Francisco Lindor’s quick start doesn’t just impress the Mets

WASHINGTON — Francisco Lindor began the season-opening series by asking the right questions and ended it with an explanation.

It still wasn’t enough to stop the Mets from losing an eighth-inning lead on Sunday and losing 2-4 to the Nationals, but Lindor’s quick, comfort-inducing start could be more important than one in the long run been a four-game sweep.

The four-time All-Star shortstop hit his first home run and stole his first base on Sunday and emerged from the streak with four walks, three runs scored, two RBIs and 1.054 OPS to hit a .250. There was a lot more to the weekend than the chilling scene where Lindor took a fastball off his chin and narrowly avoided a serious injury as the benches were cleared in game two.

“Not many people would have played in the next two days after what happened,” manager Buck Showalter said. “Sometimes people – not just Francisco but players in general – miss the kind of moxie you need to have to keep playing this game when you can get into danger very quickly.”

Francisco Lindor Homer during the Mets’ loss to the Nationals on Sunday.

A year ago, Lindor hit under .200 with .595 OPS on June 1 — nearly 50 games after his Mets debuted. But Lindor impressed Showalter from that opening day when he went 1-for-5 with an RBI single.

“Lindor asks so many good questions in the dugout,” Showalter said that night. “He can easily catch the manager off guard. You have to be careful.”

Not Lindor’s intention. He peppered Showalter with various scenarios that might appear in a game, such as where to position yourself and where to go with the ball if the Nationals had runners on the corners and superstar Juan Soto at bat late in the count.

“I’m just trying to run through different scenarios to see what his answer is and to see if his answer matches my answer,” Lindor said. “Starting the year, third inning, are we going to give up a run or not give up? How aggressive do we want to be? That should tell me how aggressive we’re going to be later in the year. [Showalter] been in the game longer than me, he’s smarter than me. Why not learn from him?”

The Mets’ aggressiveness backfired a few times during the Nationals’ three-day rally in the eighth inning. Lindor had to come out of the second base bag to stretch for a wide throw from Pete Alonso, so the Mets didn’t stand a chance in what could have been a double play late in the inning to tie the tie — or at least one Second – out grounder when Alonso would have just touched first base to play it safe.

Francisco Lindor

Lindor said he often peppered former Indians manager Terry Francona — a baseball lifeblood like Showalter — with similar questions whenever they were together. All in the name of becoming a better student of the game.

“I don’t want to be surprised because I wasn’t prepared or didn’t have any answers,” he said. “If I’m surprised, it’s okay if it’s something new. If I knew the answer, I wouldn’t want to be surprised.” Francisco Lindor’s quick start doesn’t just impress the Mets


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