Jeff McNeil and the New York Mets haven’t had the season they envisioned, but sometimes you have to take what you’re given.
McNeil did just that with his Little League inside-the-park home run Saturday night in Boston against the Red Sox.
With two men in scoring position trailing 2-0 in the top of the fourth, the defending National League batting champion came to the plate and did his job, ripping a line drive up the middle.
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A run was scored, and around the third Pete Alonso came along; there could have been a blaster play at the plate for the tying run, but Red Sox catcher Jorge Alfaro saw McNeil run for second. So he gave up on Alonso and let him score pretty easily, and instead he tried to shoot McNeil.
But his pitch sent almost everyone airmailing: It flew into the outfield and past center fielder Jarren Duran, leaving McNeil to run free.
McNeil ended up scoring on his feet, and the Mets suddenly took the lead.
«I don’t hit a lot of regular home runs, so it was a little different. That was probably my first Little League home run since Little League. It was a fun time.» mcneil said.
It was short-lived, however, as Max Scherzer allowed four home runs and Trevor Gott allowed three earned runs in just one-third of an inning of Scherzer’s relief.
So despite poor defense, Boston plucked up their nerve and held the Mets to those runs, earning an 8-3 victory to split their doubleheader.
The Mets, fresh off a 101-win season and with a payroll approaching $350 million (by far the most in North American sports), may be one of the most disappointing teams not just this year, but ever. They are currently 46-52, 17.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves in the division and 7.0 behind the final wild card spot.
McNeil is just one of several members of the team who have taken a big step back: He hit .326 last year, which led all of baseball, but that number is now down to a career low .248.
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The Mets have decisions to make at the trade deadline, and it would be hard to see a team go all-in, probably more all-in than anyone else. However, they have some expiring contracts and an owner who is willing to lose some money if it means revamping a farm system that has needed fixing for years.