After only playing five innings since Friday, the Mets were finally back on the field for real baseball games on Monday. Two of them, to be exact. New York split a doubleheader against the Atlanta Braves, and the kids — Brett Baty and Francisco Alvarez — played a significant role.
Game 1 got off to a horrific start. Home runs galore from Atlanta gave them an early 6-1 lead. But as we saw many times in 2022, the Amazins fought back to make it a contest worth watching. They first got it to 6-5 and eventually lost 9-8, fighting until the very last out.
Game 2 had a different script. The Mets got out to a 2-0 lead before coughing it up in the sixth. Nobody would’ve been surprised if New York folded right there, but they didn’t. The boys re-took the lead in the bottom of the sixth before eventually securing the win.
Baty and Alvarez both played a critical role on Monday at Citi Field. Baty started both ends of the doubleheader and collected three hits. This included a double in Game 2 and the below homer in Game 1 to pull the Mets within a run:
BATY BOMBS 💣 pic.twitter.com/BdDARnme7O
— SNY (@SNYtv) May 1, 2023
Alvarez started Game 2 and made the most of it by collecting two hits. He also drove in two runs with this go-ahead double that ended up being the game-winning hit:
FRANCISCO ÁLVAREZ PUTS THE METS BACK IN FRONT! pic.twitter.com/cB8grQ1T3L
— SNY (@SNYtv) May 1, 2023
Everyone was excited for Baty and Alvarez to get recalled to the big leagues. But you know what’s even better? Watching them play consistently and produce in crucial moments. They each had their own version of a slow start upon touching down in Queens again, but they’ve both found a way to get into a groove at the plate.
Between getting used to life in the big leagues and receiving consistent playing time, it was bound to happen. Here’s what they’ve done in the batter’s box over the past week or so:
Francisco Álvarez in last 7 games:
Brett Baty in last 8 games:
— Mike Mayer (@mikemayer22) May 2, 2023
There will be some regression/a period of cooling off where they return to the mean. But we know what these dudes could be capable of when given an opportunity to play.
I gave my own version of a lineup overhaul if manager Buck Showalter actually wanted to mix things up. That doesn’t seem to be the case, though. So if his batting order stays mostly the same, it’s not hard to see how Brett Baty and Francisco Alvarez are X-Factors.
Not only are they performing better than their veteran counterparts (Eduardo Escobar and Tomas Nido), but the bottom of the order doesn’t become a black hole of rally-killing anymore.
Baty has played in 12 games since getting recalled from Triple-A. He’s mostly spent his time hitting seventh (five games) or eighth (six games) in the order. As for Alvarez, he’s appeared in 14 games and has either hit eighth (five games) or ninth (nine games) in the order.
Getting this kind of production from the bottom of New York’s lineup is huge for this offense. It takes the pressure off the big boppers. It also gives guys like Brandon Nimmo, Starling Marte, and Francisco Lindor RBI opportunities with the opposing pitcher having to perform under pressure.
The Mets need everyone to contribute in order to get on a roll and start winning games consistently. Escobar and Nido included. But as Brett Baty and Francisco Alvarez get more comfortable, Buck better keep penciling in their names consistently. Especially if they continue hitting.
New York didn’t acquire that huge offensive upgrade everyone wanted them to get this past winter. Billy Eppler and Co. were banking on some of the kids stepping up to perform. Thankfully, Baty and Alvarez are getting an opportunity to show how valuable they can be to this offense.
You can reach Matt Musico at [email protected]. You can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.