Home News Mets know London Stadium has reputation for high-scoring games; Brett Baty’s epic...

Mets know London Stadium has reputation for high-scoring games; Brett Baty’s epic journey



LONDON — Major League Baseball has staged four games in London since 2019, and if there was anything we learned from those games it’s that the ball absolutely flies in London Stadium.

However, that could change this year for the Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies. The Yankees and Red Sox played through a suffocating heat wave in 2019 and the weather was hot last year when the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals combined for 22 runs over two games. The weather is more typical for the area this year, with temperatures in the mid-60s and some clouds and drizzle expected.

Plus, the data from the 2019 series didn’t show any specific reason why the ball flew off the bat at such a ridiculous rate.

“When it was 6-6 in the first inning, we thought for sure something was up,” Adam Ottavino told the Daily News on Friday during the team’s workout. “But then when we looked at the ball data, there was nothing there.”

Still, the turf field and how it plays will be an important storyline.

“There’s no wind in here because [its] all enclosed, kind of, except for a hole in the ceiling, and then the outfield is just huge and the turf is a fast infield,” the Mets setup man said. “I just think it’s more so the conditions than anything. It’s nothing with altitude or anything, so I think it’s just mostly that the field conditions are just conducive to a lot of hits.”

Third baseman Mark Vientos is hoping to capitalize on favorable conditions.

“I have a feeling there are going to be a lot of home runs,” he said. “I feel like when [Europeans] think of baseball, they think of home runs.”

Here’s what else to watch for as the Mets face their NL East rivals for two games this weekend in London.

BATY BACK UP

Teams are allowed to carry a three-person taxi squad and one of those players can be used as the 27th man on the roster for international games. Right-hander Cole Sulser and catcher Joe Hudson are with the team as members of the taxi squad and third baseman Brett Baty was named the 27th man.

Baty was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse a week ago only to find himself traversing the eastern part of the U.S. in an attempt to meet the Mets before their Wednesday night charter flight to the U.K. He went from Syracuse to Atlanta (layover), to St. Paul, to New York (to pick up his passport) and down to Washington to meet the team.

“It’s been a crazy past couple of days,” Baty said. “But it’s a really cool trip and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

The Mets are having Baty take reps at second base in Syracuse. The plan is for him to get into a couple of games at the position, though it’s unclear whether those games would be in the Major or minor leagues. It’s also unclear whether the Mets intend to use Baty as a utility infielder moving forward.

Regardless, he’s embracing the opportunity.

“I love defensive versatility,” he said. “I’ve always loved it. I played a lot of different positions in high school and I love moving all around the field. It’s, it’s cool — it’s like a different game from other points of view.”

BALANCING THE BUSINESS

The Mets come into London riding a three-game winning streak and having won five of their last seven. However, it’s too soon to know whether or not they saved their season. They’re hoping a sweep of the Washington Nationals provided some momentum, but after the way they played in May and key players still down with injuries, it’s tough to know what to expect from the Mets at the moment

Manager Carlos Mendoza has emphasized that this week is about “business,” but the manager also wants the team to enjoy the experience of playing in a country many of them may not have otherwise visited.

It’s a tough balance, especially with family members on the trip and ceremonial events.

“I think it’s important, but that’s like every day in the Major Leagues,” Ottavino said. “You can’t take it for granted. It’s really cool to think where baseball takes you, even across the country. So it’s pretty neat, but it’s tough because at the same time, you’re aware of the challenge and you’re trying to perform.

“Where our team is right now, we need to win games. That’s always in the back of your mind.”

WHAT THEY’RE SEEING

After arriving early Thursday morning, trainers encouraged everyone to power through the day and avoid sleeping immediately to acclimate to the time zone. Players and families took the day to see the sights before coming together later for a team party.

J.D. Martinez, who was here with the Red Sox in 2019, acted as a tour guide Friday morning, taking a group of teammates to see the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. Others took double-decker bus tours.

Pete Alonso is especially intrigued by the food scene, asking for recommendations about where to get fish and chips and a Sunday roast on Saturday (the Mets depart for New York following Sunday’s game).

WHO IS HERE

Several former players are on hand for the festivities including David Wright, Mike Piazza, Daniel Murphy and Mookie Wilson.

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