The New York Mets are almost sure to get Francisco Lindor back during a homestand that begins Tuesday night. Only time will tell if Lindor returns in time to save a Mets season that’s spiraled downward during his time on the injured list.
With or without Lindor, the Mets will look to continue climbing out of the hole they’ve dug Tuesday, when New York hosts the San Francisco Giants in the opener of a three-game series.
Right-hander Tylor Megill (1-2, 3.21 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Mets against left-hander Sammy Long (1-1, 5.72 ERA) in a battle of rookies.
Both teams were off Monday after earning wins Sunday. The Mets ended a rough West Coast trip by beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-2, while the Giants extended their lead over the Dodgers in the National League West to 2 1/2 games by edging the host Oakland Athletics, 2-1.
A returning player sparked the Mets on Sunday, when Javier Baez, who missed the previous 11 games with back spasms, was activated from the injured list and went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles, including the RBI hit in the first inning that gave New York a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
Baez, whom the Mets acquired from the Chicago Cubs on July 30, has yet to play a game with Lindor, his longtime friend who was placed on the injured list with an oblique injury July 17.
Lindor hasn’t performed up to expectations in his first season in the Big Apple – he’s hitting .228 with 11 homers and 36 RBIs – but his presence has been missed by the Mets. New York led the NL East by three games when Lindor was hurt but has gone 14-22 since then to fall into third place, seven games behind the Atlanta Braves.
“I’m really excited about being out there with him,” Baez said of Lindor, who ramped up his baseball activities during the week out west. “I’m really excited for him to come back and he can’t wait to come back.”
The Giants, who became the first team to reach 80 wins on Sunday, are in a considerably better yet no less urgent spot than the Mets. San Francisco is 15-5 this month yet has lost a half-game in the standings to the Dodgers, who are 15-4 since Aug. 1. Whomever finishes second in the NL West will be relegated to the wild-card game.
The Giants’ lead would be even thinner if not for back-to-back dramatic victories over the Athletics. After LaMonte Wade hit a go-ahead two-run pinch-hit homer in the ninth inning of Saturday’s 6-5 win, Donovan Solano hit a two-run pinch-hit homer in the eighth inning Sunday. San Francisco is the first team ever to hit go-ahead pinch-hit homers in the eighth inning or later of consecutive games.
“We lost two in a row (before Saturday) and people started freaking out a little bit, which is crazy,” right-hander Logan Webb said Sunday. “But that’s the type of division we’re in, the type of race that we’re in.”
Megill made his first appearance against the Giants last Wednesday, when he didn’t factor into the decision after allowing one run over six innings in the Mets’ 6-2, 12-inning win.
Long didn’t factor into the decision in his most recent start Aug. 14, when he gave up one run over two innings in the Giants’ 4-1 loss to the Colorado Rockies. He has never opposed New York.
–Field Level Media