Francisco Lindor: Mets must 'stick together' following Tuesday's shutout loss to Phillies

A day after the Mets’ let a two-run lead slip away in the ninth inning, Aaron Nola made sure the Philadelphia Phillies would need no such comeback effort on Tuesday afternoon. Nola spun a gem, allowing just four hits as the Mets fell 4-0.

Using his patented breaking ball to keep the Mets off balance, Nola started his day with five perfect frames. He finally allowed a baserunner in the sixth, as Tyrone Taylor singled to left, but the Mets never really threatened to score until the ninth inning when they had runners at the corners with two outs. Francisco Lindor hit a lazy flyball to center field to end the game, as the Mets were shut out for the fourth time this season.

Nola allowed just four hits while striking out eight in a 109-pitch effort for his fourth career shutout.

“I thought he was in complete control,” Mets skipper Carlos Mendoza said afterward. “The two-seam, the cutter, but the pitch that I think got us today was the knuckle-curve. He was using it for strikes, to chase, to get back in counts, to put hitters away. Like I said, he had command of all of his pitches. He pitched and he was on.”

The Mets offense has been inconsistent since the start of the season, with key players like Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, and Lindor all going through slumps at one point or another.

Mendoza was asked if Tuesday’s performance was a continuation of what fans have seen all season or just the case of a really good pitcher shutting them down.

“It’s a combination of a few guys going through it right now, trying to find their rhythm, and you’re facing a pretty good pitcher who was on today, like I said, with all of his pitches,” said Mendoza, “Yeah, so I’ll say it’s a little bit of both.”

Starling Marte had two of the Mets hits on the afternoon, with Taylor’s single and McNeil’s pinch-hit bloop double accounting for the other base knocks.

Lindor went 0-for-4, but he hit the ball hard a couple of times, including a one-hopper to short in his first at-bat and a lineout to second in his third AB.

“He executed. He moved the ball very well,” Lindor said. “His curveball was working, he was effective. Whenever we got good swings on the baseball, they caught it. Overall, they just played better than us.

“I got every pitch that I wanted and I was able to get the barrel to it. Some of them I squared up and some of them I just missed them. … That’s what good pitchers do. They throw pitches that look very hittable and all of a sudden they move at the end. So, hat’s off to him.”

With Tuesday’s loss, the Mets are now 4-8 in May and are 19-22 overall, 10.0 games back of the Phillies in the NL East.

But Lindor knows now is not the time for the team to hang their heads.

“It’s no fun, for sure, it's no fun. But it’s part of the daily grind,” said Lindor. “You understand you’re going to have ups and downs, and you try to limit the downs. It seems like we are in a month that the uphill fight is even harder. But you’ve just got to do it. You’ve just got to take care of business, put your head down, and work, work, work.

“We’ve got to stick together. This is not a time where you start pointing fingers. You’ve got to find ways to stick together and continue to have everybody pull their own weight and pull in the same direction.”

For Lindor, who finished the two-game set against the Phillies hitless in eight at-bats, the struggles are just part of baseball.

“Hitting is contagious. We just haven't found that groove,” he said. “We have guys taking good swings and having quality at-bats the balls just haven’t gone through. It's a tough one, for sure.

“It’s one of those where you look up and you’re like, ‘Wow.’ Our hitters’ meeting we talk about it, everybody’s swinging at the pitches they wanna swing, it’s just the execution is not there after the ball has been hit. The plan, the process it seems like we are executing it. We just haven’t gotten the results.”

The veteran added that all you can do is “control the process and hope for the results to be there.”

“Everyone is coming out, they’re grinding, they’re starting, they’re preparing, it seems like the past couple games,” he said before pausing, “hasn’t really worked out for all of us. But at the end of the day, I gotta be a better hitter.”

With results hard to come by Lindor said that the Mets have looked into changing their process, including talking about different things to try during their hitters' meetings.

“We have done different stuff. It’s not like we doing one way and that’s it,” the shortstop said. “There's really good hitters here. And we gonna find ways to change what we're doing, to try to get us to the top of the mountain…. You can't do things one way. You gotta be a complete hitter and I include myself there, I’m not there right now."