Nimmo, Lindor show their star power in Mets' win

July 10th, 2024

NEW YORK -- , despite spending much of the last decade as one of the National League’s more accomplished outfielders, has never made an All-Star team. , despite four straight appearances earlier in his career with Cleveland, has never done so as a Met.

One needs little more than a quick peek at a stat sheet to deduce that this year, surely, one or the other (or both) could represent the Mets in Texas. But when Major League Baseball released its All-Star rosters on Sunday, neither Nimmo nor Lindor made the cut.

One important caveat: They could still qualify as injury replacements. Until or unless that happens, however, all they can do is continue mashing baseballs -- as both did Tuesday in a 7-5 win over the Nationals at Citi Field. Lindor hit a go-ahead single in the second inning, added a two-run homer in the sixth, finished with three hits and reached base four times, while Nimmo crushed a three-run shot to give the Mets a heavy early advantage that they never relinquished despite continued bullpen issues.

The Mets haven’t always been able to overcome such relief problems. That they did on this night was a credit to Jose Quintana, who fired seven scoreless innings to lower his ERA to 0.89 over his last five starts. But it was also clearly due to Lindor and Nimmo, who have been torrid since moving to the first and second spots in New York’s lineup around mid-May (in Lindor’s case) and mid-June (Nimmo’s).

Consider nothing more than the objective evidence. On the season, Nimmo ranks:

As for Lindor, he sits:

  • 1st among NL shortstops in home runs
  • 1st in Win Probability Added
  • 2nd in fWAR
  • 2nd in runs scored
  • 2nd in RBIs
  • 4th in OPS
  • 4th in wRC+
  • 4th in wOBA

An advanced degree on the above statistics is unnecessary to understand the conclusion they draw: Both Nimmo and Lindor have been really, really good, especially relative to their peers at their respective positions.

“It starts with, they are great players,” Mets manager Carlos Mendoza said. “They’ve been doing it for a long time. The way they are impacting the baseball and driving the ball to all fields … that tells you that they’re seeing the ball well and they’re great players.”

Tuesday, Lindor opened the scoring with an opposite-field RBI single to left in the second inning, before pulling his two-run homer over the right-field fence in the sixth -- and all that damage came against Nationals starter Jake Irvin, who had blanked the Mets over eight innings last week in Washington. Nimmo followed Lindor’s second-inning single with a three-run homer to the opposite field, which is where he’s lived in recent weeks. Four of Nimmo’s last six homers have gone the other way.

It’s easy, then, to paint a picture of both players not just as red-hot, but as complete hitters who have lifted the Mets back into NL contention. Yet neither are All-Stars.

“I thought I had a pretty dang good shot, so I was pretty surprised when I wasn’t on there,” Nimmo said. “Statistically speaking, I’m usually pretty truthful with myself … and in a lot of the categories that matter, I’m up there in NL outfielders. So yeah, definitely was surprised when that didn’t happen.”

For both Nimmo and Lindor, it still can, given the inevitability of injury substitutions that happen every year. But that doesn’t mean it will -- a reality both men understand.

“This is something that I’m kind of ready to turn the page,” Lindor said. “I would love to be in the All-Star Game, yes. It would be an honor and a privilege to represent the organization, to represent the teammates, to represent the family.”

Lindor glanced around the clubhouse before continuing. “But I’m focused on this. It’s something that I don’t want to continue to talk about, because at the end of the day, it is what it is. If I go, I’ll have an amazing time. … And if I don’t go, I’ll go home and enjoy my daughters, my mom and dad, my sisters, my nieces. And I’ll have a good time either way.”