Peter Alonso

Astros Different Class Than Mets

The New York Mets played the Houston Astros four times over the past week, and it just didn’t go well for the Mets. Not only did the Astros sweep all four games, but they also dominated them.

As Mets fans, we can lie to ourselves. We can say it’ll be different when the Mets have Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer. Truth is, that might not be sufficient.

We saw that with Taijuan Walkers start. He was again brilliant shutting the Astros out over 7.1 innings. Edwin Diaz finished that inning, but Drew Smith couldn’t keep it scoreless allowing a two run homer to Jason Castro.

Even with the homer from the backup catcher hitting .095, it was just two runs. When your pitchers all two runs, that’s a winnable game. When you’re at home, you need to win those games.

The excuse will be it was Justin Verlander. Fine, he’s a future Hall of Famer, and he leads the AL in wins. He was great. However, that doesn’t explain one run scored over two games and six over four games against the Astros.

Come up with your reasons. Once you cycle through them, there’s one simple answer – the Astros are just better. That’s a big problem.

If the Mets want to win a World Series, the Astros are a potential roadblock. If not them, the New York Yankees, who are having a historically great season.

Before that, there’s the defending World Series champion Atlanta Braves, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and really, the seeming randomness of the postseason.

For the Mets, they need to admit their problems and find solutions. Really, they’re pretty obvious.

First and foremost, J.D. Davis is not a DH. They need to stop forcing it. Maybe the team gives Dominic Smith another look. Maybe they call-up Mark Vientos.

Whatever the Mets decide, they can’t play Davis anymore. He’s been a disaster. Sure, people will run to say the same about Smith, but whatever. Point is, DH is a black hole for the Mets.

This alludes to another issue. With Francisco Lindor struggling again (potentially due to the broken finger), Pete Alonso is the ONLY power threat.

The Mets need to try to give someone a look there before they can make a trade. While we’re on that subject, Chasen Shreve can’t pitch for this team again.

Shreve hasn’t performed for two months now, and he’s getting worse. The Mets need to find his replacement ASAP. While they’re at it, it couldn’t hurt to add another reliever for the late innings.

There’s some other areas to address. However, Jeff McNeil’s versatility and Luis Guillorme’s glove answers many of those problems.

There’s more from there, but those potential problem areas may be overstated. Overall, we see against better pitching and fielding teams, the put the ball in plat approach fails. That’s been very true for the Mets.

None of this is an overreaction. The Mets are great and can win a World Series. However, that doesn’t change the facts. The Astros are in a different class than the Mets.

That’s with or without deGrom and Scherzer. Yes. deGrom and Scherzer can lead the Mets to a World Series. They can also lose due to the inability to score runs against good pitching and defense teams.

With each day, the Mets issues become more apparent. Fortunately, there’s still time to address them. Hopefully, the Mets admit them now and become incredibly pro-active.

Mets Fans All Star Voting Has Been Ridiculous

As a fanbase, you really have to wonder what is going on with New York Mets fans. They are showing up for many of their players, and the vote totals are reflecting that, but they are not showing up for all of them. On that point, here is how the Mets players are faring in the All-Star voting with their National League rank in WAR:

By WAR, Nimmo has been the Mets best player this season. By WAR, he trails only Mookie Betts among all of National League outfielders. However, despite that, he’s not only the lowest ranked of all the Mets outfielders on the All-Star ballot.

Yes, other fanbases vote and look to make their voices heard. That is to be expected. Certainly, there is a measure of popularity in the voting. That is exactly why the voting for Nimmo is so problematic.

Look at the Mets players again. With the exception of McNeil and Nimmo, each one of the Mets players vote ranking outpaces where they are in WAR. For McNeil, it actually matches where he ranks. However, for Nimmo, he is lagging, and he’s unjustifiably far off from where he ranks among National League outfielders.

It’s hard to see this as anything other than a popularity contest. After all, Davis is in the top five in DH voting. This is a player who ranks 21st in WAR among designated hitters. It is worse when you consider he trails Dominic Smith in WAR, and Smith was demoted to Triple-A Syracuse for a stretch. Realistically speaking, it’s hard to fathom how Davis is getting any votes.

