One game back with the New York Mets was enough for Francisco Lindor to recognize the urgency with which the team needs to treat the rest of the season.
The skidding Mets will look to begin the long climb back into contention in the National League East on Wednesday night, when they are scheduled to host the San Francisco Giants in the middle game of a three-game series.
Taijuan Walker (7-8, 3.86 ERA) is slated to start for the Mets against Johnny Cueto (7-6, 3.89), who is expected to be activated off the IL prior to the game.
The Giants rolled to an 8-0 win Tuesday night. Four San Francisco pitchers combined on the five-hitter, and Brandon Belt hit a pair of homers and finished with four hits hours after learning of the death of his grandmother, Margaret Peterson, from COVID-19.
The loss was the 16th in 22 games this month for the Mets. New York began August with a four-game lead in the NL East but enters Wednesday in third place, 6 1/2 games behind the Atlanta Braves and two games back of the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Mets hoped a 7-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday and the return of Lindor from the oblique injury he sustained July 16 would help establish some momentum. However, New York got just two runners beyond second base Tuesday, and Lindor finished 0-for-4.
“Thirty-seven games (left), it’s time to go — it’s been time to go,” Lindor said. “We’ve got to find a way. We’ve got to find a way to continue to compete, continue to grind, not make any excuses. We’ve just got to go out there and battle.”
The Mets may be facing an undermanned opponent the remainder of the series. Two Giants All-Stars, catcher Buster Posey (left knee) and shortstop Brandon Crawford (back), exited Tuesday night in the fifth and seventh innings, respectively.
Manager Gabe Kapler called both injuries “manageable,” but the Giants began a stretch Tuesday of 16 straight games without an off day as they try to fend off the Dodgers in the NL West.
San Francisco, which has the best record in baseball at 81-44, is 2 1/2 games ahead of Los Angeles, which beat the San Diego Padres 5-2 Tuesday night.
In addition, Belt is expected to head to Texas for his grandmother’s funeral at some point this week. Belt grew up down the street from his grandparents, who helped fund his trips to summer showcases during his teen years.
“It’s been a pretty tough day,” Belt said. “I’ve kind of been in a daze all day. I was just glad I could come out here and do that for her. I just wanted to dedicate the rest of the season to her as well. She was a huge supporter of mine, so this really does mean a lot.”
Walker took a loss Thursday when he gave up four runs over six innings as the Mets fell 4-1 to the Dodgers.
Cueto last pitched Aug. 8, when he didn’t factor into the decision after surrendering four runs (three earned) over 5 1/3 innings in the Giants’ 5-4 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. He was placed on the injured list three days later due to a right flexor strain.
Walker is 3-2 with a 3.82 ERA in six career starts against the Giants. Cueto is 4-4 with a 3.53 ERA in 13 regular-season starts against the Mets.
–Field Level Media