Hot Francisco Lindor eager to see Citi Field: ‘Maybe I don’t get booed’
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SAN DIEGO — Francisco Lindor can hardly wait for the Mets’ return to Citi Field next weekend, given the manner in which he is producing on this road trip.
“I finally have some success on my side, and hopefully I continue this to help the team win. Hopefully we get more W’s on this road trip, and when I get home maybe I don’t get booed,” Lindor said.
He entered Saturday night as one of the few Mets producing consistently at the plate. He owned a .400/.419/.600 slash line during a seven-game hitting streak, his best stretch of the season after he had disappeared for most of the first two months.
Even his outs have been hit with authority. Before Lindor ended Blake Snell’s no-hit bid on Friday with a seventh-inning single, there was his previous at-bat, in which he sent a shot to the warning track in center field. He has become less pull-happy recently, using the whole field, and perhaps seeing the ball better.
“I am giving myself time to hit, and that is pretty much it,” Lindor said. “This whole entire time, I have been trying to see the ball and put my body in a good position to hit the baseball. My body wasn’t getting into a good position, and now I’m in a good position to hit the ball. My mind wanted to do something, but since I wasn’t in that good hitting position, I couldn’t do it. Right now, I’m there.”
Lindor’s surge included four multi-hit games, allowing him to raise his OPS from .555 to .629 in just over a week. A batting average that sat below the Mendoza line for almost all of May reached .217, its highest point since April 22.
“What I like the most is he’s staying to the big part of the field, and he’s been carrying over game-to-game,” manager Luis Rojas said. “I think the majority of his hits, if not all this week, have been to that area, left-center, right-center … he is trusting driving the ball that way, and he’s going to get results. Not forcing trying to pull everything, I think getting away from that has been helping, and he’s trusting more and more.”
This four-game series against the Padres, which continued Saturday, has allowed Lindor to connect with two other mega-stars with contracts worth north of $300 million: San Diego’s Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr. Of the two, Lindor is closest with Machado.
“Machado is a great player, he’s been doing it for a long time, longer than me, and he set the bar,” Lindor said. “He set the bar with how you play, Gold Gloves and free agency. We definitely talked when I was going through my process, and I congratulated him when he went through his process, and he did the same thing to me.”
Lindor noted that he and Machado both grew up in Florida and played against each other in high school.
“I respect him, he’s a good player and I wish him nothing but the best,” Lindor said.
Though Lindor received a $341 million contract extension before the season and Tatis got $340 million from the Padres, the Mets shortstop says the two shouldn’t be linked by those figures.
“The number is very similar, but two different contract,s and today when we were on the bases, I was saying Tatis is more on the wild side than me. I am a little calmer when running the bases — he is a very exciting player to watch, he is more daring. It’s fun to watch him and see him do his things.
“He can do things that I can’t do and vice versa. There’s things I can do that he can’t. Respect to him, he’s a fun player to watch and I’m just excited to watch this team. This is an exciting team, I like watching them play.”
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