Shohei Ohtani's productivity at the plate in the aftermath of the injury that ended his time on the mound for at least this season was the story in the Los Angeles Angels' first two games against the New York Mets.
But as the Mets try to avoid being swept in Sunday afternoon's series finale, some of the attention on Ohtani will shift to Pete Alonso and how New York may react to the latest beaning of its star first baseman.
Ohtani had two hits, two runs scored and stole two bases Saturday night for the Angels, who scored five times in the first two innings and held on for a 5-3 win. He is 3-for-5 with three runs scored, five walks and two stolen bases in the opening two games — the first for Los Angeles since announcing Ohtani suffered a torn UCL in his right elbow while pitching against the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday.
Ohtani's early flirtation with a cycle Saturday — he doubled and tripled in his first two at-bats — was overshadowed in the eighth inning, when Alonso was hit on the back of the neck by Jose Soriano's 86-mph curveball.
After a few moments on the ground, Alonso sprang up and appeared to exchange words with Angels catcher Logan O'Hoppe before benches and dugouts cleared. There were no punches thrown and the rest of the game was played without incident.
"I was just trying to defuse the situation," O'Hoppe said. "I told him we're not trying to hit him."
Alonso, who left for pinch runner Danny Mendick and passed the initial concussion protocol, wasn't available for comment after the game. He has been plunked a major-league-leading 17 times this season and 29 times since the start of 2022.
Alonso missed 10 games in June after being hit on the wrist by a pitch thrown by the Atlanta Braves' Charlie Morton. He was hit at or near the head multiple times last season, including against the St. Louis Cardinals on April 26, 2022, one day before the teams had a benches-clearing fracas.
"Somewhere along the line, there's got to be something to pay for that, whether it be from the league office or something," Mets manager Buck Showalter said, "You're seeing it every night. These guys are ducking 100-mph fastballs all over baseball, but especially Pete. And I'm not happy about it at all, I haven't been happy about it, trust me."
Peterson didn't factor into the decision on Monday night, when he surrendered four runs in 4 2/3 innings in the Mets' 10-4 win over the Atlanta Braves. He earned the win in his lone appearance against the Angels on June 10, 2022, allowing one run over 2 2/3 innings of relief in New York's 7-3 victory.
Canning last pitched on Aug. 19, when he earned the win after allowing one run over 3 1/3 innings of relief as the Angels beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 7-6, in the first game of a doubleheader. He will be making his first start since July 25, when he gave up two runs over five innings and didn't factor into the decision in Los Angeles' 7-6, 10-inning win over the Detroit Tigers.
Canning has never opposed the Mets.
—Field Level Media