Mets: It’s Fun To Watch These Replacements Getting An Opportunity

Mets Replacements Get A Win

While the Mets are down with 16 regulars on the IL, players are getting an unexpected call-up. Opportunity calls, and their time is now.

Last night, the Mets won a game, an exciting 12-inning thriller over the Miami Marlins, with only three regulars (Dominic Smith, who is 9-14 with runners in scoring position including today), Francisco Lindor, and James McCann, who appeared as a pinch hitter) in their lineup.

The rest are all on the Injured List (IL); the latest to enroll is Mets first baseman and major power source, Pete Alonso.

Mets standard-bearer Pete Alonso
Mets standard-bearer Pete Alonso

Alonso, like other Mets regulars, has been playing injured for nearly three weeks with a sprained right hand, which accounts for his batting .132 with a .498 OPS, seven walks, 11 strikeouts, and one home run across 11 games from May 6 — the day after he was drilled on the hand — to May 18.

Giving in isn’t easy for Alonso, especially given the rising Mets injury toll, but as he told the New York Daily News, “I’m at the point right now, if I want this thing to completely go away, get better, I’m going to need to give it some rest. I have to listen to my body. I’ve been grinding. I’ve been doing the best I can out there.”

Mets: The Other Side Of The Story…

But losing players for the Mets is only one side of the story because the games still go on, and the team has to field a squad of 26 major league players every night, no matter what.

Only a few weeks ago, the composition of the Mets Triple-A roster was filled with players who were recently demoted, but ready to do their best with hopes of joining in the Mets someday, or being noticed by another team as the subject for a trade, and a chance to play regularly elsewhere in the majors.

Mets replacement Jake Hager
Mets replacement Jake Hager

Ironically, the Mets box score from last night’s game is filled with their names, as replacements with a budding, though unexpected, opportunity to play with the big club – in big games for a first-place team in the wildly contentious NL East.

Names like Jake Hager (LF), Wilfredo Tovar (2B), journeyman Brandon Drury (1B), Khalil Lee (PH, RF), Johneshwy Fargas (CF), and recently signed retread Cameron Maybin (RF-LF) all played in last night’s win that kept the Mets as the only team in the NL East with a plus .500 record at four over.

They were joined by others who have achieved almost veteran-like status with the Mets – Jonathan Villar and Jose Peraza – as fill-ins.

Every one of these players will tell us, and they do, that no one wants to see a teammate go down with an injury, but make no mistake, they all know what’s at stake here, and when opportunity calls, it’s often the only time there is to answer the bell.

Here’s a snapshot showing many of them did just that.

Mets: Carry On, Boys…

When these situations arise, I am always drawn to what former Mets’ manager Terry Collins said when his team was hit with a rash of injuries. Paraphrasing, Collins would say, “Just give me 25 players (26 now), I don’t care who they are, but once they put on a major league uniform, I expect them to play like a major league player”.

For the Mets, it’s a chance to get an unexpected preview of these players in a major league uniform. From the way things look and except for Maybin, there doesn’t seem to be any rush by the Mets front office to seek and find anyone in the remaining free-agent class of 2021 or players to trade for from other teams.

This can mean the Mets have done their homework, and there is no one suitable to their needs, and they’re better off with what they have. Or that Zack Scott and Sandy Alderson are both asleep at the wheel, too busy gathering useless analytics to confuse their new players with.

In any event, it’s likely Mets manager Luis Rojas will run the same team out there later this afternoon to face the Marlins.

Symbolizing another facet of the Mets plight is that Rojas has yet to name a starting pitcher for the game to start in a couple of hours.

Ain’t This Fun, Though…

For myself, I consider it a treat to watch these kids go out there, albeit with the usual butterflies, to compete at this level.

Most, if not all, will be relegated to their previous status as a minor leaguer when the dust settles and the Mets are near or at full strength.

But for the moment, this is their time to shine, and I wish all of them good luck…

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Steve Contursi
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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.