Mets’ Pete Alonso keeps burying the post-Derby power drought myth

A few baseball players and personalities seem to believe that participating in a Home Run Derby can alter a batter’s swing for a certain period of time. The event is geared to generate power, so hitters will generally try to hit hard fly balls. However, that is a myth, and there isn’t enough evidence over the years that can actually be thought of as a general rule. And for New York Mets’ slugger Pete Alonso, the competition seems to have had the opposite effect: he has been a beast since the break.

The Mets have been able to keep occupying first place in the NL East division for eleven consecutive weeks, and it has been, in great part, thanks to Alonso’s recent contributions. He hit a two-run homer to tie Sunday’s game as the team narrowly edged the Toronto Blue Jays 5-4.

The blast was Alonso’s fifth in nine games since the Home Run Derby, a competition he won for the second consecutive time, took place.

“When Pete comes up in that situation, I’m beginning to expect a home run there,” his Mets’ teammate Jeff McNeil said to MLB.com.

The Mets’ slugger is bringing the power

After the All-Star break, Alonso is on fire, with hits in all nine games, the five homers, and 10 RBI. Eight of those have come in Mets’ wins.

“I don’t know if the Derby played a role in it,” manager Luis Rojas said, “but he’s definitely very confident right now.”

Recently, Alonso said he thinks he is not only the Mets’ top power guy, but he is also the best in MLB. He is doing everything he can to back those words.

 

“Pete is that guy, right?” Rojas said. “We have some guys that can hit some homers, but this is the guy that has the record for most homers hit by a rookie, and this is his second full season at the Major League level. So this is a guy that we expect to hit homers and lead the team in homers, probably. So when he hits one, you feel that’s your guy out there that can wipe up the bases.”

Re-Pete! Mets’ star defends his Home Run Derby crown with impressive performance

New York Mets’ slugger Pete Alonso put on a show on Monday night and won his second consecutive Home Run Derby after his triumph in 2019 (there wasn’t one in 2020 because of the pandemic).

The Mets first baseman defeated Baltimore Orioles’ slugger Trey Mancini and successfully defended his 2019 title. Only Ken Griffey Jr. (1998-99) and Yoenis Céspedes (2013-14) have been able to win the Derby in back to back years.

“I think I’m the best power hitter on the planet,” Alonso said to MLB.com. “Being able to showcase that and really put on a fun display for fans, it’s truly a dream come true for me. When I was younger, my parents actually let me stay up past my bedtime to watch this.”

The Mets’ slugger never doubted his victory

The Mets’ infielder has 17 homers in the season, which earned him the fifth seed among the eight contestants. But he bopped a whopping 35 home runs in the first round, the highest number in a round in the night, easily topping Salvador Perez’s 28.

“There was no point where I thought I was going to lose. Ever,” Alonso said. “When the seedings came out, teammates came up to me and said, ‘That’s disrespectful. You’re defending your title; what guy that’s defending their title is a fifth seed? Nobody. Aren’t you pissed about that?’ I said, ‘No. I’m going to win anyway. It doesn’t matter.’”

And he won. His title was never in doubt, and he hit home run after home run. For stretches, he didn’t miss a pitch. It was truly impressive.

Mets fans and baseball observers watched in awe how Alonso belted a 512-feet and a 514-feet dinger.

“As soon as I saw 35 up there, I’m like, ‘That’s untouchable,’” Alonso said. “That was the goal from every round. I knew if I faced Ohtani, I would have to do the same thing. My approach was I have to be the standard; I have to be the bar. I wanted to make the standard incredibly untouchable.”

Alonso defeated Juan Soto, who eliminated Shohei Ohtani in spectacular fashion, in the second round, before dispatching Mancini in the finals.

Mets’ slugger Pete Alonso ready to defend his crown in the 2021 Home Run Derby

New York Mets’ slugger Pete Alonso will try to defend his crown in the 2021 MLB Home Run Derby, which will be on Monday at Coors Field and will be part of the All-Star Game festivities after a one-year hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The action will start tonight at 8 pm, ET, and eight of the best and most feared power hitters in the game will take some hacks to see who is the most powerful of all. Alonso won the 2019 edition, so that makes him the defending champion.

The Mets’ slugger didn’t hesitate to participate one more time in a competition that is made for him and his powerful right-handed swing.

The rest of the participants are as follows: the Texas Rangers’ Joey Gallo, the Baltimore Orioles’ Trey Mancini, the Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani, the Oakland A’s Matt Olson, the Kansas City Royals’ Salvador Perez, the Washington Nationals’ Juan Soto and the Colorado Rockies’ Trevor Story.

