After Pete Alonso was hit in the back of the neck in the eighth inning of Saturday’s 5-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels, Mets manager Buck Showalter was asked if there was a way his club could defend or prevent further escalation as frustration levels increased.
“I don’t think this is the avenue where you talk about that out publicly,” the skipper said. “It’s a tough game played by tough men… I have some very personal thoughts about it.”
Showalter added: “We’re all very frustrated by what’s going on with Pete for a while, he’s leading baseball in hit by pitches…. I don’t really wanna hear about a product of how they pitch him. You take a ball in the neck, not happy about it. Not happy at all.”
Saturday was the 17th time Alonso has been hit during the 2023 season, the most in the National League, when Angels’ reliever Jose Soriano‘s 86.2 mph curveball caught him in the back of the neck. The first baseman missed 10 days earlier this season when he was hit on the wrist against the Atlanta Braves.
Alonso remained on the ground for a moment after getting hit before standing up and barking at Soriano and exchanging words with Angles catcher Logan O’Hoppe leading to the benches clearing and bullpens emptying, but there were no altercations. Alonso came out of the game after walking to first for a pinch-runner.
Francisco Lindor called it scary and said it seemed like at least the fifth time Alonso has been hit in the head area since he came to the Mets.
“I understand Pete’s reaction, I will always back him up, I stand by him,” Lindor said. “…That one was unfortunate, hopefully, it doesn’t continue to happen… We just trying to be safe out there, we’re trying to be safe and I stand by Pete no matter what.”
A clearly frustrated Showalter said his job is “to try and keep a sense of reality and the safety of everybody” and you want to “make sure it’s reciprocated.”
“Everybody’s chasing velocity now, and everywhere in the game, their bullpen, other bullpen, and with that comes lack of command. And with that comes people getting hit and it’s not good for the game,” he added.
Showalter said that with guys throwing inside and harder intentionality goes out the window but pitchers are taking that chance and “somewhere along the line there’s gotta be something to pay for that, whether it be from the league office or something.
“You’re seeing it every night with guys ducking 100 mph fastballs all over baseball, especially Pete. I’m not happy about it all, haven’t been happy about it. Trust me I’m trying not to say something, but Pete’s had to deal with it as much as anybody.”
When asked how the Mets should respond to the numerous times Alonso has been hit, Lindor said he has had lots of thoughts, “but I don’t have the answer.”
“I could take it, ‘yeah, let’s hit somebody.’ Or I could take it, ‘No, let’s not hit nobody, let the game speak for itself,’ the shortstop said. “But at the end of the day, I don’t have the answer. It’s one of those where I don’t know the right answer. Just pray to God that we stay safe. And the other team as well.”
Showalter said Alonso wanted to stay in the game and afterward had passed the concussion protocol, but they will have to see how he is Sunday ahead of the 12:05 p.m. start.
Lindor added that he hopes Alonso is back Sunday, but it is “very difficult” as a hitter to mentally prepare yourself to get back in the batter’s box after getting hit in the head.
“I got hit once in the mouth and it took me a little bit, took me a while,” he said. “And then facing the same guy and all I was saying was ‘just come out of that at-bat alive. He has gotten it from multiple pitchers. It’s not a good feeling, it’s not a good feeling.
“That’s why I stand by him because I know how he feels. It’s one of those that doesn’t feel good, especially a guy like Pete he’s a guy that’s trying to say inside the baseball.”
Source: Yahoo Sports