Mets’ Jeff McNeil snatches left-hander’s first homer in nearly three years
Jeff McNeil was unaware of the stat when it was presented to him, but it made him smile broadly.
McNeil’s home run to center field leading the fourth inning Tuesday night against Reds starter Mike Minor was his first home run against a left-handed pitcher in nearly three years. The previous one was on September 3, 2019 against Roenis Elias of the Nationals.
« Mac’s has always had a good track record with [hitting lefties] because he’s not trying to do too much,” manager Buck Showalter said after the Mets’ 6-2 victory over the Reds. “He put a really good swing on that ball. He hit 23 homers in one year. I think people see a guy choke on the bat, but he’ll ambush you in no time. He hit a lot of big home runs for us. He just doesn’t back down, he chases the hits every time he’s in the box. You don’t see him wasting at bat.
McNeil is a career .291 hitter against left-handers, not far off his mark of .304 against right-handers, but Tuesday’s homer was only the fifth of his 44 career homers to come off a left-handed pitcher.
« Against a southpaw, I just try not to overdo it, » McNeil said. « A little harder at bat, but I got to 1-0 [in the count]and I was looking for a fastball and I got air under it and it came out.
Mets closer Edwin Diaz and his brother, Reds reliever Alexis Diaz, released their respective squad roster cards ahead of the game. Several of their family members were in attendance at Citi Field during the series, many wearing specially designed split jerseys with half Mets and half Reds colors and logos.
Mark Canha was hit by a pitch in the seventh inning, giving the Mets an MLB-high 76 pitch hits on pace to break the club record of 95, set in 2019.
« I thought we were losing momentum, now I guess we’re ahead again, » Showalter said. “It has something to do with how they hit, kinda. That’s also what they’re good for. This is something that is quite obvious to me. Our guys are not moving.
Showalter said reliever Tommy Hunter (fullback) is expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment and should be « on schedule to return in time » from the injured list on Aug. 21. … Dom Smith (ankle) also continued his rehab mission with Triple-A Syracuse, going 1 for 4.