Mets’ fans are eager to see their slugger put on a show tonight

While every participant has enough power to win the event, it’s clear that most fans are eager to see what Ohtani can do in the Derby, and we could be in for a historic night.

Alonso, who represented the Mets in 2019, has 17 home runs in 2021, with the longest one traveling 443 feet. The hardest-hit home run of Alonso’s season came on April 21 against the Chicago Cubs, a 115.4-mph screamer that sounded like a gunshot as it left the bat.

Alonso launched 57 total homers (fourth most in a Derby), including 20 in a semifinal victory over Ronald Acuña Jr. and 23 in the final showdown with Vladimir Guerrero Jr., two years ago.

 

If he wins tonight, he will join Ken Griffey Jr. (1994, ‘98-99), Yoenis Céspedes (2013-14) and Prince Fielder (2009, 2012) as the only multiple-time Derby champions.

Mets Three Run Seventh Inning Chases Woodruff in 4-2 Win

The Milwaukee Brewers were one of the hottest teams in baseball and came in winning 11 out of their last 12 games. Meanwhile, the newly healthy New York Mets came off a good weekend in the Bronx and rode the momentum to beat another tough pitcher. After getting shut down for six innings by Brandon Woodruff, the Mets put up three in the seventh inning for a 4-2 victory.

In those first six innings, Woodruff showed why he deserved his All-Star selection. He held the Mets to just one run on one hit and had a very low pitch count. In the seventh, Francisco Lindor battled through a walk then the rest of the order continued their aggressive attack early in the count. The next four batters saw just seven pitches but manufactured three runs.

Dominic Smith moved Lindor to third with a single, and Pete Alonso‘s double drove them both in to make it a 3-1 game. After Jeff McNeil‘s ground out moved Alonso to third, Michael Conforto drove him in with a single. The early attack was the same tactics they used against the New York Yankees, and it paid off against a strike-thrower like Woodruff. Brandon Nimmo continued to be a sparkplug at the top of the order with two more hits and is 7-for-16 since coming off the IL.

Megill Is Here To Stay

Tylor Megill impressed for a third consecutive start as he adjusts to the big leagues. He pitched a gritty five innings, allowing two hits, striking out seven, and his only blemish came on Omar Narvaez‘s solo-home run. Megill has the stuff to pitch in the big leagues, but his biggest improvement will come in his ability to limit his pitch count. He needed 92 pitches to get through his start, but otherwise, Megill has given the Mets everything they could have hoped.

Aaron Loup, Seth Lugo, and Trevor May combined for three shutout innings to bridge the gap to Edwin Diaz. He bent but did not break after allowing a run and the first three runners to get on base. Diaz rebounded and retired the last three guys he faced to pick up his 18th save of the season.

With the Atlanta Braves losing, the Mets NL East lead will be either 4 or 4.5 games depending on the Washington Nationals’ outcome. Brett Anderson will face Jacob deGrom in game two of their series, which is another 7:10 p.m. ET start from Citi Field.

Six-Run Seventh Inning Propels Mets to 10-5 Win Over Yankees

The New York Mets offense was dead in the water heading into Yankee Stadium, but New York Yankees pitching has revived them. Their overpriced combination of Gerrit Cole and Aroldis Chapman struggled mightily once again as the Mets pulled off a gutsy 10-5 win.

The Mets should also thank Yankees manager Aaron Boone for pulling Chad Green after just two pitches for Chapman. He ended up allowing a leadoff home run on a questionable slider after three straight fastballs. Jose Peraza gave the Mets a lead with his fan interference double, Brandon Nimmo added two more, and Francisco Lindor finished it with another single.

Stroman looked like he would have another terrific start after an 11-pitch first inning. Lindor’s botched double play led to a three-run second inning which gave momentum to a dead offense. The Mets tried to nurse Stroman through one more inning, but a shrinking strike zone and a wild pitch gave the Yankees the final run they needed. Stroman finished with five innings pitched, five runs (three earned), and failed to record a strikeout.

Get The Sticky Tack

Cole struggled once again without the use of Spider Tack on the baseball. Dominic Smith stayed hot with a first-inning, short porch home run off Cole’s curveball. He worked through tough jams in the second and third inning but completely fell off the rails. Two walks and a single loaded the bases for Tomas Nido, who made it a 4-2 game with his single. After a strikeout, Nimmo’s single made it a one-run game, and Lindor tied it with his own single. They went silent on offense until their huge seventh inning.

The win was the team-oriented win they have been searching for and allowed them to extend their division lead. Game two of the doubleheader is at 7:08 p.m. ET, where Corey Oswalt will face Nestor Cortes from Yankee Stadium.

