For years, Mets fans have watched as other teams frequently plugged in spare parts and backups only to see those previously unheralded players become significant contributors for their teams out of nowhere. Sometimes those spare parts were even former Mets who never made it here. Meanwhile, the Mets would struggle to even get their good players to play up to expectations, much less their backups and minor-league replacements.
But in baseball these days, you need to have surprising performances by ancillary players to be a great team. The Dodgers, Yankees, and Rays seem to find at least one of these surprising performers every year. This year, the Mets look to be a great team, and that’s in no small part due to several surprising players stepping up in big ways, with the latest now being Nick Plummer.
Nick Plummer followed up his heroics on Sunday night with a three-hit, four-RBI performance last night, including an RBI double and an impressive three-run homer to the opposite field. He came just a triple shy of the cycle, and he unfortunately never got a fifth at bat to take a shot at it. A former first-round draft pick, Plummer was signed as a minor league free agent by the Mets in November after breaking out offensively in the high minors last year. He was hitting well at Syracuse this year, slugging .511 for the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate, and we’ve obviously seen his raw power the last two days.
Not to be outdone, of course, is Luis Guillorme, who collected two more hits last night, scored three runs, and made several sparkling plays in the field throughout the game. Guillorme, who nobody really pegged as much more than a backup infielder, is hitting .363 through his first 94 PAs this year. According to fWAR, he has already been worth more than a win above replacement level in just 32 games played.
Those two collected 5 of the Mets’ 16 hits last night in a 13-run barrage of the Nationals. Starling Marte had three hits of his own, and whacked a two-run homer into the left field seats. Francisco Lindor knocked three hits as well. Mark Canha recorded two hits. Pete Alonso homered and walked. Even Tomás Nido got a hit. The only Mets hitter who did not get a hit was, hilariously, Jeff McNeil, who owns the highest batting average of any regular player on the Mets.
David Peterson put the Mets in a 3-0 hole in the first inning, but the offense didn’t really seem to mind. They scored two in the bottom of the first to pull closer, and then took the lead by scoring four in the second, with two coming on Marte’s bomb. They then added three more in the third and three more in the fourth on Plummer’s dinger just for fun. Their final run came in the 8th inning on Alonso’s solo homer, which extended the lead to 13-5. Eric Fedde, the Nationals’ starter, lasted only 4 outs. Washington needed three pitchers to get through just the first four innings.
The only negative of the game for the Mets was Peterson, who couldn’t make it through five innings. He was pulled with two outs in the fifth after loading the bases. He allowed four runs and walked four through his 4.2 innings pitched. He couldn’t find the strike zone consistently, even when he was working with a nine-run lead in that 5th inning. This was the David Peterson we saw too much of in 2021 that we hadn’t really seen yet this season. He needs to be better than this to help the Mets get through this next month without deGrom and Scherzer.
Colin Holderman worked out of Peterson’s bases loaded jam in the 5th and stayed on for the 6th. He allowed the first run of his MLB career, but otherwise looked fine. Chasen Schreve picked up the 7th and looked as good as he had in a while, and Steven Nogosek polished off the final two innings to seal the 13-5 win.
The Mets have won four in a row for the first time all season, and with the Braves’ losing, now own season-high 9.5 game lead in the division. The Mets haven’t held a division lead this large since September 2015, and any division lead higher than this would be their highest since 2006, when they won the NL East by 12 games.
Win Probability Added
Big Mets winner: Starling Marte +29.9% WPA
Big Mets loser: David Peterson -17.7% WPA
Mets pitchers: -16.3% WPA
Mets hitters: +66.3% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Starling Marte hits a two-run homer in the second inning (+16.3% WPA)
Teh sux0rest play: Josh Bell hits a two-RBI single in the first inning (-16.9% WPA)