The New York Mets suffered about as bad a loss as one can on Saturday night, and manager Luis Rojas thinks Francisco Lindor’s absence was a particularly notable factor.
The Mets took a 6-0 lead into the bottom of the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Seth Lugo promptly gave up five runs to cut the lead to 6-5. The Mets added another run in the ninth, but closer Edwin Diaz loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning and gave up a two out walkoff grand slam to Jacob Stallings.
After the game, Rojas said Diaz missed Lindor’s presence during his ninth inning meltdown. The shortstop, who is on the IL after injuring his oblique, typically helps pump Diaz up to try to get him out of jams.
Luis Rojas indicated Edwin Diaz missed the presence of Francisco Lindor during his meltdown tonight. Lindor and Diaz have a close relationship, and the shortstop typically pumps Diaz up during jams like tonight, per Rojas.
— Deesha (@DeeshaThosar) July 18, 2021
It was no secret that the Mets would miss Lindor’s bat and glove. It’s pretty clear he’s an important clubhouse presence as well. It probably won’t give Mets fans much confidence if they think Diaz needs him out there to succeed.
Lindor suggested Saturday that his injury absence might not be a brief one. Diaz is clearly going to have to figure out how to get outs without his shortstop around for at least a little while.