Acuna Jr. Does it All in Braves 1-0 Victory Over Mets to Take Game Two

Scoring was minimal during game one of the doubleheader between the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves, and it was almost extinct in game two. There we only four baserunners in the game, and Ronald Acuna Jr.’s majestic solo home run was all the Braves needed for a 1-0 victory.

The Mets had four hits on the night and were even worse on the bases. Pete Alonso tested the arm of Acuna Jr. and was thrown out on a 97.3 strike from the All-Star. In the sixth inning, Jose Peraza failed to advance to third base on a wild pitch and then tried to advance on a groundball hit right in front of him. Peraza entered the game immediately after Jonathan Villar doubled and left with a leg injury. It was clear Peraza was not fully acclimated to the game immediately. Francisco Lindor ended the sixth by getting picked off by A.J. Minter on the next pitch.

Ian Anderson was responsible for shutting down the Mets offense after having a 7.27 ERA against them coming into the night. Anderson pitched 5.1 shutout innings, allowing three hits, striking out five, and was thoroughly in control throughout the night. The Mets’ best scoring chance came against Braves closer Will Smith in the seventh inning with one out and the bases loaded.

Coming Up Short

Kevin Pillar smoked a ball right into Austin Riley‘s glove at third, and it almost ended the game. Alonso and Riley scrambled back to the bag, and Alonso won the race after a replay review. Brandon Drury came up as the final hope but popped up to short center field, allowing the Braves to escape with a doubleheader split.

Jerad Eickhoff made his Mets debut, and it looked like it would end early. Eickhoff walked two in the first but worked out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam. He persevered through four shutout innings, allowing three hits and walks while striking out three. With Joey Lucchesi likely needing Tommy John surgery, Eickhoff had a good audition for the fifth spot in the rotation.

Game three of the series is a regular nine-inning game between two pitchers who know how to move the baseball. Marcus Stroman takes his 2.35 ERA to the mound against the veteran Charlie Morton. The first pitch from Citi Field is set for 7:10 p.m. ET.

Walker Strikes Out a Dozen in Mets 3-2 Win Over Cubs

Taijuan Walker has been the steal of the offseason for the New York Mets and had another fantastic start. He struck out 12 to take a second straight game from the Chicago Cubs by a score of 3-2. Walker’s previous season-high was nine strikeouts, and he blew right past that for his sixth victory of the season.

Early in his start, Walker did not look like he had the best command of his pitches. Walker immediately had a first and second, then bases-loaded jam in the first inning but struck out three to survive the inning. From that point, Walker slowly started to get himself in a grove and found command of all pitches. His best weapon was his two-seam fastball which drew flashbacks to Bartolo Colon. Walker dominated for seven innings, a dozen strikeouts, and just two runs allowed, which came on a Javier Baez homer.

Thank You Willie

Walker retired the last 12 batters he faced, then passed the baton over to Seth Lugo. He recorded his first two-inning save since last August by working a perfect eighth and an extremely hectic ninth. Lugo received help from Cubs’ third base coach Willie Harris who crazily sent Jake Marisnick to get thrown out at home plate on Eric Sogard‘s double. This game was a prime example of how dangerous the Mets pitching staff has become. Their number three starter led their way while their second closer came into shut the door.

The Mets’ offense was not at their best tonight. They had plenty of chances to tack on to the lead throughout the game but went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left ten on base. Pete Alonso carried the load on offense with three RBIs, two coming on a single and the lead one with a sacrifice fly. Jonathan Villar also had a strong game with two hits, including a double.

Jacob deGrom returns to the mound to build upon his historic season after dealing with elbow issues. Robert Stock makes his Cubs debut, and first MLB start in game three of the series. The first pitch is once again scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET from Citi Field.

Orioles Destroy Mets Pitching in 10-3 Blowout Loss

The New York Mets‘ top three in their starting rotation are as good as it gets, but there are glaring holes with the pitchers that follow them. David Peterson fell victim to an onslaught from the Baltimore Orioles, led by Mets killer Maikel Franco in the 10-3 loss.

Peterson avoided his usual first-inning trouble but failed to find success in the rest of his dreadful start. He lasted just 2.2 innings allowing eight hits and four runs, and his ERA ballooned to 6.32. Peterson did not have issues putting the ball in the strike zone, allowing the O’s to make hard contact consistently. Robert Gsellman tried to keep the Mets in the game but was just as unsuccessful in long relief. Gsellman allowed four runs in 2.1 innings pitched and allowed Baltimore to put the game away.

