Pete Alonso Hits 19th Home Run, Mets Win Finals vs. Cubs

CHICAGO — So this is how it should look.

After two days of struggling with the late spring cold in Chicago, the Mets appeared to be a different team Thursday night in a 10-1 blowout against the Cubs. They recorded 15 hits, their second-highest total for the season (and their highest in nearly a full calendar month). They got strong pitching, especially from Carlos Carrasco. And they all combined to salvage their last game at Wrigley Field after losing two in a row.

“Everything comes together,” Carrasco said.

While Carrasco was referring to his own success on the mound, he might as well have been referring to the entire team. It was that kind of performance, that kind of night.

Throughout the process, three factors slightly outweighed the rest:

Sweet cookie
Those worried about Carrasco’s form got quite a bit of relief on Thursday, as Carrasco not only gave the Mets his best start of the season, he turned in arguably his best outing since last July. It had been that long since Carrasco gave up one or fewer runs while also pitching in the seventh inning. Afterwards, Carrasco admitted that he had never felt better at any time this year.

Of particular note was Carrasco’s split switch, which yielded five of his nine scents that night. Spicy with a protrusion in his right elbow that he is currently unaffected by, Carrasco is unlikely to regain his old mid-90s speed anytime soon. But if he can effectively play his split change with a low-90s fastball while also mixing two different breaking pitches, there’s reason to believe the 36-year-old can still thrive.

“When I have a substitution like that, I don’t want to stop throwing it,” said Carrasco. “I can get a lot of ground balls.”

Behind Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, the Mets do not have a consistent third option in their rotation. If Carrasco can become such a pitcher again, the team’s pitching situation will look very different.

“We all know what he could do for us,” says manager Buck Showalter.

Casual polar power
With the game mostly in hand in the seventh inning, Pete Alonso attacked a Michael Rucker-cut fastball on the outside edge of the strike zone, hit it hard, then watched the wind carry him 112 yards over the right-field fence. Because of this, Alonso joined Dansby Swanson as the only right-handed hitter to go deep to that part of Wrigley Field this season.

For two months into the season, the numbers and facts about Alonso have become something to behold. For example, he is one of only nine players to hit at least 165 home runs in his first five seasons, joining the likes of Ralph Kiner, Albert Pujols, Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams.

Alonso leads the Majors in home runs and the National League in RBIs. He and Jeff McNeil even executed a successful double steal in the fifth inning on Thursday, increasing Alonso’s success rate to 91.2 percent. Oh, and he’s only committed one error at first base all season.

“We deliberately don’t talk about it much,” Showalter said. “Everyone is doing their projections and everything from how things could turn out, but he’s also just playing with great effort.”

Outside of Alonso, New York’s offense isn’t built to hit homers as consistently as most other contenders. The Mets remain about the league average in the energy department, as they did last season. So it was encouraging for Showalter to see the offense string together multi-hit rallies in the third and eighth innings.

“It’s just a reminder of what we’re capable of and what we need to do,” Showalter said.

Of particular note were multihit games from McNeil, Francisco Alvarez, Brandon Nimmo and Starling Marte – the latter two of whom appear to be emerging from recent slumps.

“That’s when we’re at our best – we take good ABs, we get on base, we put pressure on the defense,” said McNeil. “It leads to some runs.”

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