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Mets’ Francisco Lindor is ‘in it right now’ as is rest of offense

New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) tags out Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette (11) in the fifth inning at Citi Field.

Francisco Lindor calls it “fighting uphill.” He knows he’s struggling at the plate, knows he’s failed the Mets in big situations recently and he knows the club’s offense has sagged, including in a 2-1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday.

Still, the Mets shortstop says he feels good with a bat in his hands and that he’s “working as hard as I can, day-to-day… I promise… I’m in it right now.

“Good things will come out of it. And if we would have gotten a ‘W’ today, I would have felt much better.”

Instead, the Mets fell again. They have scored just 11 runs over their last five games, including one in two tilts against Toronto.

Yes, they swept the Philadelphia Phillies without scoring much, but a continuation of this offensive skid will continue the drumbeat of questions about whether the Mets have enough offense to contend going forward with October’s real contenders. And it might give life to thorny questions on where Lindor should hit in the lineup.

On a bad day at the plate for the Mets, Lindor’s dud was perhaps the most noticeable. He heard it from the crowd, too. That’s the collateral damage of his big contract and his big place on the Mets, where he is one of their stars.

“I don’t want to block them out,” Lindor said. “They’re expressing their frustration. And I hear that. I’m right there with them.”

Despite what he believed was some good pitch recognition against Toronto starter Jose Berrios, the righty struck him out three times. Overall, Lindor was 0-for-4 and his final at-bat was a well-struck fly ball to center field with a man on base in a tie game. Ultimately, however, that was just an out with a sexy exit velocity (101.8 miles per hour).

The oh-fer means Lindor is now in an 0-for-15 funk that has dragged his batting average down to .212. Obviously, average is not the same measuring stick it once was, but that is not good. Still, Lindor has 25 extra-base hits this season – tied for 22nd in the majors – and he’s one of only 14 MLB players with 40-plus RBI. Incidentally, that’s one more than Aaron Judgealthough Judge did spend some time on the Injured List.

For his part, Buck Showalter says he trusts Lindor. “He’s got a long track record,” the manager said. “Certainly he’s frustrated by it right now. And we’re frustrated for him. Because we know he’s better.”

Does Lindor look comfortable at the plate right now? “No, of course not,” Showalter said. The shortstop, the manager added, gets singled out because of “how much better he’s capable of being.”

A quick Lindor turnaround would be huge for the Mets, who are below the MLB average (4.55 runs per game) in scoring. The Mets average 4.31 runs. Their team OPS (.715) is 12 points below league average, too.

But it’s also not like Lindor is the sole culprit. The Mets were 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position Saturday and left nine men on base. Brett Baty was 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and a walk. Pete Alonso was 0-for-4. The lineup mustered all of six hits, four fewer than Toronto.

“Obviously,” Showalter said, “we’re having trouble scoring runs…We just don’t have much margin for error.”

Daniel Vogelbachoften a target of fan discontent, actually drove in the Mets’ only run with an RBI double in the second inning, his first extra-base hit since he homered on May 7.

But that was it. There were other reasons the Mets didn’t win Saturday, too. Lindor didn’t come up with a hot grounder he thought he should have in the sixth inning and it ended up driving in the tying run. “100 percent, I should have made that play,” Lindor said.

David Robertson did not get a curveball down as far as he wanted in a crucial at-bat in the ninth inning against Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Guerrero swatted it down the third-base line for an RBI double that provided the winning margin.

Some might wonder why Showalter elected to pitch to Guerrero at all with another Hall-of-Famer’s son on deck – Cavan Biggio, who’s batting .179. Showalter said he elected to trust Robertson and that, perhaps, is fair. Robertson has been the Mets’ best pitcher, starter or reliever, all year.

But the Mets don’t have much margin for error nowadays. When you don’t score much, offering the opponent even a sliver of an advantage can be enough.

Mired in his own plate troubles, Lindor says he’ll keep striving.

“I just gotta get better,” he said.

So do the Mets.