For that matter, Escobar ranks fifth, and he has not been good since April. More to the point, you get the sense Mets fans are unfortunately starting to turn on him.

It’s more difficult to fathom why Nimmo isn’t getting any votes. He’s the best player on the team this season. He’s been great atop the lineup and in center field this season. He’s been better than any other position player on this team, and that includes Alonso, who is the player getting MVP talk from the fans.

Overall, Nimmo should not only be an All-Star, he should be a starter. He is the Mets best player, and he has undoubtedly been one of the best outfielders in the National League this season. There may not be enough time left, but Mets fans have to be better than this and step up for him.

 

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Toss Out Rotten Fish

From the rumors, the New York Mets are being threatened for National League East supremacy, but then again the Mets dispatched with another opponent. This time it was the Miami Marlins.

1.  It might’ve been Father’s Day Weekend, but Francisco Lindor proved it’s always Mother’s Day. His mom came to the game on Friday, and he hit his first of two homers in the series. After breaking his finger, he seemed understandably off, but this weekend, we saw the real Lindor again.

2.  Taijuan Walker has pitched like an ace since Max Scherzer went down. Over his last six starts,  he’s averaging 6.0 starts with an increasing strikeout rate. This could be one of the best two year deals in Mets history.

3.  The Mets DH situation was a disaster before J.D. Davis got hit on the hand. That could effectively end his season (it did last year), which is going to rob the Mets of a right-handed bat off the bench. And before people start, he wasn’t hitting for power before this hand injury.

4.  It seems the DH spot will now fall to Dominic Smith, who faltered earlier, and/or Daniel Palka, who hasn’t played in the majors since 2019. With respect to Smith, the only hope is he begins hitting again with regular at-bats.

5.  While Mark Vientos continues to be the best possible DH option, from a purely crazy standpoint, you do wonder if Michael Conforto would be available on a minor league deal. After all, Scott Boras has hinted Conforto may be able to hit this season. It would seem a mutually beneficial arrangement even if there’s a 99% chance Conforto doesn’t play this year.

6.  The biggest concern right now is Jeff McNeil‘s hamstring. As Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez pointed out, he tried to play through a similar injury last year and struggled. Hernandez also noted the flight to Houston won’t help matters. Ideally, the Mets can give him a day or two to get healthy.

7.  David Peterson had a much needed good start. That was much needed for him and for the Mets.

8.  The fact Seth Lugo was pitching after his two year old just had surgery and his wife is expecting any day now is just remarkable. Given that context and how great he has been as a Met, we can afford him one bad pitch before freaking out.

9.  Where is it written in stone the Marlins play their very best against the Mets at all times?

10.  Chris Bassitt had a strong start but hit a bump. He is still a part of the solution this season and in the ensuing years.

11. Sandy Alcantara is just that good, and the Marlins have him effectively locked up until 2027. That would be very bad news for the Mets except you know the Marlins will get rid of him well before that.

12. The cavalry seems to be on their way with reports Scherzer could be a week away and James McCann on a rehab assignment.

13. The Mets have effectively shelved Patrick Mazeika, and you have to wonder just how much longer he will be a Met. With every homer from Francisco Alvarez, the chances of his getting designated for assignment increase exponentially because next time there is an injury, Alvarez may very well be called up to stay.

14. The Mets continue to do Josh Lewin dirty. First, he’s replaced by an inexperienced and poor announcer, and then, his podcast is replaced with amateur hour. He and Mets fans deserve much better.

15. Drew Smith is back to being Drew Smith, and as a result, the Mets bullpen is again a strength. That goes double with Adam Ottavino pitching well.

16. Very quietly, Starling Marte keeps getting better and better all season.

17. It’s obvious why we’re not talking about it much, but Pete Alonso‘s defense has really regressed. With the Mets DH options being what they are, you could move Alonso there, but the Mets obviously don’t want to interrupt his Silver Slugger caliber season.

