Mets still getting hit by pitches at record pace; Buck Showalter says they won’t budge – The Denver Post



In case you lost track, or weren’t paying attention to it anymore, the Mets are still on track to break the single-season record for hit-by-pitches.

“I thought we were going to fall off the pace but now I guess we’re back ahead of it again,” manager Buck Showalter said before Tuesday’s game.

The Mets were hit 75 times in their first 110 games, putting them on pace to finish the year with 110. The 2021 Cincinnati Reds are the current record holders after getting drilled 105 times. Mets’ hitters Mark Canha, Brandon Nimmo, Pete Alonso and Starling Marte are all among the 12 most-plunked in the league this year. Showalter was asked if he has any explanation for this painful phenomenon.

“You don’t think I’ve looked hard into that?” Showalter said playfully. “[Mark] Canha came with that skill set. He’s always been one of the leaders in hit by pitch.”

Among active players, Canha ranks eighth in career hit by pitches and wouldn’t you know it, he wore another one on Tuesday. Starling Marte — who’s been in the league three years longer than Canha — is all the way up at second, trailing only the human magnet Anthony Rizzo.

“We’ve been very fortunate that we haven’t had something be more serious than it has been,” Showalter said thankfully. “What’s crazy about it is, I can count on one hand the ones that I strongly suspect were intentional. After a while, I don’t care if they’re intentional or not. Let’s fix the baseball, let’s fix the whatever.”

Of course, the Mets have been winning at a head–spinning pace, and that has a way of making the opposition mad.

“It’s got nothing to do with that,” Showalter quipped. “It’s got something to do with the way that they hit, a little bit. It’s also why they’re good. That’s pretty obvious to me. Our guys don’t budge.”

Being lucky to avoid any serious injury from a bean ball, the manager also acknowledged that nobody on his team is feeling fully whole at this point in the year.

“It’s just part of the job description,” Showalter said. “Last time they were 100% was the day they got out of the car [for spring training] in St. Lucie. The next time they’re 100% will probably be two or three weeks after the season, mentally, emotionally and physically.”

Amid all the balls at their wrists, ribs, and on some scary occasions, heads, the Mets have remained in high spirits. The team chemistry is immaculate, the players like being around each other, and all of the good feelings are only multiplied by the non-stop winning. When asked which part of this ride has been the most fun for him, Showalter shared his appreciation for his dudes’ palpable love of baseball.

“The way the guys have embraced playing the game,” he answered. “It’s been fun to watch and it’s been fun to be around them. We have a lot of guys here that, if I wasn’t their manager, I’d like to hang out with. There’s a lot of baseball players here and they really embrace playing the game a certain way.”

INJURY UPDATES

Tommy Hunter (lower back tightness), Tylor Megill (strained shoulder) and Joey Lucchesi (Tommy John surgery) are all players currently on the injured list who could, theoretically, factor into the Mets’ bullpen down the stretch.

Hunter has already given them 14.1 innings out of the pen this year, while Megill supplied 41.1 pre-injury innings that were all as a starting pitcher.

“Tommy looks good,” Showalter reported. “I think Tommy’s going to be going out to do some rehab pitching. Megill has increased his distance and is throwing volume. He’s moving toward that [return] date.”

Lucchesi has not pitched at all since going under the knife last season but, importantly, throws left-handed. The Mets’ only left-handed relief option right now is Joely Rodriguez, who has a 5.12 ERA in his 37 appearances. Showalter shared that Lucchesi “looks good” and also said first baseman/outfielder Dom Smith (sprained ankle) is progressing nicely.

PAST AND PRESENT

With a pair of RBI in Tuesday’s game, Francisco Lindor only needs two more to tie a Mets’ record.

Jose Reyes drove in 81 runs in 2006, which stands as the franchise record for a shortstop. Reyes played in 153 games that season while Lindor, who just wrapped up his 110th, will need far fewer to topple the record. With three more home runs (he parked number 20 on Tuesday), Lindor will also tie Asdrubal Cabrera for most in a single season by a Mets’ shortstop. Cabrera put 23 balls into orbit as the shortstop on the Mets’ 2016 Wild Card team.

Jose Reyes drove in 81 runs in 2006, which stands as the franchise record for a shortstop. Reyes played in 153 games that season while Lindor will need much fewer to topple the record. With four more home runs, Lindor will also tie Asdrubal Cabrera for most in a single season by a Mets’ shortstop. Cabrera put 23 balls into orbit as the shortstop on the Mets’ 2016 Wild Card team.

The best overall season by a Mets’ shortstop, at least according to FanGraphs’ version of Wins Above Replacement, is also within reach for Lindor. That distinction also belongs to Reyes, who has each of the top four. Reyes’ 2008 season (5.8 WAR) is the carrot dangling in front of Lindor, who showed up to Tuesday’s game with a 4.7 mark.

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