Alex Patton Alex


Alex Patton
joined Patton & Co. Sun Nov 25 '07.

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Alex has, so far, written 45,222 comments and this was the latest, on Francisco Alvarez:

Joel Sherman in the Post:

ATLANTA — Billy Eppler and Buck Showalter both assured that it would be conveyed to Francisco Alvarez not to try to play hero ball. To essentially not see every plate appearance from here until through Game 162 as an audition for not only a postseason roster spot, but perhaps meaningful playoff at-bats. 

So, of course, here was Alvarez — the youngest player currently in the majors at 20 — in the hero position Friday night. Final at-bat of his major league debut. Bases loaded. Ninth inning. One out. Team down three runs. First place in the NL East at stake in Game 157. 

Showalter could have defused this. He could have sent up Daniel Vogelbach to face Braves closer Kenley Jansen. Showalter said Jansen was “neutral” — basically the same results versus lefties and righties. But the stats do not reflect that. Lefties had a .725 OPS this year versus the righty Jansen compared to a .554 for righties. 

The Mets haven’t loved Vogelbach’s at-bats lately. So Showalter decided to save him if the game got two more batters to ninth-place hitter Tomas Nido, who actually had homered in his previous at-bat. Showalter decided his best chance for a blast was with Alvarez. He was looking for Alvarez to, yep, be a hero. 

Jansen had loaded the bases with one out via a hit by pitch (Mark Canha again), a Jeff McNeil single and a walk to Eduardo Escobar. This is not the historic Jansen with a brilliant cutter. But it is still Jansen. It is still a version of his cutter. It was still 40,000-plus in Atlanta screaming. It was still everything that goes into Braves-Mets — just on late-season steroids considering the records and implications. 

Francisco Alvarez
Francisco Alvarez went 0-4 in his MLB debut. 
USA TODAY Sports

“My approach didn’t change,” Alvarez said afterward. 

He fouled off a 92 mph cutter, swung through a 91 mph cutter and flailed for strike three at another 92 mph cutter and for the second time in this game lost control of his bat and had it whirl into the netting to the right of the Mets dugout. He said that only happened once all through his minor league season. 

Tyler Naquin then waged a nine-pitch battle before striking out. No Met proved a hero in a 5-2 loss. Before this game, standing outside the visiting dugout, Steve Cohen had said, “I like where we are. Let’s see if we can finish it.” 

What Cohen and the Mets know now is they can’t finish off an NL East title this weekend. That would have taken a three-game sweep. Now even with two victories, the Mets would leave Atlanta late Sunday night with a magic number of one to clinch their first division championship since 2015. 

But the worst scenario is now in play as well. A sweep by the Braves would mean the Mets no longer control their destiny going into the final three games. Still, the Mets are in the better position through 157 games, though both clubs are now 98-59. 

Normally to take the title away from the champ you have to knock them out. But a draw works for the Mets as long as they win at least one game in this series. That would give them the season series over the defending World Series winners and an NL East title if the clubs complete 162 games with the same record. 

Francisco Alvarez lets go of his bat while swinging.
Francisco Alvarez lets go of his bat while swinging. 
USA TODAY Sports
Francisco Alvarez loses control of his bat as he strikes out. 
AP
Alex Patton Alex

The last 25 players commented on other than Francisco Alvarez (click to go to that player and the season for that comment):

Cal Raleigh, 9 Max Fried, 36 Shohei Ohtani, 304 Jarred Kelenic, 27 Freddy Peralta, 31 Julio Rodriguez, 58 Sean Manaea, 48 Eric Lauer, 32 Mitch Haniger, 54 Jon Gray, 52 Adolis Garcia, 39 Tucker Barnhart, 32 Dylan Floro, 14 Javier Assad, 3 Ranger Suarez, 33 Jeffrey Springs, 13 Aaron Judge, 209 Eury Perez, 3 Randy Vasquez, 1 Jasson Dominguez, 12 Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 152 Michael Kopech, 44 David Hensley, 1 David Bednar, 23 Miguel Andujar, 42