Flushing, NY: Pete Alonso tied the all-time rookie home run record with his 52nd home run in the first inning at Citi Field Friday night. The Mets in their last three games are looking at next year while the Atlanta Braves are preparing for their NL Division Series that begins Thursday at SunTrust Park against the NL Central division winner.
So the interest these next few days are a record going for Alonso, seeking to break the rookie home run mark set by the Yankees Aaron Judge in 2017.
But for the Mets, eliminated from postseason contention earlier this week, their quest is to win their remaining games as they look to 2020. Alonso is one of their youngsters in their lineup that presents a promising future with Jeff McNeil, J.D. Davis, Brandon Nimmo, and Amed Rosario,
The home run to left field, off a 1-0 pitch from Dallas Keuchel, got the Mets going. Marcus Stroman delivered six good innings, Jeurys Famila and Seth Lugo came out of the pen and threw scoreless ball as the Mets went on to a 4-2 win.
Indeed, these final three games at Citi Field are not important in the standings for the Mets. They have locked in a third place finish in the standings behind the division winner Braves.
But next year at this time, and with Alonso in the lineup, ballgames with the Braves in late September could decide a division winner.
“Fans want him to take over the lead,” manager Mickey Callaway said about Alonso.
And that’s what Mets fans hope for, also understanding this is their possible and franchise face of the future. Alonso, to his credit, has been more than receptive during his rookie season. He is a fan favorite and liked by the media.
He also provides the proper answers. When asked about breaking the record held by Judge, a cross-town rival, it was typical Pete Alonso.
“There’s nothing like some friendly competition,” he said. “When I think of baseball history, you think old timey guys like Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds. Geez, I mean to think that as a rookie I hit more home runs than everyone except for one guy, it’s nuts. It’s crazy. I’m not trying to sound any other way. It’s just wow.”
He leads the Reds’ Eugenio Suarez by three for the major league home run lead and could finish Sunday as the first rookie since 1900 to have the lead to himself. Alonso this season has set the Mets franchise record in home runs, total bases, and extra base hits.
His 119 RBI and 100 runs is the first Mets rookie to reach triple digits in those categories. and no player in New York, including David Wright and Carlos Beltran have had those totals in a single season.
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