Adrian Gonzalez picked the right time to launch his first home run as a New York Met. His grand slam in Sunday’s 6-5 win against the Washington Nationals was the difference maker that helped the Mets towards a three-game sweep.
“These are big,” Gonzalez said about the victories over Washington. “For us to come in here and do what we did this series is a big momentum booster and keeps us rolling.”
There were a lot of question marks surrounding Gonzalez at the start of the year.
With the veteran coming off an injury-riddled 2017, many were pulling for Dominic Smith to compete and win the job to start the year at first base. Once those dreams were dashed just several days into Spring Training, Gonzalez de facto won the job.
In just the first week of the season, the Mets have come out guns blazing, with someone in the line up acting as the new hero each night. With that being said, it would be foolish to ignore Gonzalez’s major contributions.
His slash line going into Sunday’s contest was .278/.409/.333, which has been coupled with solid defense at first.
Apart from his grand slam on Sunday, he also bailed Todd Frazier out on the final play of the game, scooping a ball in the dirt to help preserve the Mets victory.
“My warmers in my pocket were not warm anymore,” Frazier joked.
Gonzalez’s grand slam reaffirmed his sentiments from Spring Training where he said his back felt good and that he still had some gas left in the tank.
It showed when he buried a Tanner Roark fastball into the right field seats that made Nats fans everywhere want to bury themselves alive.
“I was just looking for something middle of the plate,” Gonzalez said. “Bases loaded, (Roark) kept nibbling and trying to pick at the corners, so I was trying not to think too much and just focus on something middle. He threw a fastball inside and I was able to get the barrel through.”
While it’s still early, it’s encouraging to see this kind of power and production, especially from a guy who’s coming off of a back injury and was such a crap shoot coming into the year.
Has he solidified himself as a permanent fixture at first? Not quite. The long-term plan still has Smith carrying the Mets into the future, but Gonzalez has done more than enough in the meantime and is still able to come up big when it counts.
The Mets couldn’t have asked for more from Gonzalez, who is on a mission to prove the naysayers wrong and so far, he has.