The overall story of this week’s meters is much the same as last week; the Mets got pummeled by an Astros team who has outclassed them multiple times in short succession, but then took care of business over the weekend against a team that is no pushover, but still an under .500 club. The offense as a unit continues to scuffle, held to just one run over the two games in the Astros series. But, Starling Marte and Eduardo Escobar are red hot; Escobar in particular carried the offense on his back over the weekend and is a big reason the Mets took two of three from the Rangers.
We’ll begin with the two standout performers this week, starting with Eduardo Escobar, who homered in each of the three games in the Rangers series. Escobar had been mired in a very deep slump for weeks, but broke out in a big way, posting a 244 wRC+ and leading the team with six RBIs. He also led the team in runs scored with three, which says more about how the offense is performing as a whole than it does about Escobar. Nevertheless, I shudder to think where the Mets would have been this week without Escobar turning it on at long last.
The same goes for Starling Marte, who posted a team-leading 256 wRC+ over 20 plate appearances. He too hit multiple long balls over the weekend—one on Saturday and one yesterday. He also led the team in hits with seven this week. His three RBIs and two runs scored along with Escobar’s run production account for almost the entirety of the team’s offense this week. The Mets are going to need more guys to step it up pronto to continue to stave off the Braves, but for now it is nice to see Marte bolster his case for the All-Star team by heating up to start July.
Dominic Smith has continued to do well in his limited opportunities since returning to the big leagues. He collected three hits in nine plate appearances this week—a 150 wRC+. As was the case before his stint in the minor leagues, he will compete with J.D. Davis for playing time. Although the two have served mostly as a platoon, Buck Showalter will likely ride the hot hand and Davis has struggled of late. He collected two hits and a run scored in seven plate appearances this week.
Luis Guillorme continues to get more regular playing time than either Smith or Davis due to his defensive flexibility and prowess. Despite Jeff McNeil’s return to the lineup, Guillorme continues to get regular playing time—both to spell Escobar at third base and to allow McNeil to shift to the outfield to give one of the starting contingent there a breather. The shame is that after starting off so hot, Guillorme’s slide offensively continues. He had just two hits—both singles—in 19 plate appearances this week, good for an unsightly -19 wRC+ and a poop emoji.
Unfortunately, Jeff McNeil hasn’t fared much better since returning to the lineup from his hamstring issue, which required a few days off but not an IL stint. McNeil posted a 23 wRC+ in 15 plate appearances this week. He notched two hits and a walk, scored two runs, and drove in one on a key go-ahead RBI double in yesterday’s game that set the stage for Escobar’s homer. Hopefully that was a sign for McNeil finding his rhythm at the plate again in addition to getting back out there on the hamstring in the outfield.
Speaking of the outfield, the non-Starling Marte members of the Mets’ outfield have had rough weeks. Brandon Nimmo put up an ugly -2 wRC+ in 20 plate appearances, as he is uncharacteristically slumping. He collected just three hits and one run scored this week and did not walk a single time, which is not good for the Mets’ leadoff hitter.
Meanwhile, I could have tagged Mark Canha with the poop emoji as well for his -19 wRC+ in 12 plate appearances this week. The only reason I didn’t is because he logged a key game-tying RBI single in the fourth inning of Friday night’s game that help set up Escobar’s homer. The Mets wound up winning that game by one run, so Canha’s hit was very consequential in that outcome. But it was literally his only hit for the week.
The Mets’ outfield corps has a new member this week in Ender Inciarte, who the Mets picked up after he was released by the Yankees. The Mets called Inciarte up ahead of Tuesday’s game with the Astros and sent Nick Plummer down to Triple-A. The slick fielding Inciarte will play the Travis Jankowski role as the late-inning pinch runner and defensive replacement. Inciarte collected one single in his first five plate appearances as a Met.
A big reason for the Mets’ offensive struggles this week is that Pete Alonso’s bat has cooled off. Alonso, whose 69 RBIs still lead the majors, is such a potent threat in the lineup that when he is in a slump, it feels like the whole team is. Alonso did not add any RBIs to his MLB-leading total this week and this is the first week I can remember him not driving in any runs at all. He collected just three hits—all singles—and two walks in 18 plate appearances, good for a 46 wRC+. Hopefully this is just temporary for Alonso, but he is one of those hitters for whom slumps look ugly and this one is no exception.
Francisco Lindor has also fallen off this week, although far less precipitously. He put up an 87 wRC+ over 19 plate appearances. Like Alonso, he collected three hits, but he also walked a team-leading four times this week, which helped boost his on-base percentage to a respectable .368 for the week. He scored a run and was the only player besides Marte to steal a base this week.
James McCann’s 77 wRC+ for the week may not be eye-popping, but it is an improvement on what the Mets had been getting out of either Patrick Mazeika or Tomás Nido with the bat. In ten plate appearances this week, McCann had a hit, walked twice, and drove in the Mets’ only run on Tuesday via a bases-loaded walk to help the Mets avoid a shutout. Tomás Nido, now resuming backup duty, went hitless over seven plate appearances this week and walked once.