LOS ANGELES — In about six weeks, Pete Alonso will likely return to Dodger Stadium for the MLB All-Star Game, where he’s one of several Mets players named to the National League team. On the eve of these festivities, Alonso will almost certainly also compete in the Home Run Derby, given both his love for the event and his status as a two-time defending champion.
Might as well sneak in a little practice while he gets the chance. Alonso homered twice in Saturday night’s 9-4 win over the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine, earning five runs in a dominating performance that tied him with Cleveland’s José Ramírez for the MLB RBI lead at 53.
“I don’t think we expected less,” Mets starter David Peterson said. “Since he arrived, he’s been putting on a show.”
At bat in the third inning, Alonso homered two runs over the left field fence to knock out Dodgers starter Walker Buehler. In the seventh, he crushed a Brusdar Graterol fastball at 100 mph on the opposite court for a three-run homer that made a close game noticeably less. It was his third home run in the past two days.
Alonso’s 16 home runs are tied with the Dodgers’ Mookie Betts for the most in the National League. He also moved into a tie for 10th on the Mets’ all-time home run list with 122 for his career.
“Oh, that’s sick,” Alonso said of his place in franchise history. ” I did not know. I just want it to continue.
It’s been a season of revival for Alonso, who initially worked his way into the Mets’ plans with a 53-home run rookie season in 2019, before taking a notable step back in 20 and stepping forward last summer. . Alonso has played in all 55 games for New York this year, with the stated intention of trying to appear in all 162. He could soon threaten the franchise record for consecutive games played, which has allowed him to focus its output.
At his current home run, Alonso could rank sixth on the Mets’ all-time home run list by the end of the season. He could also erase the franchise’s RBI record, which Mike Piazza and David Wright currently share at 124. (Alonso is on course for 156.)
It’s a vortex of numbers that all essentially say the same thing: Alonso hits the ball often and hard and does significant damage when he does. Almost exactly a third into the season, Alonso has established himself as the Mets’ most legitimate National League MVP Award contender since Wright placed fourth in the 2007 vote.
“It’s every day,” Peterson said. “It’s not just about hitting a home run here, and then you don’t hear from him. … He has power in all areas. He’s not just trying to hit home runs. He really tries to drive the ball, which works for him. He is a key part of our line-up.
Over the past four seasons, Alonso has trained relentlessly to become a more complete hitter, improving his discipline at the plate as well as his all-court approach. That showed up against Buehler, a former Vanderbilt ace who played “really well — really well” against former University of Florida Alonso in college.
“I didn’t want that to happen again,” said Alonso, whose homers more than made up for a pitching error in the second inning.
Alonso’s performance on Saturday won the Mets a turbulent game in which Buck Showalter knocked out Peterson in the middle of a batting game, Francisco Lindor hitting a solo homer despite a broken right middle finger and both teams enduring a 11 minutes late as umpires determined whether the Dodgers could let a position player pitch.
Alonso’s role in all of this might have been the least surprising piece, given the location of the game. In 11 career contests at Dodger Stadium, Alonso hit seven homers. And he is likely to hit several more at next month’s Derby, although he joked after the game that he has yet to receive an invite. But Alonso will most likely be there, eager to put on another show.
“It’s just one of those historic parks,” Alonso said. “There have been a lot of really big names in the game of baseball that have played here. For me, it’s an honor to play here.