Can Francisco Lindor and the New York Mets finally put it all together?

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New York Mets coach Joey Cora was preparing for a game in St. Louis last week when Max Scherzer approached him with thoughts about defensive positioning, about where to station the team's infielders in specific ball-strike counts against specific opponents.

Cora loved it -- but he had to tell Scherzer to wait. "Right now, I'm getting ready for today's game, to play the Cardinals," Cora said, through laughter, "and Max was talking about what he would do when he pitched against the Phillies." In five days.

This is life with the 2022 Mets so far. A daily enthusiastic pursuit of excellence within a new culture, fostered by new stars, a new manager, a new coaching staff, and by the renewal of holdovers, most notably shortstop Francisco Lindor.

The Mets are constantly discussing the smallest details, the nuances of the game -- like Scherzer, who had been digging into the analytics about the Phillies ahead of his start; or Lindor, who approached manager Buck Showalter in the dugout the other day and asked him about what he should do if there was a long ricochet off the outfield wall. Would Showalter prefer Lindor to chase down the baseball, or position himself for a relay?

"They're coming together fast," said Wayne Kirby, in his first season as the Mets' first-base coach. "I didn't think it would come together this fast. In spring training, we gave them the information -- 'This is what we're going to do.'

"The good thing about Buck is he says, 'We'll talk about it, we'll show them, and then we'll do it.' The kids, they have hooked onto [the details] right away."

The two-word mantra that Showalter and his staff have drilled into their players, posted in their clubhouse, is uncomplicated: Play better.