Some of the 7,917 fans in attendance for the Mets’ 2-1 loss to the Red Sox at Citi Field on Tuesday decided to boo Francisco Lindor after he softly grounded out in his fourth and final at-bat. The jeers didn’t come from the whole crowd, but it was loud enough to be both noteworthy and eyebrow-raising.
The following day, Lindor had a thoughtful, but not defensive, response when asked of his reaction to the home Mets crowd booing him.
“It’s interesting and it’s funny and it sucks,” Lindor said. “It doesn’t feel right, for sure. Interesting because it’s the first time that it happened in my career. And funny because I’m getting booed and people think I’m going to go home and think about, ‘Wow, I’m getting booed.’ I get it. They’re booing because there’s no results. That’s it. They expect results, I expect results and I get it. It’s part of the job.
“I just hope they cheer and jump on the field when I start hitting home runs and start helping the team on a daily basis a lot more than I’m doing right now.”
Lindor entered Wednesday hitting .212 (14-for-79) with three RBI, one home run, one double, 10 walks, a caught stealing and eight strikeouts. He was slugging .273 with a .593 OPS. Fans have seen him chasing bad pitches, pulling the ball, and generally looking off-balance against pitchers. Mets hitting coach Chili Davis admitted, out of all the Mets players slumping in April, Lindor has stood out as the hitter who’s looked most unlike himself at the plate.
“I don’t feel like I’m in a slump.” Lindor said. “I feel like I’ve had quality at-bats. I feel like I haven’t put the best swings on baseballs these past couple games, but I don’t feel like I’m in a slump. In a slump, for me, is when I’m 0-for-35, 0-for-30.”
The superstar shortstop is not isolated in his early-season skid. But the 10-year, $341 million contract the Mets offered him before Opening Day has drawn attention and pressure from fans for Lindor to perform well right from the get-go. Never mind that Lindor is still adjusting to National League pitchers and playing in an environment that he knew, coming into New York, would be different than Cleveland.
“I expected to be successful and help the team win every day,” Lindor said. “I didn’t expect to come into the season and hit .200, .195, whatever I’m hitting right now. … I can’t just sit here and complain. They want results and they’re frustrated. It is what it is. I just hope when they have the results, they cherish those moments as well.”
As a team, the Mets have scored 57 runs this season for the fewest in the majors. They entered Wednesday averaging 3.17 runs per game, good for the second fewest in the majors and the lowest in the NL. Dominic Smith (batting .118 with runners in scoring position), Jeff McNeil (hitting .196 overall and .107 on the road) and Michael Conforto (batting .133 with RISP) are other culprits, alongside Lindor, for the offense’s lethargic start to the season.
And yet, for a contingency of emotional fans that are frustrated with the Mets straddling a .500 record at the end of April, their disappointment was hailed at Lindor during Tuesday’s one-run loss. Lindor, though, said he is not frustrated with himself. He knows what he’s doing wrong at the plate (failing to get the barrel to the baseball, chasing pitches) and he’s committed to putting in the work to flip the switch.
“It’s going to work,” Lindor said. “I came to New York to win. I want to win. I’m going to do whatever it takes. Right now, the fans and people think I’m not doing my part to win, and they want to see results. The results will come, for sure. They will come.”
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