Brandon Nimmo, Francisco Lindor lead Mets to win over Nats

NEW YORK — Brandon Nimmo, despite being one of the National League’s most successful outfielders for much of the last decade, never made an All-Star team. Francisco Lindor, despite four straight appearances earlier in his career with Cleveland, never did so as a Met.

It doesn’t take more than a quick glance at a stat sheet to figure that one or the other (or both) could be representing the Mets in Texas this year. But when Major League Baseball announced its All-Star rosters on Sunday, neither Nimmo nor Lindor made the cut.

One important caveat: They could still qualify as injury replacements. Until that happens, though, all they can do is keep hitting baseballs — as they both did Tuesday in a 7-5 win over the Nationals at Citi Field. Lindor hit a go-ahead single in the second inning, added a two-run homer in the sixth, finished with three hits and reached base four times, while Nimmo hit a three-run homer to give the Mets a big early advantage they never relinquished despite ongoing bullpen problems.

The Mets haven’t always been able to overcome such relief problems. That they did tonight was thanks to Jose Quintana, who threw seven scoreless innings to lower his ERA to 0.89 in his last five starts. But it was also clearly thanks to Lindor and Nimmo, who have been outstanding since moving to first and second in New York’s lineup in mid-May (in Lindor’s case) and mid-June (in Nimmo’s).

Consider nothing more than the objective evidence. Nimmo ranks in the season:

You don’t have to dig far into the statistics above to understand the conclusion they draw: both Nimmo and Lindor have been really, really good, especially compared to their peers in their respective positions.

“It starts with them being great players,” Mets manager Carlos Mendoza said. “They’ve been doing it for a long time. The way they move the ball and drive the ball to all the fields … that tells you they see the ball well and they’re great players.”

On Tuesday, Lindor opened the scoring with an RBI single to left in the second inning before blasting his two-run homer over the right-field fence in the sixth — and all that damage came from Nationals starter Jake Irvin, who had shut out the Mets for eight innings last week in Washington. Nimmo followed Lindor’s second-inning single with a three-run homer to opposite field, where he’s been living the past few weeks. Four of Nimmo’s last six homers have gone the other way.

It’s easy to paint a picture of both players as not only red-hot, but complete hitters who have propelled the Mets back into NL contention. Yet neither are All-Stars.

“I thought I had a pretty good shot, so I was pretty surprised when it wasn’t there,” Nimmo said. “Statistically, I’m usually pretty honest with myself … and in a lot of the categories that matter, I’m ranked among NL outfielders. So yeah, I was definitely surprised when that didn’t happen.”

For both Nimmo and Lindor, that’s still possible, given the inevitability of injury turnover that happens every year. But that doesn’t mean it will happen — a reality both men understand.

“This is something I’m ready to turn the page on,” Lindor said. “I would love to be in the All-Star Game, yes. It would be an honor and a privilege to represent the organization, represent the teammates, represent the family.”

Lindor glanced around the clubhouse before continuing. “But I’m focused on this. It’s something I don’t want to keep talking about, because at the end of the day, it is what it is. If I go, I’m going to have a great time. … And if I don’t go, I’m going to go home and enjoy my daughters, my mom and dad, my sisters, my nieces. And I’m going to have a good time no matter what.”

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