Mets' Pete Alonso follows through on a two-run home run...

Mets' Pete Alonso follows through on a two-run home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023, in St. Louis. Credit: AP/Jeff Roberson

ST. LOUIS — Earlier this summer, mired in what he described as the worst slump of his major-league career, Pete Alonso did what struggling hitters with premier work ethics do: toil in the batting cage, get in deep on the video, agonize over the minutia of the mechanics and feel of his swing, and wonder about his equipment.

And then he realized that maybe that was too much. To get back to being his regular productive self — which he has lately — Alonso “simplified everything,” he said, and learned to “give myself some grace.”

The result has been a .287 average and 1.063 OPS over the previous four weeks heading into the Mets’ series opener with the Cardinals on Thursday. A fourth-inning long ball off Adam Wainwright brought Alonso’s season totals to 37 home runs and 91 RBIs, putting him on pace for 49 and 121, respectively — awfully Alonso-like numbers, brutally cold stretch and all.

“It’s basically just really trying to look at everything through a really simple lens,” Alonso said before the game. “Sometimes less is more. Sometimes you can overprepare, you can overanalyze, you can think too much. Sometimes thinking too much and overanalyzing, you can get in your own way at times. I definitely feel like I was going down the rabbit hole too much. But less is more at times. That was a perfect case for that.”

Hitting coach Jermey Barnes said: “Pete never stopped being an awesome hitter. Sometimes you start focusing on the wrong things at the wrong time, you start pressing a little much, you try doing all different things. It’s just getting back to keeping it simple, let’s get back to our routine, let’s stay super simple with what we’re doing in there.”

Barnes praised Alonso for “taking small wins,” like an opposite-field single on July 20, the start of the previously mentioned four-week stretch, and a seemingly mundane moment that Alonso has cited as a turning point.

If he could view a random bloop or a measly RBI as progress, Barnes explained, it would be easier to move another tiny step forward the following day.


Then you blink and Alonso had three multi-homer games in a span of 13 games.

“There’s a point when all this stuff happens, that it’s not going well, but you don’t necessarily feel bad. It’s kind of fresh,” Barnes said. “Then you endure a point where it’s like, 'OK, I’m in it at this point. I’m here and I’m in it.'

“Once you get there, you gotta find a way to get a win. We can’t go out and hold ourselves to a ‘I should hit two home runs tonight’ standard, because we’re fighting right now. So he started doing a good job of that.”

This is part of a new phase of Alonso’s career, one in which he is a bona fide veteran, nearing the end of his fifth season in the majors. Simplifying his work — and going back to the “see ball, hit ball” life motto from his rookie season and prior — might be a regular thing.

“With more time, you gain more knowledge,” he said. “Sometimes more knowledge isn’t necessarily a good thing. It’s about just applying the basics.”

One other recent loose thread related to Alonso, at a time when everything he does on the field is viewed in the context of possible long-term contract talks and/or his free agency after next season: On Aug. 1, the day of the trade deadline, general manager Billy Eppler said he intended to “sit down with Pete” within the next few days.

Alonso said Thursday that hasn’t happened, but that that is fine.

“We haven’t talked about the big-picture stuff yet, but honestly, it’s probably best to let the year ride out and have that conversation in the offseason,” he said. “There’s still a lot of ball left. There’s a lot that could still happen, so don’t really want to have that end-of-the-year conversation in the middle of the year. I’d rather have that at the end of the year. Forty-something games [to go], but who’s counting?”

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