18. Luis Guillorme is just a guy who gets on base and plays great defense. If the Mets cared about that in the past, perhaps they make the postseason prior to this year.

19. On this date last year, the Mets had a 5.5 lead game on the Atlanta Braves. The key differences is that Mets team had a +20 run differential, and this one has a +72. The other key difference is that team lost deGrom, and this one will be getting him back. These are not remotely the same seasons.

20. Interesting to think about, but this upcoming series against the Houston Astros might actually be a World Series preview.

Mets Have A DH Problem

So much for that J.D. Davis hot streak. Just as it seemed like he was going to run away with the DH job, the New York Mets sat him against good Milwaukee Brewers starting pitching, and he is currently in a five games stretch where he is 3-for-13 (.231) with zero extra base hits over his last five games.

Again, looking at the season as a whole, he’s at a 108 wRC+, 1.87 GB/FB, and he rates among the worst players in the majors in Whiff%. In total, he swings and misses a lot, he’s hitting for no power, and the Mets believe they need to shield him from good pitching. All told, this cannot be your DH.

It’s not just a Davis problem. Lately, the Mets have gone with Nick Plummer as the left-handed compliment to Davis. As bad as Davis has been, Plummer has been worse as he’s mired in an 0-for-20 streak.

We have seen Eduardo Escobar DH often this season. Well, he was recently dealing with medical issues, and he’s in his own 0-for-18 streak.

Overall, when you look at the DH position, the Mets as a team have a 83 wRC+. In every way, shape, and form, this is completely unacceptable. A position whose only responsibility is to hit is below average at the plate. It’s just insane.

Yes, there’s also some Robinson Cano in there and some of Dominic Smith‘s troubles. That all said, the Mets DH position still has players who just do not hit enough to justify playing at the position on a daily basis.

Now, you could argue Pete Alonso should DH, especially with his defense slipping entirely. Really, he has been the worst he’s been in his career. However, making that move is a double edged sword because Alonso has been completely locked-in at the plate, and the Mets can ill afford to lose that in the lineup.

This is honestly where Smith was supposed to help. When he wasn’t playing, he could be late inning defense and a credible bat in the lineup in the event of a disaster. He’s hitting in Syracuse (111 wRC+), but short of having a spot to play everyday, the Mets may be ill advised to call him up to languish on the bench again.

So again, what is there to do?

You can call-up Smith to see if he can grab the job again, but he may not be hitting enough yet to do it. You can roll with Davis despite all of his faults and Mets justifiable unwillingness to play him against good pitching. They could give Escobar an extended look, but he can’t hit now, and forget about Plummer.

Maybe Michael Conforto becomes available. As Scott Boras has said Conforto may not be able to play the field this year, but he might be able to hit. It may be worth a minor league deal for the end of the season to see if he can get back to being Conforto. Then again, for many reasons, this ship has probably sailed.

All told, it seems as if Mark Vientos remains the best option for now. If he falters, well, then maybe the Mets return to Smith again (assuming you don’t forever lose him calling up Vientos over him), or they made a trade deadline move. Whatever the case, they can’t keep doing this. Sooner or later, the Mets need to do something.

Mark Vientos Emerging As Mets Best DH Option

The New York Mets screwed up their DH position entering the season. Largely due to his contract, Robinson Cano was given the first crack, and he failed miserably. It led to his release, and notably, he’s now playing for the San Diego Padres Triple-A affiliate.

While the Mets were trying to get Cano going, Dominic Smith faltered. With the lack of at-bats, he never got going, and eventually, he was sent down to Triple-A.. He’s hitting now, but his doubters will use this to call him a Four-A player.

This has led to J.D. Davis “winning” the DH job, but not really. Since Smith was demoted, Davis has a 142 wRC+, but there are caveats there. That comes with a .423 BABIP, 1.11 GB/FB, softer than usual contact for him, and a 26.2% strikeout rate. This looks more like a hot streak than true talent level.

