The New York Mets made a big splash this offseason by trading for and then extending Francisco Lindor. Don’t kid yourself, you loved the move, we all did. What we did not expect is that it feels a lot like Robinson Cano 2.0, a lot of money for not a lot else. Cano actually hit better than Lindor in his first season too…
Francisco Lindor, the Mets black hole of the lineup
The doubleheader against the Brewers was a rollercoaster of emotions for fans and Lindor himself. In-game one we saw him flip his lid over striking out looking. My hunch is he was mad at himself. In-game two, in the most pivotal moment of the game, the bases loaded with no outs, a pitcher with no control, and the heart of the order up – what did he do? Lindor, yet again struck out looking.
The next two batters, Dom Smith and Pete Alonso, struck out swinging. They ultimately lost the game. Yes all three of them struck out, but Lindor started it.
Time and time again, Lindor is failing to get the bat off his shoulders or make solid contact in key moments of the game and with runners in scoring position. The thing is, he’s been a lot better lately, but that’s not saying much as he was batting well below .200 for the beginning of the year. In fact, Amed Rosario is having a better season than Lindor!
When Lindor struck out against a pitcher that was clearly on the ropes, he changed the whole feel and tone of the inning. The pitcher gained back a bit of confidence and the next two batters lost a little bit of that safety net. Now they could hit into a double play or now they are feeling more pressure to deliver because the momentum stopped.
Lindor is as cemented in the number two hole as is his bat is cemented to his shoulder. Nothing is budging and something has to give. The Mets offense cannot survive having a black hole get the second-most at-bats a game.
For a while, James McCann was an automatic double play or groundball. He’s been shifted around the lineup, even benched a bit, but it worked. He’s been much better.
Mets offense when clicking
The most fantastic part of watching the offense today was seeing the three great at-bats in a row by Brandon Nimmo, Jeff McNeil, and Jonathan Villar. All three battled and worked out a walk. All three, for the most part, give quality at-bats, and if you sub out Villar for Luis Guillorme, it’s the same effect.
If Rojas really wanted to give the current best batters the most at-bats and put the Mets in the position of three constant spark plugs in a row, the lineup can be constructed entirely different.
Nimmo, Villar, McNeil, Smith, Alonso, Conforto, Lindor, McCann would be most ideal right now. Those first four are giving great at-bats right now while Alonso has shown a knack for the big moment. Conforto is struggling but at least hitting the ball more often and Lindor, well, he’s been very disappointing. Batting him lower would take a lot of pressure off of him.
If you look over the series with the Yankees and the Brewers, you’d see that this team when right, lives and dies with Nimmo, Smith, and some combo of McNeil and Alonso. The team has not yet been carried by Lindor and by the looks of it, I’m afraid he won’t be doing that anytime soon.
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So much as Cano did in season two, let’s hope Lindor shows up to hit next year. Until then, get him out of that rally-killing two-hole!