Credit: Wikipedia photo

The Mets are admirably battling to stay in the National League playoff race. The last time they made the playoffs was the 2016 season. The Mets stared down their New York City rivals this past weekend and didn’t flinch, winning two out of three games against the Yankees at Citi Field, including Sunday’s dramatic 7-6 rubber match.

Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor put his imprint on the latest contentious encounter by clipping three home runs in the series finale, taunting the Yankees by mimicking a whistle after his second blast of the game in the bottom of the sixth that put the Mets up 6-4. Lindor punctuated his gesture by shouting at Gleyber Torres, his counterpart at shortstop, “keep on whistling,” and also directed words at Yankees pitcher Wandy Peralta, off of whom he hit the homer.  

The four-time All-Star selection, achieved as a member of the Cleveland Indians, was expressing his sentiments, as well as those of some in the Mets’ dugout, who determined the Yankees––Peralta in particular––had figured out what pitches Saturday’s starter Tijuan Walker would be delivering and then signaled to batters by whistling. Walker gave up five earned runs in six innings in the 8-7 Mets loss.   

The next night, benches cleared following Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton’s two-run shot in the seventh to even the score at 6-6. As Stanton slowly passed second base, he turned around and verbally gave Lindor the business. Lindor and Mets second baseman Javier Baez, childhood friends from Puerto Rico, then motioned to Stanton to come back for some action, seemingly physical.

“I can’t accuse them of whistling for the signs because I’m not 100% [certain],” said Lindor after the game. “But I know what I heard, and I felt like there was something out of the ordinary going on.”

Lindor gave the Mets a 4-2 advantage with a three-run homer in the bottom of the second, his first of the game, then smashed his third in the eighth for the Mets’ decisive seventh run. “Boys will be boys,” is how Yankees manager Aaron Boone described the emotional reactions of the players. Like the Mets, Boone’s team is in an intense hunt for the playoffs.

Putting the Subway Series behind them, the Mets were shutout at home 7-0 by the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday. They were 72-73, 5.5 games behind the first place Atlanta Braves and 4.5 below the Philadelphia Phillies in the NL East title when play began on Tuesday.

The Mets were in a better position for the second wildcard spot. The 92-53 Los Angeles Dodgers were a comfortable 16.5 games ahead of the pack for the first bid but the Mets trailed by just 3.5 for the other.

When they ended their three-game series with the Cardinals last night (Wednesday), the Mets only had 15 regular season games remaining. They open a three-game series tomorrow at Citi Field versus the Phillies then will play the Red Sox two games in Boston next Tuesday and Wednesday.