Per Baseball Savant, Davis’ Whiff% and K% is among the worst in baseball. He’s also been a poor base runner. Despite the exit velocities, he still only has two homers, and the Mets very noticeably did not start Davis at DH against the pitching rich Milwaukee Brewers. All told, it does seem the Mets are not sold with Davis as the permanent DH.

That could open the door for someone else, and noticeably, Mark Vientos is red-hot in Triple-A.

So far, Vientos has followed his professional career path. He was terrible over the first month of the season only to post a 1.050 OPS in May. He has followed that with a 1.264 OPS in June. This is no fluke. Vientos did the same exact thing in Double-A last season posting a 1.182 OPS and 1.008 OPS over the second and third months of the season last year.

Once Vientos turns it on, he’s locked in for the rest of the season. Right now, he is in one of his better stretches. He has a six game hitting streak with three multi-hit games. He has homered four times over his last three games, and he is hitting .285/.467/.846 over this stretch.

What you see with Vientos is as the season progresses, he proceeds to drive the ball more and get the ball in the air more. At the lower levels of the minors, he was a predominantly pull side hitter, but as time as progressed he has hit for power to all fields. He’s also developed much better pitch recognition skills, and he’s walking at his highest rate in full season affiliate minor league baseball.

That’s not to say there aren’t risks. Vientos still does strike out at a very high clip. So far this season, he’s at a career worst 31.6%, and there is justifiable concern that will worsen against Major League pitching. While he’s had a 1.103 OPS since May 1, he also has a 32.7% strike out rate. He has walked 9.9% of the time over this stretch.

Of course, Vientos does not have the same benefits as Major Leaguers do down in Triple-A. The Mets have more and better analytical data at their disposal with a coaching staff adept at disseminating the information. This has helped the Mets have the fourth best strikeout rate in the majors. That’s even with Davis having one of the worst.

Right now, the Mets are in an interesting spot. They don’t have any players they like to DH everyday. Their offense is taking a hit with Francisco Lindor‘s broken finger, and it is likely to take another hit with Starling Marte getting hit on the forearm. They seem to like Davis but not against good pitching. More than that, aside from Pete Alonso this is a team without another real power threat at the moment.

This could lead to the Mets looking to trade for a DH at the trade deadline, and Steve Cohen has said he will spend to do it. However, before it gets to that point, it would behoove the Mets to take a look at Vientos. He is flat out mashing in Syracuse, and if his minor league history is any indicator, he will mash the rest of the season.

Vientos is earning the call-up, is on the 40 man roster, and he fills a need for the Mets. It is time to give him a chance. If nothing else, the Mets will know just how much DH is a real trade deadline issue.

Pete Alonso Is True Test Of Mets Fans Greatness

It is readily apparent from a position player standpoint Pete Alonso is Mets fans favorite player. After all, he’s been talked about as a future captain and MVP even if those monikers never really quite fit. It doesn’t matter because he’s adored.

And for very good reason. Alonso has set records, started the LFGM thing, had epic Home Run Derby performances, and has donated portions of his winnings to charities helping veterans. All of the love thrown his way has been more than warranted.

The thing is we’re really about to find out how much Mets fans truly love Alonso.

There was a time being a star or superstar on the Mets meant you were starting the All-Star Game. That was the case in the 1980s with Darryl Strawberry. We saw it again with Mike Piazza and then with Carlos Beltran. Keep in mind, with Beltran, he wasn’t all that beloved, and yet, he was voted a starter in 2005 even when he had his worst year in Flushing leading to the booing.

Things changed a little after that. David Wright never really got the same benefit. In fact, back in 2012, Pablo Sandoval was voted the All-Star Game starter over Wright. Yes, Wright was a deserving All-Star that year, but he would not start.

In fact, Wright only started five All-Star Games, The last one in 2013 took a massive push to get Wright elected in the year Citi Field hosted the All-Star Game. This was at a time when Wright was a superstar playing in the largest market in the world.

There are different reasons why Wright didn’t get the same benefit other Mets did. For starters, the internet ballots changed nearly everything. It really negated the advantage larger markets had in having fans flood the park and voting for their favorites.

