This week in Boston, Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor was asked how much blame he should take for the New York team crash in the second half of the season. The Puerto Rican paused for a moment to ponder the question.
“I wear a lot,” Lindor said. “Yes, I put a lot on myself.”
Lindor is by no means the only reason why the Mets, a team that spent 90 consecutive days in first place in the NL East, now faces official elimination from the postseason fight.
On Wednesday, New York’s loss to the Red Sox reinforced that idea. Taijuan Walker saw his ERA decline to 7.74, the Mets made several mistakes and there were other failures. But Lindor understands his guilt partly from his own numbers and partly from the expectations of his $ 341 million contract.
“I thought we had a very good team coming into this season,” Lindor said. “We have collapsed and I have not given up, in particular. I know if I had played a little better, we could have won at least five or seven more games, which means we would be fighting for first place now. “
The Mets entered Friday 73-79 with 10 games remaining on the season.
It didn’t have to be that way. Heading into 2021, the Mets thought they could make a splash with a roster that included two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom, plus a talented group of “home grown” players and then Lindor.
What the Mets didn’t anticipate was the boos. As of June 2, Lindor was hitting .194 and listening to fan complaints at Citi Field. At the beginning of the campaign, the Puerto Rican had to hide a fight with Jeff McNeil saying that the discussion was about the identity of a rodent. He also spoke of his desire for the fans to boo him less. And then, after returning in August, he had to publicly apologize after thumbs-down gestures as a way to “boo” the fans themselves in Queens.
Lindor has improved at bat. In his last 18 games, he’s hitting .307 / .418 / .631 with six homers, 15 drives, 13 walks and 16 strikeouts.
“I feel better at the plate,” Lindor said. “Actually, I haven’t checked the numbers. I feel good. I feel like I’m helping the team, it’s a quality shift and pushing races — which I didn’t do the first two or three months of the year.
“I came here to win,” Lindor continued. “(It sucks) that we are not in a position (to be in first place). That (sucks), sure. But I think we have some fighting left ”.