DENVER — When Brandon Nimmo was a kid growing up in Cheyenne, Wyoming, this is what he dreamt of. Maybe he didn’t see it like this — playing in blue and orange instead of purple and black — but hitting balls to the center field wall and driving in runs at Coors Field was what he envisioned when his family would take him down to Denver to watch the Colorado Rockies.
Maybe it’s elevation since Nimmo grew up playing in a place higher than the Mile High City, or maybe it’s the childhood nostalgia, but the Mets’ center fielder absolutely crushes balls at Coors Field. The 30-year-old is a .386 (22-for-57) lifetime hitter in Denver, and he’s scored 15 runs, hit two triples, four home runs, driven in 11 runs, and walked seven times in 15 games at Coors Field. He owns a .446 OBP and a .667 SLG.
Lots of hitters are happy to hit in the thin, Rocky Mountain air, but Nimmo seems extra happy and extra effective. Over 100 people came to see him from Wyoming and Colorado. His dad’s sisters even came from as far away as Lubbock, Texas this weekend to really make it a reunion. He was already primed to put on a show after a great week at the plate: Nimmo came into the series against the Rockies having gone 5-for-28 with a home run, a double, a triple and three RBI in his past five games.
He found an extra gear Friday night in the series opener.
“It’s really cool to do well in front of them and make them proud because there’s a lot of things that they did for me and sacrifices that they made for me,” Nimmo said. “I wouldn’t be here without them. So I’m just it’s awesome for me to do well in front of them. It just gives me so much joy and I hope I hope they enjoyed it as well.”
Nimmo hit two triples Friday night, including a standup three-bagger, to give him three over his last two games and four for the season, which ties him for the league lead. He’s always had a prowess for them, with 27 in his career, but if he keeps this up, he might set a new record for himself. In 2018, he hit eight and he’s already halfway there. Last season, he hit seven.
Nimmo has always been a strong baserunner, but his experience as a center fielder has helped him gauge when he can and can’t round second base.
“If I kind of see [the outfielder’s] numbers, then three is kind of in my mind,” he said. “These gaps are huge. Me playing center field, I know how difficult it is to corral the balls in the gap here and get it in with a strong throw. Even when you get it you know on the warning track here, you’re still a long ways away from the infield. I just know how difficult it is and so just try to gauge it right out of the box.”
Having a leadoff man on third makes it easy for Francisco Lindor to do his job in the No. 2 spot. Even when Nimmo walks in front of Lindor, it makes it easier for him to get a good pitch to put in play.
“Nimmo gets eight pitches in the first at-bat and ends up walking,” Lindor said. “I’m like, ‘Oh my God, I’m already eight pitches down.’ So it’s fun.”
It was the 24th time a Mets hitter had ever tripled twice in a game, but it was a first for Nimmo. “Maybe maybe in American Legion way back when, but it’s pretty rare,” he said. “Just really cool moment.”