This week was a classic mix of good news and bad news for the Mets. The good news? The Mets took two out of three from a first place Brewers team to start the week. The bad news? Yesterday’s loss was arguably one of the worst losses of the year and instead of ending the first half on a high note by taking three of four from a basement-dwelling Pirates team, the Mets split that series instead and let a completely winnable game get away. Although the run total doesn’t show it, one of the many problems on display in yesterday’s game was the offensive ineptitude that has plagued the Mets all year; they put up a big number early, but then they stopped scoring, allowing the Pirates to claw back into the game rather than burying them. That said, when it comes to the overall picture for the week, things look pretty good for the offense, especially compared to where they were, although that is partially thanks to Friday’s 13-run performance. And aside from J.D. Davis, who should be returning immediately after the All-Star Break, this is more or less a meter representing the regular starting lineup, which is a sight for sore eyes.
Let’s start with Francisco Lindor, who is finally, dare I say, en fuego. Lindor has quietly been putting up solid numbers for quite awhile now since his dreadful start in April and May, but this week was arguably his best week as a Met overall so far—at least offensively. Lindor put up a .333/.462/.619 batting line this week over 27 plate appearances, good for a 190 wRC+. He led the team in RBIs this week with seven; of course four of those came in Friday night’s game when he blasted a grand slam as part of the Mets’ ten-run sixth inning. It was the first grand slam for the Mets this season. Lindor also led the team in wRC+ (among players with double-digit plate appearances) and walks (5) and tied for the team lead in hits (7) and runs scored (6). Lindor’s grand slam was not his only long ball for the week; he also homered in the first inning of yesterday’s loss when the Mets dropped a five spot on Chase De Jong.
Michael Conforto also homered in the first inning yesterday—a three-run shot that he desperately needed. Conforto had been struggling mightily at the plate since returning from the injured list and that three-run homer to cap off his week saved him from yet another mediocre showing on the meter. Conforto had just three hits in 21 plate appearance this week (a .188 batting average), but he posted a 123 wRC+, thanks in part to that home run, but also because he walked four times, which is just one shy of Lindor for the team lead. Aside from his three-run homer, Conforto also knocked in a run in Monday’s game with an RBI single as part of the Mets’ big three-run seventh inning that snapped a 1-1 tie. Hopefully this week is a sign of Conforto starting to heat up.
The biggest hit in Monday’s victory though belongs to Pete Alonso, who hit a two-run double in the seventh inning to put the Mets ahead (ultimately for good) in that contest. Alonso continues to be locked in when it comes to the power department; four of his five hits this week were extra-base hits, including two homers in total. His other homer came as part of the ten-run sixth inning on Friday, but it was the blow that really broke the game open, putting the Mets ahead 6-2. But those extra-base hits are essentially the only way he is reaching base at all, thus his .200/.200/.520 batting line and 91 wRC+ this week in 25 plate appearances. However, one can’t dismiss the fact that Alonso’s six RBIs for the week are second only to Lindor for the team lead. Whether you can say Alonso is still “hot” is somewhat debatable, but he is hitting dingers and driving in runs, which is his job. I’m sure the Mets would like to see at least a little bump in OBP though.
The player that is absolutely still hot is Brandon Nimmo, who is the only Met besides Lindor to collect seven hits and score six runs this week. The offense simply has an entirely different look with Nimmo back in the leadoff spot. He has picked up exactly where he left off, posting a .370 on-base percentage and a 132 wRC+ in 27 plate appearances this week. This week he also made just about as good of a defensive play as you will ever see, robbing a home run from Brian Reynolds—Endy Chavez style. Thanks to deeper positioning, Nimmo has made a massive improvement at center field this year and it shows.
Jeff McNeil, who much like Conforto had been struggling since coming off the injured list, earns his second straight up arrow this week for his 166 wRC+ over 21 plate appearances, in which he matched Lindor and Nimmo for the team lead in hits. It was McNeil who delivered the walk-off single to score Lindor and Dominic Smith in Wednesday’s Game 1 extra-inning victory, which really felt like a potential turning point in his season. It was the first walk-off hit of McNeil’s career. McNeil had four RBIs in total this week; his other two came in the Game 2 victory on Saturday, in which he got the Mets on the board with a two-run double in the first inning.
While we’re discussing Wednesday’s seesaw affair, we have to acknowledge the other massive clutch hit in that game: José Peraza’s game-tying home run off of Josh Hader in the bottom of the seventh inning (of a seven-inning game). It was his only hit in five plate appearances this week, but it was a crucial one that helped the Mets win a game. Although Peraza began to look exposed with everyday play, now that the regulars are back in the lineup, he still plays an important role as a pinch hitter off the bench and seems to net at least one key extra-base hit a week. It will be interesting to see what the Mets do with the roster once J.D. Davis returns after the All-Star break, since Peraza can refuse an assignment to the minor leagues—and likely would if the Mets tried to send him down, rightfully so.
Dominic Smith is the regular who struggled the most with the bat this week, cooling off after his hot streak last week. He posted a 44 wRC+ in 25 plate appearances this week, collecting just four hits over that span—all singles. His five runs scored are second only to Lindor and Nimmo for the team lead, however. And he has played a key role in a few Mets victories this week. He hit a game-tying sacrifice fly in the fourth inning of Monday’s victory and also scored the winning run in Wednesday’s Game 1 extra-inning win. Although the Mets ultimately went on to win big on Friday night, it was Smith’s RBI single that put the Mets ahead in the sixth and started the scoring in that ten-run inning.
The Mets’ catching contingent performed pretty well for itself this week. James McCann had a .267/.389/.267 slash line in 18 plate appearances this week with an even 100 wRC+. McCann had four hits—all singles—and also walked three times. He didn’t drive in any runs, but he scored three runs. Meanwhile, Tomás Nido had two singles in his four plate appearances this week.
The outfield members of the bench mob struggled this week, however. Kevin Pillar collected just two hits (both singles) and one RBI in eleven plate appearances this week. All of that production came in Game 1 of Saturday’s doubleheader, in which Pillar drove in the first run of the game in the first inning of the loss. Billy McKinney had just one hit this week in five plate appearances (the only time he reached base), but that hit plated a key insurance run in sixth inning of Saturday’s Game 2 victory.
Jonathan Villar had just three hits in 19 plate appearances this week, but all three of them were home runs—good for a 130 wRC+ for the week, despite a .167 batting average. Two of them were game-tying homers as well. Villar homered twice in Friday night’s blowout. The latter came when the Mets were already up big, but the former was a game-tying shot in the third inning that put the Mets on the board. Villar also tied the game with a solo shot in the loss in Game 1 on Saturday.
Luis Guillorme collected two hits and a walk in his seven plate appearances this week, which is just about all you can ask from him with the bat. However, it is worth mentioning that Guillorme made a crucial blunder on the base paths in yesterday’s game that proved costly for the Mets. In the seventh inning with the Mets ahead by just one run and desperately needing insurance, Guillorme walked to lead off the inning, but was then doubled off first on a liner to third base off the bat of Brandon Nimmo on which he should frozen rather than scampering toward second base. This play was followed by a single and a flyout, meaning it was possible that the Mets could have scored in the inning if not for Guillorme’s mistake. It’s impossible to say if they would have went on to win the game, but things could have unfolded differently if the Mets had a two-run cushion entering the eighth rather than a one-run lead.