Another important factor is the Wilpons and the Madoff Scandal was a massive blow to Mets fans. There was a general depression among the Mets fans, and the earliest dimensions of Citi Field did not help. Getting excited for anything Mets was very difficult to do until Matt Harvey‘s Major League debut. Yes, that had a large part of Wright’s boost in the voting that year.

Keep in mind, Mets fans adored Wright. We did see that in his starting five games, but he should’ve started more. Really, in another day and time, Wright would’ve started more. To a large extent, blame the Wilpons for that.

However, now, we have Steve Cohen. We have an owner who will actually do all he can to make the Mets the best they can be. In many ways, this is like when Nelson Doubleday purchased the Mets in 1980. There is a trust in ownership and palpable excitment among the fanbase.

That should translate to All-Star voting.

Yes, Paul Goldschmidt is having a better year. You can say the same for Freddie Freeman in Los Angeles. Seeing that, you can argue Alonso may need the push from Mets fans to be named the deserving All-Star he is. He should be voted as a starter by this fanbase.

Failing to do so wouldn’t be a failure of the fans at all. Rather, it is just be a dose of reality that Mets fans don’t carry the power they once did. There are many reasons for that, but it would seem like they love of Alonso is there for this fanbase to flex their muscles (while also using them to vote Francisco Lindor, Jeff McNeil, and Brandon Nimmo) as starters.

Steve Cohen has brought the Mets back to where they should be. Mets fans now need to be back to who they are. They need to make Alonso the starting first baseman for the All-Star Game.

 

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Ran Out of Gas

The New York Mets followed an inspired series split against the Los Angeles Dodgers with a less than inspiring performance against the San Diego Padres. To be fair, there are some caveats to this performance:

1.  The Mets played their 30th game in 30 days. Over that span, they had two west coast trips with no scheduled travel day prior to their trip out west. Overall, this team is exhausted, and when that happens, you are going to see what we saw.

2.  What’s impressive is the Mets actually grew their lead from 7.0 to 8.0 games over this stretch. Keep that in mind when they finally get some days off with a chance to rest and play at their peak level.

3.  The Mets won the only game of this series they did because Carlos Carrasco was great again. He stepped up big time saving the bullpen, and he helped secure the Mets only win in the series.

4.  Chris Bassitt has really struggled since James McCann hit the IL with his start in the series finale being the worst start of them all. There are many reasons why this is happening, but one overlooked one is he has really struggled pitching to Tomas Nido. He is just a different pitcher on the mound with Nido back there.

5.  It was great to see Jeff McNeil off the snide. After that recent slump, he was back to being himself at the plate. As noted by Keith Hernandez, McNeil never brings his slumps into the field which is another reason why you have to love him as a player.

6. Speaking of Keith, he was just overly kind to J.D. Davis about his play at first. He was making excuses for Davis dropping balls that where in his mitt and making poor throws. We gets it’s a difficult thing to do on the fly, but Keith went way out of his way to excuse a poor performance.

7.  Speaking of poor performance, Davis has been bad. On this west coast trip, he is 4-for-18 (.222). When it was between him and Dominic Smith, you understood choosing Davis because he was a right-handed bat on the bench. However, now, they need Smith because it appears they will need someone who can play first everyday.

8.  MetsWes put it best with Pete Alonso when he said, “Pete Alonso walked away from an awful car crash and been hit in the head and was fine. You think a little [Yu Darvish] “fastball” is going to break a bone? Tongue-in-cheek for sure, but it does speak to how much Alonso has dealt with this season.

9.  Starling Marte had quietly been one of the Mets best players for a few weeks now. They’re going to miss him in the lineup, and in many ways, they will miss his fire.

10. This is Nick Plummer‘s big opportunity to prove he can be a Major Leaguer. He started by going 0-for-3, but he did hit the ball hard. If he has a big stretch, the Mets would be hard pressed to send him back down to the minors again.

11. With Alonso and Marte down, you can understand the Mets scoring just two runs over the final two games. Of course, the Padres pitching had a lot to do with that as well.

