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Mets’ Brandon Nimmo not looking ahead to playoffs

Brandon Nimmo was home in Wyoming watching on television as the Mets assembled their postseason run in 2015 that ended with a loss to the Royals in the World Series. 

The following year, Nimmo, as a rookie, was in the home dugout at Citi Field, but not on the roster when Conor Gillaspie homered against Jeurys Familia, sinking the Mets in their wild-card game appearance against the Giants. 

Almost six years later Nimmo is the Mets’ longest-tenured player without a postseason appearance. Jacob deGrom has been here longer, but appeared in the 2015 postseason and was a significant factor for the team. Seth Lugo joined the Mets a few days after Nimmo in 2016 and also hasn’t appeared in the postseason. 

Now Nimmo finds himself in the unfamiliar position of entering the stretch run for a team that owns a comfortable hold on a postseason berth. On occasion his mind wanders toward the possibility of electric October nights. But then reality sets in. The Mets still have to finish the job. 

“You can get complacent, but I think we know that these next two weeks are pretty important,” Nimmo said Friday before the Mets lost 2-1 to the Phillies in 10 innings. “We have the Phillies, Braves, Phillies again and then we have the Yankees, so this is a nice little stretch we have got here. If you were to let up off the throttle, things could go badly quickly.” 

Brandon Nimmo
Brandon Nimmo has not yet played in a playoff game.

The Mets were reminded how quickly Friday night, as Jeff McNeil and Eduardo Escobar departed the game with injuries. McNeil received stitches for a right thumb laceration, according to manager Buck Showalter, and Escobar had left side tightness and was to undergo imaging. 

Nimmo, though quiet on this homestand, has been an integral part of the Mets’ success. For a change he has avoided the injury list, leaving Showalter with no choice but to keep inserting his name atop the lineup in center field. 

It’s a lineup that has been carried largely by Pete Alonso and Francisco Lindor, but players such as Nimmo, McNeil, Starling Marte and lately Daniel Vogelbach have all had their moments. The rotation has a pair of aces, Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer, while Edwin Diaz has become almost untouchable in the ninth inning. 

“I think this team is built for the playoffs,” Nimmo said. “I really think that we can do well in it, even more than just getting there we have a goal of winning.” 

Nimmo compared the recent stretch of games the Mets played against the Yankees and Braves, two teams that will likely belong to the October pageantry, to a dress rehearsal for the postseason. The Mets have won six of seven against those two teams since the All-Star break. 

Brandon Nimmo
Brandon Nimmo
Jason Szenes

“Some of these games have felt very, like every pitch matters,” Nimmo said. “Especially against the Braves here, especially against the Yankees. Those have been games that I think, for those of us that haven’t been a part of it, are preparing us for those situations.” 

As Nimmo watched the 2015 World Series, he had just completed a solid season in the minor leagues and knew his promotion to the Mets was near. He sensed a team anchored by the elite arms of deGrom, Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard was special and would continue on that path for several years. 

“It didn’t work out that way and I think it reminds you that each time you get into a playoff situation you need to try to get the most out of it and give it everything you have got because you don’t know when the next time you will be back,” Nimmo said. 

Only adding to the sting of the wild-card loss the following year was the fact Nimmo had been told he would be placed on the NLDS roster if the Mets advanced. He had been excluded from the wild-card roster because team brass wanted an additional right-handed hitter. 

If the Mets reach the postseason, Nimmo won’t have to worry about such logistics this time around. But for now, he is taking a “goldfish” mentality. 

“Forget about yesterday and try to get the win today,” he said. “We were telling ourselves over the Cincinnati series, we have got to act like we’re playing the Braves and we have got to keep the foot down because these are games we can gain. Those are the things you focus on now.” 

October can wait. Nimmo and his teammates have to finish August and September.

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