Francisco Lindor said the New York Mets aren’t looking at the standings. But he also knows the Mets are in an enviable position — a season-high eight games over .500 with half their projected everyday lineup and two-fifths of their optimal rotation on the injured list.
The Mets will look to continue surging and complete a three-game series sweep of the visiting San Diego Padres on Sunday afternoon.
Left-hander Joey Lucchesi (1-4, 5.79 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Mets against right-hander Chris Paddack (2-5, 4.27).
Marcus Stroman carried a shutout into the seventh inning and Lindor and Jonathan Villar each homered Saturday as the Mets earned a 4-1 victory.
The win was the fifth in six games — as well as the fourth straight over the Padres dating back to June 5 — for the Mets, who are eight games over .500 for the first time since finishing the 2019 season at 86-76. They’ve also spent the last 35 days in first place in the National League East, the longest stretch for the franchise since 2015, when New York reached the World Series.
But Lindor would rather focus on what’s on the horizon for the Mets, who are expected to get infielder Jeff McNeil and outfielder Michael Conforto back from hamstring injuries later this month. Infielder J.D. Davis, outfielder Brandon Nimmo and starting pitchers Carlos Carrasco and Noah Syndergaard are still out indefinitely.
“You hear people talk about (being in first place), but it’s not us here in the clubhouse,” Lindor said on Saturday afternoon. “It’s such a long season, I think we’ve still got 100-plus games. A lot of baseball left. As long as we continue to get healthy and stay healthy, we’ll be in a good spot.”
The Padres are trying to get back in the type of spot they enjoyed for most of the first two months of the season. San Diego was a season-high 15 games over .500 on May 29 but is just 3-10 since then to fall four games out of first place in the NL West.
The skid has been defined by offensive struggles for the Padres, who have scored two runs or fewer in four straight games and nine times in the last 13. But with Most Valuable Player candidate Fernando Tatis Jr. as well as All-Stars Eric Hosmer and Manny Machado in the middle of the lineup, manager Jayce Tingler expressed confidence Saturday that San Diego’s fortunes will soon reverse for the better.
“You look up over the last couple games (or the) last week and it’s frustrating,” Tingler said. “I do know that right now we’ve got to weather the storm we’re in. The good thing about baseball (is) you get an opportunity tomorrow. We’ve got to start stringing some ABs together and once we get a guy or two starting to get it going, it’s going to be contagious and we’re going to get it turned.”
Lucchesi took the defeat in his first career start against his former team on June 4, when he allowed one run over 4 2/3 innings in the Mets’ 2-0 loss in San Diego.
Paddack took the loss against the Mets on June 6, when he gave up three runs over six innings as the Padres fell, 6-2. He is 1-2 with a 2.89 ERA in three career starts against the Mets.
–Field Level Media