Lindor delivers Mets' first 20-20 season in 15 years

August 15th, 2023

NEW YORK -- The Mets are out of the playoff picture, but don’t expect shortstop to go through the motions.

As a professional baseball player, Lindor feels he has to go on the field and give his best effort.

“I owe it to the fans, I owe it to my teammates, I owe it to this organization and I owe it to myself,” Lindor said. “I will go every day and give everything I have, no matter what.

“There is always a reason to play the game -- whether it’s to be better, be in the playoffs, for your numbers or for the young kid that saved money to come watch you play. There is a reason to play the game. So no matter what, you have to give it everything you got.”

On Monday night at Citi Field, Lindor’s best effort was good enough in New York’s 7-2 victory over the Pirates. He went 2-for-3, scored two runs and stole his 20th base of the season.

By stealing his 20th base, which came in the fifth inning on Pirates right-hander Quinn Priester, Lindor became the first member of the Mets to hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases in a season since Carlos Beltrán in 2008.

Lindor had no idea he notched a 20-20 season until teammate Daniel Vogelbach -- who homered in the second inning -- told him after the game.

“I thought I [needed] two more to get to 20 [stolen bases], but it’s pretty cool to be next to one of my role models growing up, somebody I tried to be like,” Lindor said. “I’m blessed to be in this position.”

Manager Buck Showalter was impressed by Lindor’s feat.

“That’s pretty good company,” the skipper said. “You have to step back and go through rosters for [15] years, and it will get your attention. It’s another very quiet milestone Lindor reaches to remind us all what a splendid player he is.”

Brandon Nimmo called Lindor professional in everything he does on and off the field.

“With him starting off a little slow, obviously, he was disappointed with it, but he never lets it affect him,” said Nimmo, who hit his 16th homer of the season in the sixth inning. “He always knows that it takes a long time to have a good season. He’s an unbelievable player, and I’m glad to have him on my team. He just shows up and is very professional every single day.”

When it comes to stealing bases in 2023, Lindor credits first-base coach Wayne Kirby and third-base coach Joey Cora for helping him be aggressive. Kirby and Cora have also told him to be aware whenever the ball bounces in the dirt.

“Kirby goes out there, does his homework and he lets me know [when to steal] when I’m on base. He helps me out,” Lindor said. “Yeah, I have the speed, but Kirby has the knowledge.”

For the season, Lindor is hitting .245 with 22 home runs, 70 RBIs, 74 runs scored, 20 stolen bases and a .798 OPS. But in his last 15 games, the bat has perked up, as he’s gone 20-for-55 (.364) with three home runs and eight RBIs.

“It’s been a long fight,” Lindor said. “Some fights have lasted a couple of rounds. Some fights go 12 rounds. This one seems like it’s going 12 rounds. So it’s been a long fight and a tough one.”