12. In addition to the injuries, Luis Guillorme and Francisco Lindor chose the wrong time to go into slumps. More than ever, the Mets need them to start hitting again.

13. Eduardo Escobar is heating up at the right time, and as noted several times here, he is a player who breaks out in June. He became the first player to hit a cycle at Safeco, and the is the first player in Major League history to get his cycle after hitting a homer and triple over the final two innings.

14. Mark Vientos chose the wrong time to get injured. It is very possible he could’ve gotten his chance now with his hot hitting and the Mets recent injuries leaving them looking for offense.

15. Brandon Nimmo is obviously still dealing with his wrist. You can see it when he swings. Frankly, he won’t be put on the IL now because of the other injuries and the fact he provides offense with his ability to draw walks.

16. The Mets batters get plunked more than anyone because it is their approach. Really, do we think anyone is throwing at someone like Mark Canha? Of course not. This is a design of where they are positioned in the box and their approach at the plate. That said, retaliation every so often is merited especially with Sean Manaea buzzing Guillorme by the head multiple times.

17. In case you haven’t heard from Mets fans starting to panic, the Mets have the largest division lead in the National League and are tied for the second largest division lead in all of baseball. There’s absolutely no need to panic. This team is great and will be fine.

18. The impending matchup with Noah Syndergaard is going to garner a lot of attention. With respect to Syndergaard, he went to the Los Angeles Angels for more money and this front office and pitching staff. The Joe Maddon firing was a sign he might’ve been duped.

19. The Mets are catching the Angels at exactly the right time. They’ve lost 14 straight, and Mike Trout is hurt. They got a much needed day off. There is no excuse for not taking at least two out of three.

20. In some ways, the Mets need for the New York Rangers to win this series. They need the Rangers to have some buzz to keep some of the unnecessary heat off of the team at a time when they are tired and hurt. Mostly, I need the Rangers to win the series. so yes, I am selfishly saying this.

 

Mets Lose Game But More Importantly Marte And Alonso

The New York Mets are going to lose games, and they are especially going to lose games where the starting pitcher is great. That was the case with Yu Darvish, who had no-hit stuff. Mark Canha got a hit in the sixth, and it was one of two total from the Mets, so there’s that.

Really, at the end of the day, no one should care about losing this game. It’s going to happen. It will happen many times this season. That said, there was something very troubling during that game.

Both Starling Marte and Pete Alonso left the game with injury.

Marte seemed to injure his leg on a stolen base attempt. First, he was thrown out, and then after he tried to give it a go, he was out of the game. Later in the game, Alonso was hit on the hand with a pitch, and he had trouble with his grip

Both had imaging, and the early results were negative. While initial good news, we have seen through the years how quads and hand injuries can linger. That is even if subsequent MRIs prove to be negative.

Now, we can argue the Mets could handle the absence of either for a prolonged period of time. After all, the Mets are in first place without Jacob deGrom throwing a pitch, and they are 13-6 (.684) with both deGrom and Scherzer out of the rotation. Keep in mind, Tylor Megill was also out of the rotation.

Certainly, the Mets could navigate losing Marte even with how good he has been. Jeff McNeil can shift to left with Canha going to right. Of course, this is dependent on Luis Guillorme playing like an everyday player, which he has even with his latest slump. The Mets also have the option of playing Nick Plummer everyday in right, which he has showed he may be capable of doing right now.

With Alonso is where things get dicey. You could shift Canha to first with McNeil and Plummer in the outfield, but Canha isn’t ready to play first everyday. As noted by Buck Showalter, J.D. Davis neither has the footwork nor the instincts, but he sure has the arm. Considering that was the Mets failed talking point about Davis playing left and third, that’s an indication Davis can’t handle the position long term.

In many times, that means the balance of the season could rest with Dominic Smith.

On the bright side, Smith has responded well to the demotion going 4-for-14 with a double, homer, and three RBI over three games. If he can carry that forward, the Mets are not going to miss a beat. There are a few caveats there.

