Lindor, Mets keeping stretch run in perspective

September 10th, 2022

MIAMI -- Skids happen. The Mets are going through one right now; but it’s not time to hit the panic button.

As shortstop said, “It's baseball. You know you're going to win some [and] you're going to lose some.”

New York was on the losing end on Friday night, falling, 6-3, in the series opener vs. Miami at loanDepot park. But with barely a month left in the season and New York in a stretch of series against teams below .500, the statistical odds are in the Mets’ favor -- even if they’ve lost four of their past six games and are battling the Braves for control of the NL East.

“We don't look at it that way,” manager Buck Showalter said when asked about this being the so-called easy part of the Mets’ schedule. “You're facing some of the best pitchers in baseball. That's something that's very common to say and what everybody thinks, and I can see why they might look at it that way. But we certainly don't look at it that way. And it's kind of disrespectful to the team you're playing.”

What hurt the Mets on Friday was in part their pitching -- went 3 2/3 innings while allowing three runs on five hits and two walks, forcing New York to go to the bullpen earlier than is ideal. More than that, though, it was squandered offensive opportunities that hurt the club, including one in particular that could have been a game-changer.

With the bases loaded and one out in the top of the seventh inning, Lindor stepped to the plate. The Mets trailed, 4-3. The Marlins brought in Steven Okert to face the New York shortstop.

Lindor entered the night 3-for-4 in situations with the go-ahead run on base and the bases loaded this season, and those three hits were all for extra bases (two doubles and a triple). Instead, he grounded into an inning-ending double play.

“[Okert] executed; Hats off to him,” Lindor said. “It was a big moment for both sides. Probably a turning point of the game right there. And, you know, he executed, and I didn't come through. So that's on me.”

It wasn’t just Lindor, though. There were missed opportunities across the board. The Mets went 1-for-3 with runners in scoring position and stranded six, sending the minimum to the plate in four innings. had the lone hit with RISP, when he singled in the third inning with on second base. Then,  went yard in the fifth, his second homer of the month, for two runs (Nimmo had walked to lead off the inning).

“The opportunities we had [were frustrating],” Showalter said. “We started out a little slower and got some things going. We just couldn't cash them in like we need to.”

So, where do the Mets go from here? They learn from their mistakes and grow. They continue to play baseball, focus on enjoying the sport and keep grinding. At least, that’s what Lindor expects. And, above all else, they find those ways to win games while keeping the ultimate prize in the back of their minds.

“It's baseball,” Lindor reiterated. “We click at the right time, anything's possible. If you look at the teams that won the World Series the past couple of years, those teams usually haven't had that upshoot season -- it's tough to win 110 games and still win the World Series. The ultimate goal is to win the last game of the year.”