With 11 games left, at least the Mets can use the remaining reason to freeze their bruises.

On Wednesday afternoon, during another a lackluster loss for the Brewers, the Mets finally broke the record they had been trying to avoid all season. Or at least wanted to avoid, as one member of the Mets showed no interest in avoiding the pitches that so consistently drilled them.

“I’m closer to the plate and I’m not moving” Mark Canha saidwhose 24 hits this year are the most on a team that now has more hits than any other in the live-ball era.

Canha had two hits Wednesday and three hits in three games in Milwaukee. He escaped the Midwestern city nursing a few baseball-sized blemishes, but also set a new franchise record for strikeouts, surpassing Brandon Nimmo’s 22 in 2018.

“There are plenty of pitchers now,” Kanha sighed. “It just works out that way.”

The team record holder found himself at the top of the ninth event on Wednesday when Luis Guillorme hit the Mets’ 106th home run of the season. Notably, it was the first time Guillermo had been hit by a pitch in a major league game, making him the 17th other Met to be on the sore end of someone’s wayward pitch.

“I got the ball,” said Buck Showalter, the manager whose reaction is to all infield pitches become a popular meme.

“It would be indecent to say what I will do with it. I gave it to the hitting coaches. They can do whatever they want. None of it is intentional. There’s obviously a problem somewhere.”

Showalter has been adamant all season that pitchers who inflict so much physical pain on his hitters aren’t doing it on purpose. He advertised a “pretty good eye” for such things. Because of this, he went up to the bullpen a few times, but never formally started talking about baseballs being too hard to hold. Chris Bassitt touched on the subject earlier in the season, saying the league has “a very big problem with baseballs” and isn’t particularly inclined to address it.

“They are bad. Everyone knows that.” Basit said in April. “Every pitcher in the league knows that. MLB doesn’t give a damn. They don’t care.”

The Mets went through most of the season in a strange way, without a problem that didn’t actually take anyone out. When Nationals outfielder Steve Cishek broke Francisco Linda’s tooth with an up-and-in pitch during the second game of the year, the shortstop was back in the lineup the very next day. They went all the way through September before suffering a major blow when Starling Marte suffered a broken finger in Pittsburgh (his 13th of the year). That happened more than two weeks ago, and Marte hasn’t played since, raising some skepticism about whether he’ll play at all in the rest of the regular season.

“It’s disappointing,” Showalter told reporters on Wednesday. “I have some personal feelings about why this happens so often. But I’m sure MLB doesn’t want to hear about it in that format.”

“Of course we’re disappointed,” Kanha agreed. “It’s not so good what happened to your team.”

As early as the third week of the season, the Mets were poised to break the record set by the 2021 Cincinnati Reds. Canha and Marte are also no strangers to this life. Both had at least five different seasons where they were hit ten or more times. Marte now has seven such seasons on his Baseball-Reference page and ranks second among active players in career HBP, behind only Anthony Rizzo. Kanha ranks eighth in this list.

“When you acquire a guy, part of the material is a percentage basis,” Showalter explained. “Part of the conversation is hit with tars, but to get tarred, you run the risk of getting in trouble. Our guys just don’t give. That’s not what they do, it’s just wild pitches. I mean, you see [the pitches]. They’re not close to the plate, they’re all the way across the batter’s box.

“I can’t explain it,” Kanha said. “We have a lot of good strikers, dangerous strikers. You have to pitch with good hitters. We are often beaten. It’s hard to explain, I don’t know why. It’s like a broken record at the moment. We just roll our eyes when it happens now and move on. There’s nothing you can do but capitalize on it.”

Maybe these new-look Mets, who did a brilliant job of rebuilding the team in the offseason, have some kind of fishing rod that makes pitchers run over them and break balls back into their ribs. As annoying as it is, there’s also an element of head-shaking, almost humorous disbelief about the whole thing.

The fact that the phenomenon started in April and has not stopped at all is impressive. So is the stretch where the Mets have been hit 106 times and no other team has hit 100 times or even 90. As of Thursday morning, the San Francisco Giants are tied for second in the league with 89 hits. Lindor and Guillermo are also the only Mets (not including rookies) to post career highs in that category this year. It’s not that everyone gets hit more often, pitchers just spread the beans around in a very committed manner.

Then again, there are 11 more games to go, which means every additional hit in an inning increases the Mets’ MLB record, allows some of these players to achieve personal bests, and unfortunately creates more opportunities for nagging injuries.

If that happens, don’t expect Showalter to remain so flippant about it all.



Previous articleAnalysis: Redrawn districts add uncertainty to legislative contests | News
Next articleThe Colin R. McLean Memorial Softball Tournament is set for Saturday