It was a very mixed bag for the Mets this week, who were swept by the lowly Cubs to start the week, but then turned around and swept the Pirates in a four-game series. The offense went missing in the Cubs series, failing to score more than three runs in any of the three games. The Mets went 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position over the course of the three games. But, the Mets beat the Pirates handily in three of the four games in the latter part of the week with the exception of Friday’s nail-biter. Standout performers include Daniel Vogelbach, who has broken out of his slump to give the Mets’ DH spot a boost, Tomás Nido, who stays hot, Pete Alonso, and Jeff McNeil. This week also saw Luis Guillorme return from the injured list, but Starling Marte remains sidelined.
The Braves’ week went much like the Mets’ week, as Atlanta dropped two out of three in San Francisco before sweeping the Phillies over the weekend in a three-game set. Thus, the Mets maintain a skinny one-game lead over Atlanta with 14 games left to play—three of which are of course against the Braves.
We’ll start with Daniel Vogelbach who had been slumping big time after an initial hot start with the Mets, but he absolutely feasted against his former team, putting up a 256 wRC+ over 20 plate appearances this week. His six RBIs this week are tied for the team lead. He also shares the team lead in walks with seven. Vogelbach had especially big days back-to-back on Thursday and Friday. He was responsible for driving in three of the Mets’ seven runs on Thursday, going 2-for-2 with a double. And on Friday, he walked twice and hit a solo homer in the Mets’ narrow victory.
Pete Alonso shares the team lead with Vogelbach in RBIs with six of his own this week. Alonso hit two home runs this week, unfortunately both in losses—one solo shot in the ninth inning to break up the shutout on Tuesday and another solo shot on Wednesday in the eighth inning to help the Mets move closer, but ultimately to no avail. But he kept his hot streak going in Thursday’s win, sharing the spotlight on the position player side with Vogelbach by going 2-for-3 with a walk, a hit by pitch, an RBI, and a run scored. Alonso was also hit by a pitch in yesterday’s game, which caused frustrations to bubble over a bit in a week and a season where the Mets continue to get hit by more pitches than anyone else. Overall, Alonso collected six hits—half of which went for extra bases—and four walks in 31 plate appearances, which is good for a 156 wRC+. He scored five runs and even stole a base in yesterday’s game. Alonso’s 115 RBIs lead the National League.
Brandon Nimmo also stole a base this week and matches Vogelbach’s walk total with seven to tie for the team lead. So, despite the fact that Nimmo hit just .208 this week, his on-base percentage was .406. He scored five runs, which is a three-way tie for the team lead, and drove in three runs—the most important of which was yesterday’s bloop single that drove in the go-ahead run. This all balances out to a solid, but unremarkable 106 wRC+ over 32 plate appearances this week, which is decidedly Fine, but a far cry from his very hot week last week.
Eduardo Escobar is also still doing well, but understandably has cooled off a bit from his unsustainable blistering pace from last week. He is the third player along with Alonso and Nimmo to have scored five runs this week. He put up a 111 wRC+ in 28 plate appearances this week. He collected six hits, the biggest of which was his three-run homer that got the Mets on the board in Saturday’s win. He went 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored that night overall. Previously in a platoon with Luis Guillorme prior to Guillorme’s injury, Escobar continues to play every day even after Guillorme’s return.
Luis Guillorme is back in the Mets lineup, which has provided them with crucial flexibility to shift Jeff McNeil to the outfield when needed to make up for Starling Marte’s continued absence. Guillorme has not hit much since returning, posting a 79 wRC+ in 18 plate appearances this week. He collected four hits (all singles), walked twice, and scored a run. But his defense and versatility continues to be as valuable as ever. When Guillorme was activated from the injured list, utility infielder Deven Marrero was designated for assignment.
Jeff McNeil had yet another strong week this week—both with the bat and with the glove. On Friday night, McNeil robbed O’Neil Cruz of what would have been a go-ahead homer (or at least a double off the wall) to help preserve that victory. With the bat, he posted a 152 wRC+ over 32 plate appearances. His seven hits this week are second-most on the team. He scored three runs and drove in two runs this week. But perhaps what stands out most is that McNeil also uncharacteristically walked five times this week. Part of that can be chalked up to a Pirates pitching staff that was seemingly walking the entire ballpark, but it’s still nice to see McNeil drawing walks while still getting his hits. McNeil’s .320 batting average is currently third in baseball—just two points behind Paul Goldschmidt and eleven points behind Freddie Freeman.
The team leader in hits this week is Francisco Lindor, who also had his second good week in a row. Six of those eight hits were singles and he also walked twice—good for a 124 wRC+. Both of his extra base hits this week were home runs—one in the ninth inning of Monday’s loss and a two-run shot in the series opener against the Pirates on Thursday. Those home runs also account for all of his RBIs for the week (3); Lindor’s one shortcoming this week is that he did not fare well with runners in scoring position, getting just one hit in seven plate appearances with RISP. Lindor also scored two runs and stole a base this week.
Mark Canha struggled this week, posting a decidedly bad 43 wRC+ over 25 plate appearances. He collected just three hits this week—all singles—and walked twice. He scored a run and stole a base, but did not drive in any runs this week. He is a player that could benefit from some days off once Marte returns to the lineup.
Tomás Nido has stayed hot this week, however. After not hitting any home runs all season long, this is the second week in a row he has homered. In fact, his homers came in back-to-back starts for him; last week’s on September 11 and this week’s in Wednesday’s loss. Overall, Nido reached base in half of his 10 plate appearances this week, scoring two runs and driving in two runs.
James McCann, unfortunately, did not stay hot. In fact, he managed the rare fireball-to-poop emoji progression this week, putting up a dismal -35 wRC+ in 15 plate appearances this week. McCann notched just one hit and one walk this week. That one hit was an RBI hit in Monday’s loss. His walk in Thursday’s win resulted in a run scored.
Tyler Naquin also had a sharp drop-off from his hot week last week, collecting just two hits and a run scored in twelve plate appearances this week. He will continue to see some playing time while Starling Marte’s fractured finger heals, but less so now that Guillorme is back in the lineup and Jeff McNeil can play some outfield.
The struggling Darin Ruf had just three plate appearances this week, but he did finally claw himself out of the abyss with a hit in Wednesday’s game. He has seen his already limited playing time cut into by Mark Vientos, who is unfortunately not faring any better and has looked overmatched so far in the big leagues. But, Vientos did collect his first major league hit and RBI in Thursday’s game, which account for his only production this week in 10 plate appearances.
Terrance Gore did not have any plate appearances this week, which would usually result in no grade on the meter, but I’m granting him an up arrow for two stolen bases this week, the latter of which ultimately resulted in him crossing home plate with the go-ahead run in the eighth inning yesterday. The pinch running, stolen base extraordinaire may very well play his way into a spot on the postseason roster, as his unique (albeit limited) skillset is particularly beneficial in the playoffs.