With the Mets batters hitting the field so often this season, the team is running out of patience and looking for answers. At least one Mets player believes Major League Baseball this season is to blame.
The reason for the Mets’ frustration is clear: First baseman Pete Alonso was shot twice in the head — a second incident that occurred on Tuesday resulted in a broken helmet — and shortstop Francisco Lindor was also hit in the head. Overall, the Mets have lost 18 times in 19 games, seven more than any other team.
While Alonso is looking to play for the Mets in Wednesday’s afternoon game and none of the incidents resulted in serious injuries, emotions were running high on the team on Tuesday. 3-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. Dominic Smith of the Mets was hit by reliever Nick Wittgren in the sixth inning; Alonso made a substitution recorded at 83.1 mph from Cody Whitley to his helmet in eighth, clearing both benches; and Starling Marte was hit by Aaron Brooks with a weight at 92.7 mph in ninth place. Marthe hit the field on loaded bases when he was running.
Chris Bassitt, the All-Star pitcher who started the game for the Mets (and hit one batter), said he blamed baseballs, which are “all different.”
“It’s very annoying to see your teammates getting hit all the time and if you get hit on certain pitches that’s what it is, but the amount of head hits we get is unbelievable” – Bassitt, who was hit down the line drive in the face last season, told reporters. “I had a few crises tonight and got hit in the face and I don’t want to do that to anyone, but MLB has a very big problem with baseballs.”
“They are bad,” he added. “Everyone in the league knows that. Every pitcher knows this. They are bad”.
Part of the problem may be some pitchers battling for the baseball after MLB’s crackdown on the use of foreign substances. Last season, some pitchers, including the Yankees’ Gerrit Cole, were accused of using products like Spider Tack to improve traction and increase spin speed, leading MLB to conduct on-field checks in an attempt to eliminate substances from the game.
“You want to talk about Spider Tack and all that, yeah, get that out of the game,” Mets catcher James McCann told reporters after Tuesday’s game. “I agree with that. But give them a circle on the deck like hitters. Let them control the baseball.”
While the batsmen’s 0.95 hitting average per game in their first 19 games was extremely high, MLB’s tally did not rise. On Wednesday, team players scored 0.42 times per game; last year’s overall score was 0.43. Field hits have fluctuated over the years, but since 1995 they have consistently exceeded 0.3 and reached a near-record high of 0.46 in 2020 (in 1898 and 1899 the average was 0.47).
However, the idea that baseballs can be different is not without merit. An investigation for Business Insider Bradford William Davis and physicist Meredith Wills have identified two very different baseballs used in games in 2021.
However, Mets manager Buck Showalter thinks there’s something wrong with how often his players get hit.
“It’s one thing to get hit in the toe or knee, but we get a lot of balls in the head and neck, and that’s just not good,” Showalter told reporters. “Shit. You care about your players and by not delving into right and wrong and what you have, you get to the point when it comes to the safety of your players.”
“We were lucky,” Showalter said of Alonso. “You are talking about the field that broke his helmet. This is not good. I am not happy.”