Francisco Lindor can add an innate ability to find the silver lining within a troubling situation to a lengthy resume that includes his standing as one of the best shortstops in Major League Baseball.
That’s one of the only ways he can justify the Mets’ slow start this season, the latest coming in a series loss to the Chicago Cubs that featured a comedy of errors in a 16-4 loss Wednesday night.
Yet the Mets are still at the top of the National League East despite toeing the .500 line as they approach just their 15th game of the season.
“It’s great that it’s happening now,” Lindor said. “It’s not good that we’re losing games, let’s not get that mixed up. But it’s great that it’s happening now because we’re continuing to learn, we’re continuing to know each other.”
Those growing pains were on full display Wednesday when the Mets committed four errors in the field, including Lindor booting a grounder and throwing it away before miscommunicating with second baseman Jeff McNeil on a playable groundball up the middle that listed lazily into the outfield for a base hit.
It certainly spoiled a night in which Lindor cracked his first home run as a Met.
“Now McNeil knows right there, I know how close he’s going to be,” Lindor said of the teachable moment. “I’d much rather this happen now than in spring training than in September fighting for a playoff spot or if we’re in the playoffs, God willing.”
Regardless, the Mets’ defense was always going to be closely watched as it was compromised in order to get the best bats possible into the lineup. Lindor, however, is considered the best defender they have.
“Defense is extremely important. Why? because the pitcher is working as hard as he can,” he said. “He wants to get out of the inning, especially how cold it is [in Chicago], his fingers are numb, he makes a great pitch to get out of the inning, and I don’t help him out. That doesn’t make me a happy person.”
It doesn’t make many Mets fans happy, either, especially when an imposing-looking offense continues to struggle, averaging the fewest runs per game in all of Major League Baseball.
“When it comes to hitting, it’s not good when you spend three, four, five days in a slump with everyone at the same time,” Lindor said. “We don’t give ourselves a chance to win.
“That being said, we turn the page because we have to in baseball, but we remember it, make the adjustments, and get better.”