NEW YORK -- Among the healthier Mets this season has been Pete Alonso, who has also given the team steady offensive production without necessarily generating spectacular headlines.
Alonso now has 15 homers, putting him on pace for 30 this season. While that’s not quite the 53-homer onslaught he delivered as a rookie in 2019, it’s evidence enough that Alonso’s down year in '20 may not have been as significant a problem as some around the team feared.
“I’ve had a lot of quality at-bats, and I feel like I’ve been right on some pitches,” Alonso said. “Granted, you don’t necessarily feel your best every single at-bat, but I feel like I’ve made a lot of really good [swings].”
Alonso greeted reliever Darren O’Day with an opposite-field two-run homer in the fourth inning of Game 2, drawing the Mets back within one after Gio Urshela’s three-run homer off Corey Oswalt in the second. Unlike in Game 1, when Alonso hit a game-tying shot off Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman, the Mets could not complete a late comeback. But that didn’t do much to dim Alonso’s personal performance, as he went 2-for-8 with two homers and three RBIs in the twin bill.
In doing so, Alonso became the first Mets player since Shawn Green on Sept. 6, 2006, to homer in both halves of a doubleheader. There have been 30 Mets players to accomplish the feat.
“I thought I was really, really solid with my plan,” Alonso said of his Game 1 homer, “and I’m just really happy I got to capitalize in a really big moment.”
Over the past two months, much has been made about Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil, Brandon Nimmo and J.D. Davis, four lineup cogs who each missed at least five weeks due to injuries. Less publicized has been the performance of Alonso, who struggled to catch fire without his usual protection in the lineup. From May 5-June 18, Alonso hit .214/.320/.379 with five homers in 30 games. Since the end of that stretch, he’s batted .288/.354/.559 with five homers in 17 games.
It’s not quite the type of run Alonso enjoyed in 2019, when he averaged more than five homers over any typical 17-game stretch. But it’s certainly closer to it than what Alonso gave the Mets last year, when he swatted 16 homers in 57 games.
From manager Luis Rojas’ perspective, Alonso is beginning to approach those sorts of production levels again -- something that may only continue with Conforto, McNeil and Nimmo back to provide him support.
“He seems there,” Rojas said. “We all witnessed 2019, where he was just easy to the ball. It’s almost like he hit a homer every day. That’s what it felt like. So seeing it today, when he hit one in both games, you could say that he’s simplifying things.”