New York Mets third baseman Jeff McNeil has fully entrenched himself as one of the favorites to win the “MLB the Show” players league.
He nearly showed up late to his stream, and then didn’t stick around as long after as he usually does. He didn’t miss any games and his demeanor during games was the same as always, but he just didn’t have that spark that made him a must-watch in the league.
That connection with the fans watching wasn’t as prevalent, though he tried to make up for it at the end of the stream. Before rushing off McNeil did play a quick three-inning game with one of his Twitch subscribers.
He usually plays for at least an hour before and after each “MLB The Show” players league stream. That allows fans to accumulate leading to larger viewership, but that didn’t happen this week for some reason.
As a result, McNeil’s viewership was down from his last stream as he only averaged between 1,300 and 1,800 with a peak of just over 1,900. It’s still a good amount of viewership, but it’s still a downgrade. It’ll be interesting to see if McNeil rebounds with another strong stream on Thursday or let’s this become a habit.
McNeil didn’t let the seemingly rushed nature of Wednesday’s stream hurt him on the virtual diamond. He started the night against Rhys Hoskins and the Philadelphia Phillies and it wasn’t pretty.
McNeil pummeled Hoskins for three innings, putting up nine runs. Things got so bad for Hoskins that McNeil put J.D. Davis on the mound in the bottom of the third. Even better was the fact that Davis threw a one-two-three inning to close out the game.
After embarrassing Hoskins 9-0, Jeff moved onto Josh Hader and the Milwaukee Brewers. This one was more competitive as McNeil only had a 2-0 lead after the first inning, but a second-inning grand slam by Pete Alonso changed that real quick.
The third game of the day came against Ty Buttrey and the Los Angeles Angels. The records say this should have been an easy win for McNeil, Buttrey came into the night with a 3-13 record. Things are never that easy though.
Buttrey jumped out a 3-0 lead in the second inning after hitting a three-run home run off of Noah Syndergaard. McNeil was able to scrape back a few runs in the bottom half to make the game competitive again, but poor baserunning killed his rally.
McNeil got another shot to win the game in the bottom of the third. Baserunning again proved to be McNeil’s one weakness. He got caught trying to advance on a ball on the dirt erasing a leadoff single. He followed that up with a double to put the tying run in scoring position.
Pete Alonso stepped to the plate with one out and the tying run at second base and grounded the ball to third base. McNeil saw this as an opportunity to send his runner on second to third base, which resulted in a game-ending double play.
Three baserunning mistakes across two innings cost McNeil a game he should have won.
Jeff finished the night with a makeup game against Carlos Santana and the Cleveland Indians. This was another game against an opponent with a poor record that McNeil struggled in.
Santana came into the night 2-12. This should have been an easy game for McNeil who is at the top of the league, but Jeff seems to play down to his opponents.
Santana put up three runs in the first inning. Things settled down when Twitch chat told McNeil that Santana was using directional hitting. McNeil put up two runs in the bottom of the first inning to make this a close game.
Santana responded with a home run in the top of the second and a scoreless bottom of the second. McNeil was finally able to hold Santana scoreless in the top of the third, but he was in trouble.
Momentum switched quickly when Michael Conforto hit a solo shot to open the bottom of the third. Thing unraveled for Santana after that.
He was able to retire Alonso, but he followed that by walking Robinson Cano. Yoenis Cespedes followed that with a base hit putting the winning run on base, and then a walk to Brandon Nimmo put the winning run in scoring position.
A three-run bottom of the third completed an improbable comeback victory for McNeil. He and the New York Mets finished the night 3-1 yet again.
After another dominant night, the Jeff McNeil-led New York Mets now sit at 14-4. That’s good enough for second place in the league. Only Joey Gallo has a better record at 17-3. It’s safe to say that McNeil is one of the favorites to win it all. With only 11 games left, it’s a near certainty that McNeil will earn a playoff spot.
He’ll likely be one of the favorites to win the league at this rate. However, it should be mentioned that McNeil is only 1-2 against teams currently holding a playoff spot.
As crazy as it sounds, McNeil still has to prove himself before he’s crowned a favorite. He’ll have the chance to do so soon, as he has a brutal schedule coming up.
Jeff McNeil and the New York Mets will be back at it Thursday night at 9 p.m. ET on Twitch. McNeil’s set to face off against Joey Gallo and the Texas Rangers (17-3), Trevor May and the Minnesota Twins (11-6), Jesus Luzardo and the Oakland Athletics (9-6), and Brett Phillips and the Kansas City Royals (9-11).