First and foremost, the Mets have to want to bring him back up to take over at first. The team really hasn’t shown a willingness to do that even when Smith had his good moments this season. They seem more comfortable giving Davis a run because we are all pretending his hot streak of hitting .286/.360/.381 over seven games means he can justify playing first or DH.

The other caveat here is Smith has to do it. He just hasn’t this year. For him, it is very possible the Mets are going to desperately need him to do it now. In reality, Smith desperately needs to as well because if he doesn’t, it just may mean the end of his Mets career.

So, in the end, this 7-0 loss went from bad loss to existential crisis. We’ll see if this moves to panic as the MRI results come back.

Eduardo Escobar Cycles Mets To Victory

If you were an analyst or New York Mets fan who thought the team had something to prove on this west coast trip, you have to find yourself feeling awful silly. After all, they split with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and now they took the opener of the series against the San Diego Padres.

That’s not to say everything was perfect for the Mets. They had some short starts, and their bullpen has been getting taxed as a result. That means they desperately needed length from Carlos Carrasco. Carrasco would deliver.

Arguably, it was the best performance by Carrasco as a member of the Mets. He pitched 7.0 innings, which was the second most innings he’s thrown in a start, and he struck out a season high 10 batters. He did that while getting the key outs he needed in the big spots.

Entering the bottom of the third, the Mets were up 3-0 largely because Blake Snell could not find the strike zone early on. After Starling Marte stole second with two outs, Snell would walk three consecutive to force in a run, then Eduardo Escobar hit a two RBI single giving the Mets a 3-0 lead. It was not the last time we would hear from him.

As alluded to above, Carrasco got into trouble in the third. It started with a Jorge Alfaro lead-off double past a non-moving J.D. Davis, who got the surprise start at first. Alfaro scored on a Jurickson Profar RBI single. On the play, Mark Canha didn’t come close to getting Alfaro. Tomas Nido read it perfectly, and he came up firing to first to pick off Profar. With that, the rally was stymied to just one run.

The Mets began tacking on runs from there.

In the fourth, Escobar continued his hot hitting with a lead-off single, and he would eventually score on a Brandon Nimmo RBI single. In the fifth, Alonso reached on a Manny Machado error, and he moved to third on a Canha two out double before scoring on a sacrifice fly.

To their credit, the Padres just didn’t go away. In the seventh, Nomar Mazara hit a two out double scoring Ha-Seong Kim from first. Carrasco got out of the inning and ended his night by striking Alfaro.

The Mets would extend their lead in the eighth. Again, it was courtesy of Escobar, who would hit a two run homer to extend the Mets lead to 7-2:

As noted, the Padres wouldn’t go away. In the bottom of the eighth, they went to work against Joely Rodriguez. If you wanted, you could question Buck Showalter going to him, but with a five run lead and a depleted bullpen, you go to Rodriguez in these spots. He allowed two on with one out before Showalter went to Drew Smith.

Smith would get Machado, but he would get tagged by Luke Voit for a three run homer. Suddenly, a 7-2 impending blowout was now a game in question. Well, it wouldn’t be for long.

You see while the Padres refused to go away, the Mets refused to keep this game close.

In his second inning of work, the Mets would rock Craig Stammen beginning with an opposite field one out single by Pete Alonso. After Canha singled, the Padres brought in Tim Hill. Hill would easily dispatch of Davis, but Escobar got a hold of one. Escobar didn’t hit it out of the park, but he would hit that deep right foot wall.

After it ricocheted off the wall, he would himself with a two out two RBI double. More than that, it was the triple he needed for the cycle. It was the first since Scott Hairston in 2012 and the 11th in team history.

The Mets weren’t actually done scoring. Jeff McNeil would double home Escobar. That would set the stage for Tomas Nido who is a monster with two outs and runners in scoring position. Tonight would be no different. As McNeil took off towards third, Nido shot the ball down the third base line driving home a run. With that single, it was 11-5.

