Tuesday night was the kind of moment that Francisco Lindor was brought to Queens.
Down a run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth with men on first and second, the Mets’ star shortstop stepped to the plate with an opportunity to be the hero against St. Louis Cardinals closer Giovanny Gallegos.
Instead, the second leg of the doubleheader ended with Lindor striking out with a big hack on a 95-mph fastball down the heart of the plate rather than a shortened swing just to try and put the ball in play — something Lindor lamented after the game.
Asked whether or not he was trying to do too much, though, his manager Buck Showalter came to his struggling star’s defense.
“I hope so. I hope he’s trying to do a lot,” Showalter said. “We all are. I’m never going to take the “want-to” from him. Mechanically if he looks like he’s swinging too big or too little or too high or too low… these guys are trying to be perfect. That’s hard… He was trying to win the game for us.”
It was the final result of a disappointing 1-for-7 day at the plate for the 28-year-old — who is in the second year of his 10-year, $341 deal with the Mets — and the latest installment of a difficult May.
“It’s tough to say,” Lindor began on Tuesday night about he’s currently feeling at the dish. “I just struck out to end the [second] game. If you would’ve asked me after the first game, it would’ve been a different answer. I feel good.
In April, Lindor put together a promising 22-game start, slashing .282/.367/.482 with four home runs and 14 RBI. Upon the calendar’s flip to May, though, he’s batting just .150 with two round-trippers and eight runs batted in.
“I’m working, I’m doing whatever it takes,” he continued on how he’ll get out of this latest slump. “It’s just a part of the game, too. Pitchers have nice cars, too… I can only control how I go out with my process.”
The doubleheader saw Lindor hit a full season’s worth of games in a Mets uniform over his two years with the team (now 163 games entering Wednesday night), and his numbers aren’t necessarily at the level of a player possessing one of the richest contracts in baseball history.
Lindor is batting .229 in his Mets career with a .728 OPS, 26 home runs, and 85 RBI, but there’s plenty of time to turn things around, according to Showalter.
“He’s not at the level he spoiled us with for a little while. It’s really hard to do,” he said. “But I don’t worry about him. He’s playing a good shortstop, playing with great effort, engaged with every game, every inning. I’m real happy with him.
“What may not be happening perfectly now… he’ll figure it out.”
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