It’s no secret that Pete Alonso has gotten off to a cold start this season. We haven’t see the ridiculous power that fueled his record-breaking 2019 campaign. Other Mets have helped pick up the slack, like J.D. Davis, Michael Conforto and the surprising Andres Gimenez, but we all know the Mets’ offense won’t reach its full potential until Alonso is treating baseballs like a polar bear does ambitious tourists. That is, clobbering them.
Last night was a big step towards Alonso getting on track. He cranked out three extra-base hits in New York’s 11-6 win over Washington. Two of those hits were opposite-field doubles and the other was a monster home run down the right-field line. It didn’t match up to what Juan Soto did to Robert Gsellman in the first inning, but it got the job done.
Soto is four years younger than Alonso and is one of the best hitters in baseball right now. If he keeps going like this, Soto is going to be one of the best hitters of all time. He’s so good that Washington fans should be happy their team lost Bryce Harper in free agency to a division rival. If the Nationals had retained Harper, I’m not sure they would be able to afford what Soto will eventually demand. I’d be shocked if the team’s front office isn’t planning the entire future around keeping Soto, because he’s as special a talent as you’re going to find.
ANYWAY. That insane home run illustrates why last night was such a big win for the Mets. They were coming off back-to-back defeats to their rivals and the defending world champions. Robert Gsellman was on the mound because New York doesn’t have enough real starters on the team thanks to Michael Wacha getting hurt and Marcus Stroman opting out. To top it all off, Soto opens the game by hitting a ball where maybe one or two guys have ever hit it before. Morale had to be low at that point with Washington ahead 3-0.
It’s a good thing that the Nationals were starting Anibal Sanchez. The veteran was very productive last season, but so far in 2020 he has struggled, and the Mets jumped all over him for four runs in the bottom of the first. Brandon Nimmo led off with a home run, and then the Mets got consecutive RBI hits from Alonso, Dominic Smith, and Gimenez following a Conforto hit-by-pitch.
In the 6th, the Mets blew the game open off of Washington reliever Ryne Harper when Conforto hit a two-out, two-RBI double over Adam Eaton’s head. Alonso and Smith followed with back-to-back home runs, and that was pretty much that.
The Mets have a quick turnaround, getting back into action this afternoon with a chance to split the four-game series. Due to injuries and mysterious disappearing players, Luis Rojas has been able to settle in with a more consistent everyday lineup. Davis is sticking at third base, while Luis Guillorme has become a fixture at second with Robinson Cano and Amed Rosario on the mend. David Peterson hasn’t exploded yet over his first three starts, so hopefully that trend continues and he gives the Mets a chance against Nationals up-and-coming starter Austin Voth.