BRONX — Pete Alonso was 1-for-his-last-29 when he stepped to the plate in the bottom of the eighth inning against the Chicago White Sox on Thursday — just the latest miserable stretch of a prolonged slump that had befuddled the New York Mets slugger for the better part of the last two-and-a-half months.
While he hit 15 home runs during that stretch, in the 59 games he appeared in since the second leg of a May 1 doubleheader, Alonso batted just .175 with a .713 OPS which is remarkably paltry by his standards.
But in his fourth at-bat in what would eventually be a 6-2 Mets loss — and after he went 0-for-3 to start — Alonso flicked a grounder the other way that had enough eyes to roll into right field for a single, scoring Brandon Nimmo.
“It felt really nice to get that hit the other way,” Alonso said after the game. “I was really proud of the swing decisions. That’s a positive. I didn’t chase. That’s a positive. And I had an RBI single today. So that’s a huge positive especially when things have been going tough.
“You just have to find positives in every situation and make a meal out of a breadcrumb.”
Alonso has done well to fill up on that scrap of good fortune as a big night at Yankee Stadium officially got him out of the waiting room that was the worst slump of his career and straight to the dinner table.
The 28-year-old went 3-for-4 with two home runs and five RBI, all off Domingo German, in the Mets’ 9-3 win over the Yankees on Tuesday night. He had five RBI in his previous 13 games.
His monster game becomes the focal point of an ascending four-game stretch that had seen him entering Wednesday’s action with hits in eight of his last 15 at-bats which also included a pair of doubles to go with his two round-trippers.
By comparison, he had eight hits in his previous 17 games (.133 average, .514 OPS).
“There’s a lot of work not just physically but mentally that was put in to get to this point,” Alonso said within the bowels of Yankee Stadium. “For every player — what you see in the game is all the hours and dedication that you don’t see behind the scenes so I’m just really happy that I can finally see the fruits of my labor.”
The return to his imposing ways in the batter’s box comes better late than never as the Mets have one last opportunity to prove to management that they can make a legitimate postseason push over the final eight weeks of the season to curb them from going into a complete sell at Major League Baseball’s Aug. 1 trade deadline.
They are 11-7 in July and sit seven games out of the final Wild Card spot in the National League after a dismal June saw them go 7-19.
“It’s clicking a feel with an approach and I hate to say it’s results because, for me, I don’t want to be driven by results because baseball is a game of failure,” Alonso said. “For me, I’m a big believer in the process, but when you put so much in and you don’t really get a lot out, sometimes it’s really difficult… There’s a lot of analyzation, there’s a lot of deep diving into scouting reports, watching video, putting in the work in the cage, putting in the work on the field for batting practice.
“So there’s a ton of stuff that you have to do where within the two and a half or three and a half hours of a baseball game, that’s what all the hours and all the studying of your opponent… that’s where you hope to see the rewards.”