The Mets swept the lowly Reds this week and then took two out of three from the Phillies over the weekend for a solid 5-1 record for the week. The offense took care of business in the Reds series, scoring at least five runs in each game and unloading for double-digit runs in the series finale. The offense was held in check over the first two games of the Phillies series, which both turned out to be pitcher’s duels, before breaking out to score six runs against Zack Wheeler in the rubber game yesterday. Pete Alonso has cooled off some, although he was responsible for the Mets’ only run on Saturday. And Brandon Nimmo is now slumping, but as always, the Mets never all seem to slump at the same time; Jeff McNeil is now hot and Starling Marte broke out of his funk from last week. The Mets are also dealing with some injuries to their infielders, but it is unclear at this stage whether anyone will spend time on the injured list.
One of this week’s injury scares was that of Jeff McNeil, who was forced to leave Friday’s game early with a lacerated finger, which was treated with stitches. Fortunately, McNeil did not have to miss any time and maybe looked a bit tentative throwing with the hand on Saturday, but seemed fine by yesterday. It’s especially good that the injury to McNeil was not serious because he is swinging one of the hottest bats in the Mets lineup right now. McNeil posted a team-leading 210 wRC+ over 20 plate appearances. His six hits are tied for the team lead, with half of those being for extra bases, and his four RBIs are second-most on the team. McNeil’s biggest day this week came on Tuesday when he hit his seventh home run of the year in the fourth inning and went 2-for-4 overall that day with two RBIs.
The only other player on the team this week to have six hits was Luis Guillorme, who is another infielder the Mets may be missing for a bit. Guillorme tweaked his groin while rounding the bases in yesterday’s game and the Mets are awaiting MRI results, which will help determine whether he will need to go on the injured list. It’s a shame because the Mets are already somewhat short-handed in the infield and Guillorme’s positional flexibility has been indispensable to the team this season. After being in a bit of a funk offensively, Guillorme did rack up those six hits this week, but they were all singles—good for a 105 wRC+ for the week. He scored two runs and drove in a run this week.
Rounding out the trio of banged up Mets infielders this week is Eduardo Escobar, who is dealing with some side tightness that has not necessitated a trip to the IL, but is still causing him pain to swing right-handed. Escobar continues to struggle with the bat and has seen his playing time go down dramatically as a result; he has been in a platoon with Luis Guillorme for the most part in the second half. This week, Escobar had one hit and walked twice in ten plate appearances. With Guillorme potentially sidelined for a bit, Escobar should see some more at-bats to try to break out of his slump if he is healthy enough to take them.
Brandon Nimmo is the Met arguably in the deepest slump at the moment. Nimmo had just one hit this week in 21 plate appearances. And even though he scored four runs, partially thanks to the two walks he drew this week, an .059 batting average will get you slapped with the poop emoji. And that one hit? It took until yesterday for that hit to come. Nimmo’s first-inning double helped jumpstart things for the Mets yesterday. But, the Mets are going to need their leadoff hitter to break out of this slump and quickly if they want to be successful against the Braves this week.
Nimmo was driven in yesterday by Francisco Lindor to put the Mets on the board. Lindor is not quite as raging hot as he has been, but he is still swinging a very solid bat right now. His five RBIs for the week are tied for the team lead. He also hit his 20th home run of the season this week in Tuesday’s victory, getting the Mets on the board in that contest. His five runs scored this week also lead the team and he also stole a base. Overall, he collected five hits and three walks—good for a 131 wRC+ for the week. Lindor has now accrued 5.0 fWAR, which has him sitting alone atop the shortstop leaderboard. His 130 wRC+ for the season is second among MLB shortstops only to Trea Turner.
Last week, it was Lindor and Pete Alonso carrying the offense, but Alonso has since cooled off a bit. He put up a mediocre 63 wRC+ over 24 plate appearances this week. But he did still contribute. Like Lindor, Alonso also collected five hits, but he did not homer this week and only one of those five hits was for extra bases. He walked three times, scored two runs, and drove in two ones. One of those two RBIs came in Saturday’s game and it was the only run the Mets would score in that game, which was enough to win with Jacob deGrom on the mound. Alonso also scored the tying run in Friday night’s game and that game stayed knotted at one until extra innings.
That second-inning rally on Friday started with Alonso’s walk and continued with a double off the bat of Darin Ruf, who has been everything the Mets could have asked for so far. In seven plate appearances this week, Ruf collected three hits, two of which were extra base hits. He also scored a run and drove in two runs. Those two RBIs came in Tuesday’s victory when Ruf hit a single to plate two insurance runs for the Mets in the seventh, which allowed them to save their high-leverage bullpen arms for the Phillies series.
After Ruf’s double, Mark Canha plated Alonso with a sacrifice fly. After a down week last week, Canha has resumed his steady, solid production, posting a 140 wRC+ over 16 plate appearances this week. Canha’s team-leading .500 on-base percentage this week was buoyed by his four walks—a mark that also leads the team. He also collected three hits, scored four runs, and drove in two runs. And of course, the weirdest thing to happen to Canha this week (or maybe this season) is that he played a few innings of third base on Friday—a position he had only played a small handful of times in his career. He handled it well and will continue to be a fallback plan there if both Guillorme and Escobar need to miss time.
Like Canha, Starling Marte is looking more like himself this week after a down week last week. Just as you thought his slump might be becoming a problem, Marte started the week off with a two-run homer in the first inning of Monday’s victory. Although that represented his only two RBIs for the week, he posted a 132 wRC+ for the week in 19 plate appearances. He collected five hits, two of which were for extra bases, walked once, and scored two runs. He also swiped two bases—the only Met to steal multiple bases this week. At times, especially running the bases, it appears as if the groin injury that kept Marte from participating in the All Star Game might still be bugging him, just not enough to keep him out of the lineup. But, it’s something to keep an eye on.
Other than Lindor, the only Met to drive in five runs this week was Daniel Vogelbach, who continues to be a force of nature for the Mets and a huge boost to their lineup. Three of Vogelbach’s five hits this week were extra base hits, including a home run in yesterday’s game—good for a 147 wRC+ in 17 plate appearances. It’s hard to overstate what a massive improvement the Vogelbach/Ruf combination has been at the DH position for the Mets. Plus, the man walked up to “Milkshake” on Wednesday. Does it get any better than that?
The Mets’ other trade deadline acquisition Tyler Naquin also continues to contribute positively, posting a 166 wRC+ this week. Naquin collected three hits in 14 plate appearances this week and all of them were extra base hits. In the Mets’ slugfest on Wednesday, Naquin went 2-for-4 with a home run, a double, and two runs scored. Overall, he drove in three runs this week. He also drew one walk.
Unfortunately, the Mets continue to not get very much offensively from their catching tandem. James McCann collected three hits—all singles—in 12 plate appearances this week. He scored a run, drove in a run, and also stole a base (!). Tomás Nido notched just two hits in ten plate appearances and scored a run. If the rest of the lineup continues to hit as it has, this doesn’t matter all that much. But it becomes more glaring on days when the offense struggles and could become more of an issue this week if some regulars have to miss time due to injury.