They are not quite the 1969 Miracle Mets, but there does seem to be a touch of divine intervention with this season’s team. Two weeks ago, the Mets appeared to be imploding. Two of their signature players, second baseman Javier Baez and shortstop Francisco Lindor, were excoriated by fans and media for directing a thumbs down gesture at the home crowd after getting impactful hits.
“[It’s] to let [fans] know when we don’t have success we are going to get booed, so they are going to get booed when we have success,” said Baez. His explanation was given during a postgame press conference on Aug. 29 after the Mets’ 9-4 win over the Washington Nationals at Citi Field. At the time the Mets were 64-67, in the span of seven loses in 11 games, and bearing no characteristics of a playoff contender.
Then, acting general manager Zack Scott was placed on administrative leave subsequent to his arrest for drunk driving in the early morning hours of Aug. 31. Earlier in the evening, the 44-year-old Scott had attended a team charity fundraiser in Connecticut held at the house of Mets owner Steve Cohen. From the executive offices to the field, the immediate situation for the organization looked bleak.
Yet, while deep into their tribulations, when the Mets faced the Miami Marlins on the road last night in the second game of a three-game set, they had risen from seemingly dire circumstances to win eight of their last 10 games dating back to Aug. 28. Their 9-4 victory over the Marlins on Tuesday put them at 70-69, four games behind the 73-64 Atlanta Braves, who were in first place in the National League East, and one and a half games below the 71-67 second place Philadelphia Phillies.
With the Mets’ bats lagging for most of this season, which was at the core of the fans’ frustration, the team had scored an average of seven robust runs per game in their previous seven outings going into last night. The Mets’ one reliable source of production has been first baseman Pete Alonso, who had 32 homers and 84 RBI after blasting two homers—including a two-run shot in the first inning, the 100th of his young three-year career—and plating three RBIs on Tuesday.
The 26-year-old Alonso reached 100 home runs in just 347 games, the second fewest in baseball history. Former Phillies first baseman Ryan Clark took only 325 to do it. “I want to say thank you to everybody in my life who’s had a positive impact on me,” said Alonso, nicknamed “Polar Bear.” “It’s awesome. So hopefully get to two-, three-, four-, five-, six-hundred more.” In 2019 Alonso broke Major League Baseball’s rookie record for homers with 53.
He and the Mets entered last night’s game three and a half out of the second NL wildcard spot. The top position undoubtedly will be secured by either the Los Angeles Dodgers or San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers were 88-51, and had a commanding 14.5 game lead over the 73-65 San Diego Padres and 74-66 Cincinnati Reds, who were tied for the second wildcard berth.
The longtime rivals Dodgers and Giants were in another epic race for the NL West division title. The 89-50 Giants had a one game advantage over the Dodgers when yesterday’s games began. Once the Mets conclude their series against the Marlins tonight, they will start a nine game homestand beginning with the Yankees tomorrow for three games, and the St. Louis Cardinals and Phillies for three each.