That was once too much for the Padres, who didn’t have any fight left in the ninth. With the huge lead, Showalter opted for a second inning of Drew Smith instead of using Edwin Diaz. After the huge top of the ninth, it was no longer a save situation allowing the Mets to save him for another fight. Smith set the side down in order.

Even with the Padres giving everything they had, the Mets were just flat out better. If you wanted a litmus test to see how good the Mets are and can be, here it is.

20/20 Hindsight: Mets Split Dodgers

The New York Mets traveled to Los Angeles with a depleted pitching staff to face-off against the Dodgers. In the end, this was a split with people’s emotions going through the gamut.

1.  For those who panicked after the second game or wanted a litmus test, just stop. Regardless of how this trip goes, this is a very good Mets team who is a World Series front runner. This series only served to prove that.

2.  This was Buck Showalter‘s best managing of the season. Lifting David Peterson during an at-bat and using Edwin Diaz in the eighth inning against the Dodgers best hitters was inspired and absolutely the right call in each circumstance.

3.  Colin Holderman got his first career win, and Adonis Medina recorded his first career save. This team is just built different.

4.  The Mets might’ve lost Holderman if a Rule 5 Draft was held. Medina was obtained after he was designated from assignment by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Going deeper, Stephen Nogosek has an ERA under 1.00, and the Mets had previously designated him for assignment. Not enough is being talked about with how great Jeremy Hefner has been.

5.  Ron Darling was wrong. They’re not getting contributions from all 26 players. We’re hovering around 35+ right now.

6.  Pete Alonso just owns the Dodgers and destroys pitching at Dodger Stadium, so much so that he left Brusdar Graterol befuddled. Just name him the front runner for the NLCS MVP.

7.  Eduardo Escobar is coming out of his funk and starting his June hot streak on schedule. While the homer was great, that 10 pitch sacrifice fly was one of the team’s best at-bats all season.

8.  Tomas Nido might just be the best hitter in the majors with two outs and RISP. He is actually slashing .455/.500/.636 in those spots. Maybe someone can hypnotize him into thinking every plate appearance is two outs with RISP?

9.  How was no one ejected over that snafu where Dave Roberts tried to use Zach McKinstry against the rules? It was a complete and utter joke, and it further confirms CB Bucknor is a bad umpire.

10. Chris Bassitt is really struggling right now. He’s had a 6.35 ERA over his past four starts with opposing batters hitting .261/.327/.544 off of him with a dipping strikeout rate. The Mets need him now, and he’s faltering.

11. Jeff McNeil is struggling to the point Showalter pulled him from a game and gave him a breather. Hopefully, it’s just a blip because the Mets need him.

12. You can argue no Mets player has stepped up like Trevor Williams has this year. He’s gone from complete afterthought to pitching five strong innings against the best offense in baseball.

13. The Mets bullpen was underrated entering the season, and it is all the more so during the season. Case-in-point, this bullpen is undefeated in extra inning games.

14. While we all understand why Nick Plummer is up with this team right now, if the Mets see him as a real player going forward having him as a little used fourth outfielder is doing him a great disservice right now.

15. Luis Guillorme was bound to cool off. The hope is this is a blip and not a complete regression. As he’s never been truly given this chance, no one can definitely state either way even if all indications are he will be fine. Regardless of those struggles at the plate, his defense remains great.

16. At some point, you have to wonder if Brandon Nimmo needs to go on the IL to let his wrist heal. He is just not hitting at the moment.

17. After a small cold streak, Francisco Lindor is hitting and playing elite defense again. Also, he now has the highest WAR among MLB shortstops. It’s as if he’s a future Hall of Famer in the prime of his career.

18. Tylor Megill‘s rehab stint should not be rushed. Give him the time he needs as this is a marathon, not a sprint. When he’s ready, it looks like it’s Peterson who will need to be sent down.

19. The discovery the Mets are using the same pitching machine the San Francisco Giants used for their resurgence may have more of an impact on this team’s offense than anything Eric Chavez is credited with doing.

20. Let’s be honest here. The NL East race is over. It is now just about the Mets getting ready for the postseason.