Alonso and McNeil are wreaking havoc
As a result of the Mets unexpectedly poor pitching performance to begin the season, the team has had to rely on the offense of their young players and they’ve delivered. The right and left-handed hitting combo of first baseman Pete Alonso and left fielder Jeff McNeil are leading the way.
Pete Alonso the 24-year old right-handed hitting first baseman has placed himself firmly at the top of the Rookie of the Year race. Slashing .306/.398/.867 with 9 home runs and 24 RBIs, the rookie has been everything Mets fans hoped he would be.
Having already accumulated a bWAR of 1.7, Alonso has feasted off left-handed pitching. In only 27 at-bats against southpaws he’s crushed 4 home runs and is slugging 1.043. Don’t anticipate seeing the Reds left-handed bullpen triumvirate of Amir Garrett, Wandy Peralta and Zach Duke going anywhere near the mound with Alonso in the batters box.
Since joining the Mets last year, all Jeff McNeil has done is hit. McNeil’s an easy guy to root for. A former 12th round draft pick, McNeil did not make his major league debut until age 26. This year he is hitting .355 with a .434 on-base percentage.
Amazingly, McNeil has also feasted on left-handed pitching this year. Heading into play Sunday, in 15 at-bats, he’s collected 8 hits. Reds manager David Bell should think twice before bringing in a lefty to face O’Neil.
While the starting rotation has struggled, new Mets closer Edwin Diaz has been living up to expectations. Acquired in an off-season trade with the Seattle Mariners, the right-hander has saved 7 games and fanned 20 in only 10.2 innings.
Those are peak Aroldis Chapman-like numbers. The Cincinnati Reds have never faced Diaz who throws a 97-MPH heater and 89-MPH slider. If the Mets have the lead headed to the 9th, the Reds will face a monumental task.