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Pete Alonso mashes 2 homers as Mets roll past Nationals – Boston Herald


The Mets might be gearing up to become a trade deadline seller, but they didn’t play like it Friday night at Citi Field. However, a 5-1 win over the Washington Nationals has left the team with more questions than answers after ace Max Scherzer showed contending teams what he can do at his best.

Pete Alonso’s two home runs and Max Scherzer’s seven-inning gem helped the Mets defeat the Washington Nationals 5-1 in the second game of a four-game series. The Mets (49-54) lead the series 2-0 heading into what could be an eventful weekend ahead of the Tuesday trade deadline. Scherzer, who has a player option for next year and a full no-trade clause, will talk with the front office before Tuesday about their plans for the trade deadline and their vision for the future. He has remained steadfast in his commitment to the Mets, but a rebuild might have him reconsidering his own future.

“The front office has decisions to make,” Scherzer said. “[Owner Steve Cohen] has decisions to make. We’ve got to understand what the direction of the organization is going to be.”

With the most reliable part of an unreliable bullpen now gone, the Mets needed a big starting pitching performance. Scherzer (9-4) delivered against the team he won a World Series with four years ago, holding the Nats (43-61) to one run on six hits over seven solid innings. One day after his 39th birthday, Scherzer lowered his ERA to 4.01 on the season.

This further fueled the speculation surrounding his future.

After the Mets traded closer David Robertson on Thursday night, general manager Billy Eppler made a point to say that the team has not necessarily declared itself an outright seller, instead saying he listening to offers and gauging the market. But the clubhouse saw it a different way.

“If you’re trading our closer away,” Scherzer said, trailing off.

You get the idea: Trading away a closer signals an intent to trade away veteran talent on expiring contracts.

If the Mets plan to contend next season, he’s in. But it’s unlikely that a 39-year-old future Hall-of-Famer would spend one of the final years of his career on a rebuilding team. Scherzer wants to pitch for a contender, so if the Mets don’t plan to contend next season, he’d like to know.

“You’ve got to understand what everybody is going to do,” Scherzer said. “This isn’t like the trade for me in Washington (in 2021). When I was in Washington, I was going to be a free agent. Our season was going south and I wanted to get traded to a playoff contender. That was the calculus with me with the Nationals. This time around, I’m not going to be a free agent. I have another year here. We did great things last year. We won 101 ballgames last year. Unfortunately, this year it’s not.

“But with Steve and this organization, you can see a path forward. You can see a path to contend next year. That’s where the calculus is different.”

That option year could make it more difficult for the Mets to trade Scherzer unless the Mets agree to pay the rest of his $43.33 million contract this season. Cohen has shown a willingness to cover salaries in trades in order to obtain prospects. The Mets do not have a top farm system and they know they have to change that in order to contend in the future.

But without Scherzer, the 2024 rotation looks bleak.

“I wasn’t going to comment on this until Steve was going to sell, but we traded Robertson, and now we need to have a conversation,” Scherzer said. “I haven’t had that conversation yet, but I will.”

Alonso now has 30 bombs on the season and became the second player in franchise history to hit 30 or more home runs in four different seasons. Hall of Fame catcher Mike Piazza is the only other Mets player to accomplish the feat.

With Scherzer and left-hander MacKenzie Gore (6-9) deadlocked in a scoreless duel, Alonso put the Mets on the board in the fifth with a three-run second-decker. It went 453 feet to left center to put the Mets up 3-0.

The only run Scherzer allowed was a solo shot to Luis Garcia in the seventh.

“He gives up a home run to a guy that’s hitting pretty well, then gets right back on the horse,” said manager Buck Showalter. “Gets some key outs and shortens the game for us.”

Alonso retaliated with another monster two-run homer in the bottom of the frame. He took Rico Garcia back 423 feet to center field.

With a four-run lead, the Mets didn’t need Robertson, their former closer, but still went to their best high-leverage arm in left-hander Brooks Raley, who earned the save after the Mets traded Robertson one night prior. It might have been his final time in a Mets uniform.

We’ll learn a lot about the Mets in the coming days, but as for Friday, it was a feel-good win that followed a tough night.

“Every win needs something,” Alonso said. “We need to do what we can to win every ballgame… Keep trying like hell to win every night.”

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