MIAMI – A few things came to mind as you wonder why the replay man keeps getting it wrong, and sometimes it takes forever before his wrong opinions are discarded.
Pete Alonso may or may not be the Mets’ best player. But he has to be an indispensable player.
Alonso walked his first two times on Saturday, which may have had something to do with Marlins shortstop Edward Cabrera not having much of a clue about the strike zone early on. Or maybe Cabrera knew better than to let Alonso win. Avoiding Alonso should be the goal of every pitcher facing the Mets.
“I can’t be bothered if you’re trying to avoid me,” Alonso said after his double in the Mets’ 6-2 victory over the Marlins. “I try to focus on getting the ball in my area, and if it’s in my area, I try to capitalize.”
Given his first chance of the day, Alonso drove Marlins lefty reliever Andrew Nardi’s slider into the left field corner to drive home good friend Jeff McNeil and put the Mets ahead for good. He led the majors in RBIs last year (tied with the amazing Aaron Judge) when he had a quality and diverse lineup but no other true sluggers around him, and he may be on his way to repeating in a similar situation.
Steve Cohen obviously came close to acquiring superstar Carlos Correa for $315 million before an ankle problem caused the Mets to kill that deal. So Alonso is back in the same place as the lone true banger in the middle order.
Mets first baseman Pete AlonsoUSA TODAY Sports
Alonso is known for being at his best in home run derbies, when he’s trying to serve the pitcher (former Mets manager Dave Jauss is an expert on that). But he’s perfectly adept when pitchers are doing everything they can to keep them from beating themselves.
Rookie Tylor Megill’s specialty seems to be fulfilling a legend. This time it was Cooperstown-bound Justin Verlander, who was sidelined with a low-grade hamstring (armpit) strain, and Megill picked up the second major win of his career, surviving five strong innings. . While filling in for Cooperstown-bound Max Scherzer on Opening Day last year, Megill threw five shutouts in Washington’s 5-1 win.
Megill denied that impersonating a legend is his specialty. He said, “It’s not like I’m trying to fill his shoes, I’m trying to fill his place.”
Brooks Raley is quite the weapon out of the bullpen. When the Mets acquired him at the winter meetings, few noticed. That might be because superstars were coming off the board left and right; some to the Mets, who signed Verlander during the meetings and re-signed Brandon Nimmo after the meetings.
Regardless, Raley looks great for the Mets. I can see why they got it. And I can see why they were pulled from the World Baseball Classic at the slightest hint of a shipping problem.
If he was really hurt, he clearly isn’t now. He looked dominant in his first start for the Mets, then came in for the shutout on Saturday, and Jazz Chisholm Jr. caused him to go to second base as the tying run in the seventh.
“He comes in, he throws strikes and he’s got multiple weapons,” Showalter said. “It’s a good addition for us.”
It’s actually nice to see the Mets use a right-handed lefty out of the pen after suffering through the Joely Rodriguez Era.
It might be time to start worrying about Eduardo Escobar, who had a .286 OPS this spring and looked exactly the same at the start of the season.
“(The Mets) are giving away too many starts before the game starts,” one scout said.
Mark Canha USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con
The Mets are concerned about Escobar, but say they will give him more time. There is really little choice. Brett Baty, MLB’s No. 21, had a big game yesterday, but he needs some more conditioning. Only prodigies like Nolan Arenado and Manny Machado skip Triple-A entirely. The likes of Ronald Acuna Jr., Yordan Alvarez and Kris Bryant had hundreds in Triple-A at-bats before being called up.
I don’t get the point of replays when they refuse to overturn wrong calls. Marlins first baseman Garrett Cooper was clearly out of the bag as he was reaching for third baseman Jean Segura’s throw, appearing to allow Alonso to reach safely.
“I saw it that way, too,” Showalter said. “That’s another one where I think there wasn’t enough in their minds to overturn it.”
The replay official somehow stuck with the outside call. This happened two days in a row. On Friday, Nimmo initially appeared safe on a ground ball to shortstop, but after a lengthy delay, the umpires announced the call would stand. It’s gotten to the point where we wonder if the replay officials don’t want to offend the judges.
I love all the new rules. But here’s a rule they can keep in mind: Calls that are wrong are more likely to be overturned. Don’t worry about offending the referee. They know they’re coming up with bang-bang plays, though. Or should know.