Let’s start with the facts.
Francisco Lindor has a .238 batting average for the Mets, a team for which he has played 220 games heading into this week’s subway series with the crosstown Yankees. His .741 OPS with the Mets is significantly lower than his .833 over six years with Cleveland. He’s striking out more than ever, hitting fewer line drives, and, in his year and change with the Mets, is more than 50 points below his career average.
What he is doing is also brilliant in calculating statistics. As of Tuesday morning, his 66 RBI ranks sixth in Major League Baseball. He has 16 home runs, the second most of any National League shortstop. Lindor is one of only 10 players to reach 15 homers and 10 stolen bases so far this season. By Wins Above Replacement — which is also a count — is the Mets’ shortstop 10th most valuable player in NL.
So why does it feel like the Mets, their fans, their front office, and Lindor himself are still waiting for him to recapture the form he showed in the first six years of his illustrious career? Why does it seem like the return on investment hasn’t happened yet?
For one thing, a 10-year, $341 million contract is a pretty impossible standard. But at the same time, his first year in Flushing ended very unceremoniously, as the Mets went 29-45 after the All-Star break and Lindor missed much of July and August with an injury. , he has yet to have his big Mets moment. Yet.
The closest thing to a prime-time home game on September 12, 2021 was a three-homer game. Playing the same team he would face on Tuesday and Wednesday, Lindor retired three different Yankee pitchers, collecting dingers from both sides of the plate as the final homer of the night put the Mets ahead for good in the bottom of the eighth. , and also turned Citi Field into a madhouse, with fans jumping the dugout and waving the Puerto Rican flag as Lindor made his way around the bases.
The win, cool as it was, only brought the Mets to 72-72. This year’s first installment of the Subway Series gives Lindor another chance to impress the Yankees, but also leave an impact on more meaningful games. After this enthralling, four-hour affair, Mets manager Luis Rojas (now on the other side, officiating). Third base coach for the Yankees), a prediction.
“This is the Francisco that we’ve all come to expect, and this is the Francisco that Mets fans are going to see for years.” Rosas said in shock.
“He had a great performance,” added Yankees captain Aaron Boone. “A great player ended a great night and that was the difference in the end.” These games are huge, so when you lose them, it stings, and when you win, it’s great.”
This sentiment will surely be righted again for the next couple of days. It may sound silly to understate the importance of a two-game interleague series in July, but for everyone on the field, these games will be important. While New York City bragging rights are always fun, both teams also need some wins to feel themselves again.
The Mets are fresh off a series loss to the Padres in which their bat shut out the first two and a half games, adding to the chatter about their need at the trade deadline. The Yankees are 5-8 in their last 13 games and are losing relievers left and right to injury. Someone has to rise up and make this game about them, do something that sparks a rally and snatches victory from the jaws of defeat.
Lindor is a perfect candidate for that, and if 2022 goes the Mets’ way, his performance during the Subway Series will probably go down as one of the best opening acts on tour.