Starling Marte is arguably the NY Mets’ most valuable player. here’s why

MIAMI — Starling Marte barely breaks a sweat as he rounds second base and advances to third with a game-tying two-run triple.

Marte glides over the 270 feet with relative ease after burning a two-out line drive into the right-center gap. These days, Marte makes attacking just as easy.

It didn’t matter that he faced National League favorite Cy Young Sandy Alcantara. On his next at-bat, Marte got fired up and responded with a solo home run on a 97.8 mph fastball on the next pitch to tie the Mets up again.

Throughout the night, the 33-year-old Mets outfielder continued to show why he is one of the team’s most valuable assets. He went 3-for-5 with a triple, a home run and three RBIs to set the tone in the Mets’ 6-4 win over the Marlins on Friday night at LoanDepot Park.

Starling Marte of the New York Mets celebrates as he crosses home plate after hitting a home run in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Friday, July 29, 2022, in Miami.

Brandon Nimmo provided the big blast — a two-run home run off Steven Okert in the eighth inning — but it was Marte who set the stage for the Mets’ fourth straight win.

“He’s amazing. You see him like me. He shoots everything,” Nimmo said. “He’s only swinging on strikes. It’s amazing. He’s on a roll right now. It’s something you dream of doing when you’re in the big leagues. Keep riding that wave, mate, as long as you can.”

Speed, clutch and productivity were on point again for Marte, who ripped through July even despite a missed streak with groin tightness. He’s 29 of 73 (.397) with four home runs, 10 RBIs and nine runs in 18 games this month. In 11 games, he had at least two hits during that streak.

“I have to be grateful to the people I worked with,” Marte said through a translator. “I trusted them to really focus on the little details so I could get the same results every day. It’s really about consistency and I don’t want to lose that focus day after day.”

With a National League-leading 84 RBI this season, Pete Alonso deserves the MVP chants he’s received this season, but Marte once again proved his worth on Friday night.

Overall, he leads the Mets with a .305 batting average, to go with 11 homers, 46 RBIs and 57 runs. His .835 OPS is second on the team behind Pete Alonso. And he provided essential protection for Nimmo at the top of the Mets roster.

Since the All-Star break, Marte has batted .423, and he’s provided some of the team’s greatest hits.

Marte’s solo home run kicked off the Mets in Tuesday’s win over the Yankees, and he dispatched Eduardo Escobar with an RBI single to close out a Subway Series sweep the following day.

“It feels good to have guys on a team like this who want to go out there and compete, guys who go out and hustle each other every day,” Marte said. “That’s what every team wants. It doesn’t matter the results, but being able to go out there and compete and try to win games, that’s really the most important part and we’re all part of that. proud.”

His 3.1 WAR (wins over substitution) was second only to Max Scherzer (3.3) entering the series with the Marlins. Marte also has 11 hits since 2014, which is the most of any Major League Baseball player in that span.

Marte’s defense shouldn’t be overlooked either. He has one of the most feared weapons in the outfield in the major leagues.

The Mets fall for Sandy Alcantara

Going into the night, there were plenty of reasons to assume that Alcantara was one of the best weapons in the game.

He boasted an NL best ERA of 1.81 and the second best NL WHIP (.90) to go along with 133 strikeouts in 144⅓ innings.

Miami Marlins' Sandy Alcantara delivers a pitch in the first inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets, Friday, July 29, 2022, in Miami.

But for the second time this season, the Mets have proven they can hit one of MLB’s best pitchers. After hitting four earned runs in a 5-3 win in June, their offense continued to give Alcantara headaches on Friday night.

In the third inning, Mark Canha hit a one-out double to the corner of right field before Nido forced a nine-pitch walk. That set the stage for an RBI double from Nimmo at immediate center and the two-run triple from Marte that erased a 3-0 Marlins lead.

“We have a lot of respect for him, but when we managed to match blow for blow, I really felt that this game was one we had to try to win at all costs,” said Nimmo. “When you’re able to reach a guy like that, it means a lot.”

Alcantara needed 29 pitches to get past the first two innings. After Marte’s tying home run, an eight-pitch at-bat from Pete Alonso and back-to-back hits from Daniel Vogelbach and Jeff McNeil inflated Alcantara’s pitch count to 100 after five innings.

He came out after the frame, posting his shortest start since May 6, with 14 starts between the two.

“We had to grind it. We had to do it,” Buck Showalter said. “We probably caught him on one of those very rare days when he wasn’t normal, but you have to take advantage of that too.”

Brandon Nimmo breaks his skid

Nimmo let out a few screams as he leapt into the dugout after his two-run home run in the eighth inning.

The Mets center fielder struggled in the second half of July, collecting just five hits in his previous 34 appearances in the last eight games entering Friday. The reaction matched his relief

“It’s a real desire to want to help guys and help and contribute offensively,” Nimmo said. “When I got it, I was pretty ecstatic, pretty happy.”

Nimmo broke in major fashion, going 2-for-5 with a double, homer, two runs and three RBIs. It was Nimmo’s first multi-hit game since July 14.

But he also realizes that he’s not quite “out of the woods” yet, either.

“That’s obviously a positive note to build on, but you also don’t show up on the pitch the next day and think you’ve got it all figured out,” Nimmo said. “It’s still a work in progress. We will still try to improve. It’s a step in the right direction.”

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