The Orioles offense put up 16 hits, nine of them going for extra bases, and all but two starters had a multiple-hit game. Freddy Galvis led them with three hits, but Maikel Franco and Pat Valaika combined for three doubles, a home run, and six runs batted in. Bruce Zimmerman allowed the O’s to put the game away thanks to his third consecutive strong outing. He threw five innings, allowing just two runs and tying his career-high with seven strikeouts.

Alonso Does It All

Pete Alonso carried the Mets offense with a two-home run game which provided all three Mets runs. Alonso struck O’s pitching in the first and ninth inning, but there was almost nothing from the offense in the innings between. The Mets had just one hit in the seven middle innings on a night where they needed a ton of offense to win.

On Wednesday, the Mets turn to Taijuan Walker and look for a split of the series against O’s. Matt Harvey gets to face his former team for the second time this season. The first pitch from Oriole Park is set for 7:05 p.m. ET.

deGrom Dominates, Gets Plenty Of Support in Mets 6-2 Win

The New York Mets received reinforcements from the injured list against the Arizona Diamondbacks, and it helped them support Jacob deGrom in their 6-2 win. deGrom came into his start with an ERA under one, which means all the Mets needed was one run to win. Pete Alonso‘s bat provided plenty of support to support the Mets ace in his first game back from injury.

deGrom may not contain the same power as Shohei Ohtani but makes up for it with his ability to shut down offenses. He pitched six shutout innings, allowing two hits and striking out eight to lower his ERA to a spectacular 0.71 ERA. deGrom’s league-leading ERA is the lowest mark heading into June since 1964. Of course, he beat the D’backs with the bat by recording an RBI single to push his average to .450 on the season.

The Mets were once again cautious with deGrom, pulling him from the game after just 70 pitches. Trevor May faltered by allowing two runs and recording just two outs in the seventh inning. Miguel Castro (1.1) and Jeurys Familia (1) settled things down to get the pitching staff through the final 2.1 innings of the game.

Offensive Power Surge

The offense was terrific in their second game against Merrill Kelly this season. Alonso led the way with two hits, including a home run and four runs batted in. Francisco Lindor (single and double) and Dominic Smith (two doubles) showed promise in the power department by driving balls to the opposite field. Billy McKinney added a solo home run, his second straight game with a homer. Kevin Pillar made a triumphant return from his injury by recording a single in his only at-bat.

The Mets winnings streak is at five, and two more games in Arizona allow them to extend it to seven. Their lead in the NL East remains at 3.5 games after the Atlanta Braves defeated the Washington Nationals. On Tuesday, Marcus Stroman takes the ball for the Mets against Caleb Smith, who will make his second start of the season. The first pitch from Chase Field is another 9:40 p.m. ET start.

Mets Game Preview: (5/31/21) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (19-35)

The New York Mets are back on the road to begin a nine-game trip, starting with three against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Mets will welcome back some much-needed players against the team with the worst record in the National League.

The trio of Pete Alonso, Kevin Pillar, and Seth Lugo all return to the active roster to begin the road trip. Khalil Lee, Sean Reid-Foley, and Patrick Mazeika. All three players are a massive boost after so many Mets have landed on the IL. Alonso will bring much-needed power, and Pillar’s remarkable return gives the Mets an everyday center fielder. The Mets bullpen did not need much help, but Lugo’s talent makes the group even stronger.

The Diamondbacks will be happy to flip the calendar to June after winning just five games this month. Their win against the Cardinals on Sunday broke a 13 game losing streak, one short of their longest streak. D’Backs pitching has struggled with the third-worst ERA (4.93), allowed the third-most home runs (72) and highest batting average against (.263). This should help a Mets offense that is one of the worst in baseball but is coming off an 11 outburst on Saturday.

Pitching Matchup

Jacob deGrom takes his 0.80 ERA back to the mound after a stellar performance in his first outing off the injured list. deGrom worked five innings, allowing one run, striking out nine, and using just 63 pitches against the Colorado Rockies. In his start against the D’Backs earlier this season, he pitched five innings and allowed just a run. Uncharacteristically, deGrom walked three and only struck out six, which resulted in him leaving with an injury.

Merrill Kelly pitches for the D’Backs and looks to close out an excellent month of May. He struggled in April with a 6.63 ERA but pitched to a 3.52 ERA this month. Kelly walked five in 5.2 innings, allowing three runs (two earned) against the Mets earlier this month.

Matchup To Look Out For

Jacob deGrom vs. Nick Ahmed: 1-for-10 (.100), Double, 3 Strikeouts