The Mets’ week started off in pretty grim fashion; they lost a one-off makeup game to the Nationals on Monday before dropping two out of three to the Braves, including one in which the Braves put up 20 runs on the Mets and one in which the Mets suffered a walk-off loss. But the Mets turned things around over the weekend, taking two out of three in the Subway Series against the Yankees in the Bronx—both wins coming in convincing fashion. Maybe Yankee Stadium was just the tonic the offense needed.
It is disconcerting that there is some red here, but if you look more closely there are a few down arrows belonging to guys who are no longer on the team. Patrick Mazeika, for example, went 1-for-4 this week before being sent down to Triple-A Syracuse when Tomás Nido was activated from the injured list. Nido caught the day game of Sunday’s doubleheader against the Yankees and went 1-for-3, driving in the first run of the Mets’ fourth inning in which they came back to take the lead.
Now that Jonathan Villar is also active, Travis Blankenhorn’s services are also no longer needed. Blankenhorn did not reach base in his two plate appearances this week before being sent down to Triple-A. Villar started at third base in the nightcap of Sunday’s doubleheader and failed to reach base in his three plate appearances.
The return of Brandon Nimmo from the injured list meant that Albert Almora Jr., who did not reach base in any of his three plate appearances this week, was also optioned to Triple-A Syracuse. After a somewhat hot start for Almora, it’s been a prolonged struggle for him at the plate since returning from his injury. But unlike most of the newly healthy Mets, Nimmo hit the ground running right away, and it was a huge part of what kickstarted the offense over the weekend. Nimmo hit .357 this weekend, collecting five hits over the three games, scoring three runs, and driving in three runs. It is likely no coincidence that the one game the Mets lost against the Yankees was the game in which Nimmo went hitless. The Mets have missed their leadoff hitter and it shows.
Despite his five hits for the week, Nimmo is not the hottest Met right now. That designation belongs to Dominic Smith, who earns the fireball for putting up a 258 wRC+ in 25 plate appearances this week. His ten hits for the week lead the team by far and he also leads the team in runs scored with eight. He is second only to Pete Alonso in home runs and RBIs this week. In fact, Smith was one of the few Mets hitting all week. He had a big day in Thursday’s walk-off loss, hitting two solo homers, the second of which tied the game. In both Saturday’s game and Game 1 on Sunday, Smith led off the scoring for the Mets and he hit a two-run double on Saturday in the Mets’ big sixth inning that broke the game open.
As I already mentioned, Pete Alonso stayed hot this week, to the tune of a 158 wRC+ in 28 plate appearances. He had just five hits, but four of them were home runs and he led the team in RBIs this week with seven. His two-run shot followed by Billy McKinney’s solo shot on Monday brought the Mets within a run in that game before Ryan Zimmerman’s crushing pinch hit three-run homer in the eighth inning. Believe it or not, the Mets started Wednesday’s game ahead, as Alonso blasted a two-run shot in the top of the first that put them on the board. But we’ll discuss what happened after that in the pitching meter. Alonso homered yet again in each of the games in Sunday’s doubleheader and his solo shot in the seventh inning of Game 1 was a game-tying blast off Aroldis Chapman, handing him a blown save. The Mets went on to pile on after that, but it was Pete who got it all started.
Speaking of Billy McKinney’s solo shot against the Nationals on Monday, that represented his only RBI for this week. He had just one other hit—a single—and a walk in 12 plate appearances this week, good for a 94 wRC+. He also scored two runs. When J.D. Davis, the last of the injured Mets position players, returns from the injured list, which should happen soon, the Mets will face a difficult roster decision between McKinney and José Peraza, who had a good week at the plate. Peraza posted a 164 wRC+ in 14 plate appearances this week. He collected four hits, walked once, scored three runs, and drove in two runs. Those two RBIs were memorable ones; they came on a ball that was destined to smack off the left field wall in Yankee Stadium, likely clearing the bases. Instead, a fan reached over the fence and caught the ball, so Peraza had to settle for a double on fan interference. Still, those two runs put the Mets in front in the seventh inning of Game 1 of Sunday’s doubleheader and they never looked back. McKinney is out of options and Peraza has accrued enough service time to refuse an assignment to Triple-A, so the Mets run the risk of losing either player if he is cut upon Davis’ return.
With Jeff McNeil now healthy and Villar active as well, Luis Guillorme’s playing time has inevitably been reduced somewhat, but Guillorme continues to contribute pretty much every week in the form of slapping singles and getting on base. He had six hits—all singles—in 17 plate appearances this week and scored a run. McNeil, meanwhile, has begun to emerge out of his slump that he’s been in since his return from the injured list. He still is not hitting for power; all seven of his hits this week were singles. But a 115 wRC+ in 25 plate appearances is certainly an improvement over last week. McNeil also walked twice, scored three runs, and drove in one.
James McCann also had himself a much improved week over last week. In fact, one could argue that other than Smith and possibly Alonso, McCann was the Mets’ hottest hitter this week. He posted a .333/.455/.500 slash line over 22 plate appearances this week, good for a 172 wRC+. He collected six hits and walked four times. Unfortunately, he was not driven in by the hitters behind him. His only run scored and three of his four RBIs this week came on a three-run homer, but it was a crucial one. It was the shot that tied the game on Tuesday, which the Mets went on to win.
The clutch game-winning hit in that contest came off the bat of Francisco Lindor, who has found ways to get on base, even when he isn’t hitting the cover off the ball. Lindor had just five hits in 29 plate appearances this week, but he also walked five times, which leads the team. He scored three runs and drove in four, including the game-winning run on Tuesday. He walked with the bases loaded in the sixth inning of Saturday’s game to extend the Mets’ lead to four runs. He also was right in the middle of the Mets’ big fourth inning in Game 1 on Sunday, smacking the single that tied the game at four runs apiece (the first of two RBI hits he would have on the day). So while Lindor’s overall batting line (a 99 wRC+) for the week is somewhat pedestrian, he has contributed in big ways this week.
Michael Conforto, meanwhile, has struggled at the plate since his return from the injured list and earns a down arrow for the second straight week. He had just two hits in 25 plate appearances this week. His only saving grace is that he walked four times, which is just one short of Lindor for the team lead. Still, a 35 wRC+ for the week is not good for one of the Mets’ key hitters. Conforto was, somewhat indirectly, part of the damage the Mets inflicted on Aroldis Chapman in Game 1 of Sunday’s doubleheader; right after Pete Alonso tied the game with his home run, Chapman hit Conforto with a pitch and Conforto would later come around to score on the Peraza double. That was one of just two runs Conforto scored all week. His only RBI for the week came in Thursday’s walk-off loss, when he got the Mets on the board with an RBI single in the first inning.
Kevin Pillar is also struggling mightily at the plate. The only thing that helped him avoid the poop emoji for his unsightly 3 wRC+ in 23 plate appearances this week is the fact that he had a couple of clutch plate appearances as well. After Aroldis Chapman walked Jeff McNeil following the Alonso game-tying home run and the Conforto hit by pitch, he was pulled from the game and Pillar greeted Lucas Luetge with a pinch hit single that loaded the bases. He would eventually come around to score in the six-run inning for the Mets. Pillar scored three runs and drove in two, which is an incredible feat considering he only had three hits in total this week. Those two RBIs came in Saturday’s game, which opened up an 8-0 lead over the Yankees in the sixth inning.