Even Pete Alonso isn’t exempt from the Mets’ team-wide offensive swoon that has become more reputation than anomaly this season.
New York’s most valuable slugger had come out of the gates following the All-Star break and a Home Run Derby title mashing; he hit seven home runs with 14 RBI in a 15-game stretch from July 19-Aug. 2.
But two hitless at-bats in his final plate appearances on that Aug. 2 game against the Miami Marlins has sparked an 0-for-21 streak — just the latest struggler on one of the worst offensive teams in all of baseball.
“Over the past week, it’s been frustrating not to see balls fall,” Alonso said. “But what has been good is hitting the ball hard on a pretty consistent basis day in and day out, getting my a-swing off… It’s baseball. There’s ups and downs and right now, it’s unfortunate, but it is what it is. On to Tuesday.”
Once believed to have assembled one of the best lineups in franchise history, the Mets rank 28th out of 30 teams in Major League Baseball with an average of 3.75 runs scored per game. Their latest pitiful showing came on Sunday when they were shut out by former teammate-turned-Phillies-ace Zack Wheeler in a 3-0 result.
Over their last 18 games, the Mets are posting a slim 2.72 runs per game, which is no coincidence why they are 5-13 in that span and have relinquished their first-place standing in the National League East to the Phillies. These struggles are nothing new, though they’ve only been exacerbated by the understandable regression of Mets starting pitching that has taken hit after hit — most notably the shelving of Jacob deGrom.
Yet Alonso still doesn’t seem too worried about his recent woes and those of his team.
“I don’t feel lost. I feel confident,” Alonso said. “I have an excellent plan and I’m executing that plan. Just sometimes, when I execute a plan, not just in baseball, but in life — you can execute a plan but sometimes it won’t pan out.
“The only thing I can control in the box is what pitch I swing at and if I swing at a pitch when I make contact is to hit it hard… This is a trying time. This is an excellent test for us.”
A frantic schedule didn’t necessarily give Alonso and the Mets much time to take time off the field to address such struggles. They played 18 games in 17 days and finally received a day off on Monday that is being welcomed with open arms.
“To be honest, we’ve had a lot of games in a row,” Alonso said. “This off day we get [Monday] is going to be huge. Recharge the batteries, recharge the mind physically and mentally and get back at it on Tuesday.”
The Washington Nationals — who cleaned house at the trade deadline and have lost eight of their last 11 — await the Mets on Tuesday. A winning series is vital enough just to keep pace with the Phillies and Atlanta Braves in the division, but it’s especially important when 13 straight games against the juggernaut Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants await at the end of the week.
A trying time for the faith of Mets fans, though Alonso’s confidence remains unswayed.
“I understand for us, this is a very important time of the year, but we have a bunch of games (51) left to make a difference and come out on top,” Alonso said. “I have no doubt in my mind that this is going to be far behind us. In a week from now, two weeks from now, no one’s going to talk about this. It’s going to be over and done.
“Believe in us. Don’t just believe, know. There are tough times not just in baseball, but in life in general. Know that this is just a speed bump and a challenge… I know it’s frustrating, but understand that we’re here together. We’re all in this together and we got this. Just smile and know that we got this.”