Pete Alonso followed up on what Gary Cohen called an O-for-Cincinnati with an 0-4 in his first game in Atlanta. That brought his line down to .167/.222/.310 in 45 PA. But the four games since then, Alonso has been on fire. He has multi-hit games in his last four appearances, including a 3-3 with two homers on Saturday. In his last 18 PA, Alonso has a .600/.667/1.467 line, with 5 XBH, including 4 HR. After 14 games this season, Alonso has a .963 OPS.

It’s reminiscent of his start last year, where after 21 games, Alonso had a 1.047 OPS, with 10 HR in 93 PA. That great beginning had us thinking of an MVP-caliber season. Unfortunately, Alonso had two prolonged slumps last year, including one in June when the team played so poorly. The Mets can survive a stretch where Alonso isn’t putting up super-human numbers. But they can’t afford a .147/.229/.333 line like he put up from 5/30-7/1 a season ago.

The encouraging news here in the early going is that Alonso isn’t repeating last year’s dismal BABIP. While never a star in the category, Alonso’s mark fell to a .205 in 2023. This season, he has a .270 mark, compared to a lifetime .259 BABIP. At the beginning of the year, Alonso was consciously going to right field. And now that he’s locked in, we see him pulling the ball with power.

You couldn’t draw it up any better for Alonso here in his walk year.

LOPEZ AND SMITH GIVE PEN A DEEP LOOK – Coming into the season, my opinion was that the Mets’ pen was going to be in good shape in the late innings but that middle relief was going to be an issue. And the reason for that was my lack of belief in either Jorge Lopez or Drew Smith. But both pitchers have been excellent here in the early going, with the duo combining for 14 IP with 2 ER and 14 Ks. Lopez has a save while Smith has yet to give up a run. But even with their great starts, there are numbers for both that are red flags. Lopez has just a 7.4 K/9 while Smith has a 5.4 BB/9. It will be difficult for them to keep up their fine pitching if they don’t improve on those numbers.

TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE – If you look at Brandon Nimmo’s Statcast page, you see that he’s above-average across the board in all of their tracked hitting metrics. And it’s not like he’s just barely above the mean, either. Nimmo is in the 92 percentile in BB%, the 95 percentile in Batting Run Value and the 98 percentile in Avg Exit Velocity. It’s a very good thing to see.

But if you dig deeper into his Statcast numbers, you see that while Nimmo is performing well against fastballs – which include 4-seamers, cutters and sinkers in this Statcast grouping – and offspeed offerings (changeups and splitters) it’s another story when we consider the pitches with some wiggle to them. In their category called breaking, which features curves, sliders and knuckle curves, Nimmo is just 1-14 with 7 Ks, including a called strike three in the ninth inning Saturday on a curve. Most of these pitches have been sliders but Nimmo is 0-4 on curves.

WHIP IT NOT SO GOOD – The average MLB WHIP for starting pitchers is 1.314 thru games of 4/13. But the Mets’ starters have a 1.485 WHIP, which ranks 25th in the majors. Here’s how the pitchers who’ve started a game this year for the club rank in the stat, which is (Walks + Hits)/IP:

3.000 – Julio Teheran
1.600 – Adrian Houser
1.532 – Jose Quintana
1.500 – Tylor Megill
1.400 – Luis Severino
1.364 – Sean Manaea
1.000 – Jose Butto

Everyone frets about the team’s SP not going deep into games. Perhaps they’ll go longer if they stop putting so many runners on base.

FIVES ARE WILD – The Mets have scored five or more runs in five straight games, totaling 42 runs in the stretch. It’s quite a contrast to the first nine games of the year, where the Mets plated just 25 runs. The 2023 club did not have a stretch all season where they scored five or more runs in five straight games, although they had several streaks of four. But the 2022 squad had two streaks longer than five. They had six straight games with at least five runs from 5/27-6/1. And they reeled off nine straight from 8/3-8/10, including both games of a doubleheader.

It will be tough to keep the streak alive Sunday, when the Mets face off against Royals ace Cole Ragans, the guy that has been called “the lefty deGrom.” Ragans pitched against the Mets last year in Kansas City and threw six scoreless innings with eight strikeouts. This year he has a 2.60 ERA with 21 Ks in 17.1 IP.

8 comments on “Pete Alonso’s hot start, the surprising Jorge Lopez & Drew Smith and the team’s recent offense

  • TexasGusCC

    They got Regans from Texas for Ardolis Chapman rental last year. Oops Texas!

    If you look at Sportrac’s values for free agents, they show Alonso at 10/$321 and Soto at 15/$498. Wow.

    In his last at bat, Nimmo was up on the count 3-0, then took three identical back door curves over the outside edge and struck out looking (obviously). That will get out quickly.

    Kevin Parada is batting over .300 and hit hit first homerun yesterday, and Jonah Tong is sick.: 21 strikeouts in eight innings! LOL stuff

    • Brian Joura

      I’ll take the under on the length of both of those deals.

      FWIW, Tong has 8.1 IP meaning that 21 of his 25 outs this year have come via the K. And he hasn’t given up a HR, either.

    • Metstabolism

      Yes, the line score numbers are impressive. Concerned about Tong’s command and pitch counts, though. He’s needed 158 pitches to get though those 8-1/3 innings, and only 99 pitches have been for strikes. A month from now the league will have learned how to lay off some of those pitches, he’ll be forced to throw more strikes, and he could become a lot more hittable.

  • Metsense

    I like when Alonso goes to right field, sometimes. I think it would help his BABIP and would make him a hitter, and just not a thumper.
    Smith and Lopez are pitching well. Smith should have lasting success but I still worry about Lopez.
    I’m sure that Nimmo knows about his curve problem and he has a way to rectify it. He’s a hard worker and he always knows how to improve himself .
    The WHIP is troubling and indicates that the rotation has been lucky. It is a good pitching staff but the current starters are just above average.

  • T.J.

    The Mets WHIP it bad so far. I’m not sure this middling cast can WHIP it good, although Mr. Butto helped out some today. Not only do they WHIP it bad, but they put 4 innings on the pen virtually every night. The bats will need to carry them this year, and the pen may be worn out by the ASG.

  • José Hunter

    Does Alonso’s terrible June 2023 stretch coincide with his return from (what many felt was too soon) after being HBP?

    • Brian Joura

      It was in the middle of the bad stretch

  • David Groveman

    Bullpen: I have also been very happy with how our pen has looked with the exception of a certain Tonkin who is no longer on the team. Diaz, Raley, Ottavino and Diekman were the “givens” on the squad but Jorge Lopez was a wild card and Drew Smith had fallen in basically all of our esteem. This doesn’t even cover the mysterious brilliance of Reed Garrett.

    Sean Reid-Foley should be back soon to give the Mets another solid option and I would hope the Mets would consider shifting Houser into the pen if we have some of our other starters come back.

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