of four hits in 24 plate appearances this week for Davis. He posted an 86 wRC+, walking three times and scoring three runs for the week.
It’s been a better week for Todd Frazier, whose eight hits this week are second only to Ramos for the team lead. The problem is that, unlike everybody else, seven of those eight hits were singles. That translates to an even 100 wRC+ for the week. Frazier also walked twice and scored three runs. Frazier did contribute in a key way to yesterday’s win, however, slyly bunting against the shift with two men on base, which drove in Smith and sent Ramos to third base. A batter later, Hechavarria delivered his three-run homer that put the Mets ahead, which would not have happened with Frazier’s heads up play.