Daniel Vogelbach hits grand slam in Mets win over Nationals

Daniel Vogelbach hits grand slam in Mets win over Nationals

WASHINGTON — Fair or not, much of the ink spilled over the Mets’ Trade Deadline strategy focused less on what the team had accomplished and more on what it didn’t do. The Mets didn’t get a catcher or a lefty reliever. They didn’t mimic the smashing moves of the Braves, Phillies, Padres and other National League rivals.

Still, CEO Billy Eppler emphasized that the front office has “made our club better” by improving on the margins with Daniel Vogelbach, Tyler Naquin, Darin Ruf and Mychal Givens. To prove it, Vogelbach hit a grand slam on Wednesday in the team’s 9-5 victory over the Nationals, putting him in a memorable game.That-boys list of players whose first long ball for the Mets was a slam.

“It’s always good to hit home runs,” Vogelbach said.

Mets whose first home run was a grand slam
• Daniel Vogelbach at Nationals, Aug 3, 2022
• Adrián González on Nationals, April 8, 2018
• Justin Ruggiano at Giants, August 18, 2016
• Taylor Teagarden vs. Brewers, June 10, 2014
• Collin Cowgill vs. Padres, April 1, 2013
• ngel Pagan vs. Cardinals, August 5, 2009
• Omir Santos vs. Marlins, April 27, 2009
• José Reyes at Angels, June 15, 2003
• Dave Marshall at Giants, April 28, 1970
• Jack Hamilton vs. Cardinals, May 20, 1967
• Carl Willey vs. Astros, July 15, 1963

In Vogelbach and Ruf, the Mets feel they have built a strong pack for a club that only received paltry DH contributions in the first four months of the season. Before the Vogelbach acquisition, the Mets were in the bottom third of the Majors in DH production as measured by OPS. Vogelbach has since moved the Mets to middle third place thanks to a start that reached base 16 times in 34 at bats.

He came into action at the Nationals Park on Wednesday with a .905 OPS against right-handed pitching. Ruf had a .886 OPS vs. lefties. The Mets’ hope is that together these two players can approach the production of an everyday player with an OPS near that latitude – a Pete Alonso or Juan Soto type, as it were.

Maybe it’s a pipe dream to believe that Vogelbach and Ruf can give the Mets superstar production in the DH position, but so far, so good. Vogelbach’s grand slam was the third of his career, coming on a Jordan Weems 97 mph fastball that he bent over the right field fence.

“If you look at their track record and why they were acquired, it’s pretty clear what we expect,” manager Buck Showalter said of Vogelbach and Ruf. “We’ve had some good things, but not as much as we’d like. We looked at a way to upgrade that a little bit, and we think those two guys have a really good track record from both sides of the record. It’s a real challenge for the other team.”

At the start of the season, the Mets seemed as well equipped as any other team to take advantage of the universal DH, with Robinson Canó, Dominic Smith and JD Davis all having a decent track record as batters. Other National League teams missed that advantage. But Canó performed so poorly that the Mets assigned him to assignment in early May. Smith received a Minor League relegation shortly afterwards and Davis proved unable to match his previous production as a right-handed half of a pack.

“It’s taking advantage of the opportunities you get,” said Ruf, who has spent much of his career in platoon situations in Philadelphia and San Francisco. “It’s very important — especially if you’re getting two or three at bats at the start of the game, or one or two at the end of the game — to be ready to go.”

During his first two weeks in Vlissingen, Vogelbach proved his willingness, despite contributing mainly singles and hikes. Vogelbach’s production was so light that Max Scherzer began berating him within the walls of the clubhouse, calling the 6-foot, 270-pound slugger a slaphitter.

Then on Wednesday, as Showalter put it, “Vogey had a big hit for us” — changing the story not just from Scherzer’s joke, but also a DH situation that the Mets believe has finally been resolved for the stretch run. .

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