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Greg Prince and Jason Fry
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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In the Motor City, It's Customary to Drive Runners Home

From the third inning of Tuesday’s game until the fifth inning of Saturday’s game, the Mets scored a total of nine runs. They came on a solo homer, a groundout to second, three consecutive solo homers, a solo homer, another solo homer, a sac fly and a catcher’s two-base throwing error. That means when Jose Reyes singled home Paul Lo Duca and Ricky Ledee in the fifth yesterday, the Mets had batted in 41 innings without delivering a base hit to drive in a baserunner.

Reyes’ turnaround of that situation could have indicated one of two things:

1) The Mets were clearly about to make up for lost runners on base.

2) The fifth-inning two-RBI single was an aberration.

The evidence as regards what developed from the sixth through ninth innings is inconclusive. The Mets would score four more runs Saturday, two of which scored when hits were delivered with runners on base, two of which were delivered either via out or with first, second and third completely unoccupied. Nothing wrong with sacrifice flies and solo home runs per se except the former indicates optimal production was not achieved and the latter…well, there’s something about solo home runs that seems almost counterproductive. That’s an odd inference to derive from a player swinging and scoring on the same play, but little good seems to come from them other than a single run that leaves the bases as clean in their wake as they were when the at-bat in question in started. I’ll take the run but I sure wish it would build something, not represent the totality of a rally.

I’m down on solo homers because David Wright’s one-run shot in the top of the eighth mocked us coming as it did in the Met plate appearance that followed Carlos Delgado’s in the top of the seventh. Delgado, as you know all too well if you saw or listened to the defining choke of this bloody fiasco, loomed as Wil Ledezma’s death sentence. The Mets were doing that thing they used to as recently as May 2007 where they fall behind but come back. I vaguely recall that it was known as being the Mets.

We went from 8-3 (I don’t even want to think about how Ollie Perez gave up five and would prefer Guillermo Mota grab an injection of whatever kept him from giving up three more in similar situations in 2006) to 8-5 on Ledee’s double and Castro’s sac fly off of Bonderman. Gotay singled off Yorman Bazardo’s glove for another run, sub-yeoman enough work to get Yorman pulled in favor of Ledezma at 8-6. Ledezma induced a disgusting popup out of Reyes but then it’s Mets time, baby. A bloopish Valentin double (Gotay to third). A Beltran walk. Bases loaded. Up steps Carlos Delgado, the man with more RBI in Interleague play than anybody who’s ever crossed N.L/A.L. borders.

He’s also Carlos Delgado who has been not the king of any league this year (did I actually hear the Fox guy say he’s having a good season after a slow start)? Still, CD seemed to be working Ledezma. Got ahead in the count. On the payoff pitch, with the possibility seeming very real that Carlos could make it anywhere from 8-7 to 10-8, he grounded out to second base.

So you’ll excuse me if when Wright launched his leadoff (read that solo) home run to start the eighth I wasn’t doing a joyful jig. David’s dinger made it 8-7. Carlos should have found a way to do that and more. And that is what is killing this team at the moment. They have forgotten how to bring runners home from first, second and/or third with less than three out. There’s no bigger fundamental flaw in baseball.

After Wright’s one-run homer, I assumed we would lose. When I next met up with the game, I heard Beltran’s fly ball drop in to right with two out in the ninth and Delgado stepping up. Well, he literally stepped up to the plate but figuratively failed to step up one little bit. Another grounder to second. We did lose. I hate when I assume correctly.

Five earned runs off Bonderman in six-plus innings and you don’t win. The bases loaded and Mr. Interleague with a bat in his hand against whoever in the seventh and you don’t win. A gift baserunner in the ninth the likes of which you only get from the Nationals never mind the American League champs and you don’t win. Four runners driven in by Mets batters and you don’t win.

We gotta do somethin’ about that.

5 comments to In the Motor City, It’s Customary to Drive Runners Home

  • Anonymous

    Big hits with men on base have been elusive since Game 7 of last year's NLCS. It's a problem that nobody wants to talk about, like that aunt at family functions who has a mustache. Noone should feel bad about bringing it up, because we'll all be happier once the situation is remedied.
    Cut down your swing, and get a hit please. And, wax that mustache.

  • Anonymous

    Unless, of course, it's your Aunt Keith.

  • Anonymous

    Everyone is swinging for the fences instead of shortening up and driving in the guy from third with a single. Maybe they're just that anxious to do some more goofy HR celebration dances. I'm getting pretty sick of it, myself. Might, say, the manager or hitting coach bring this up with some of the chokers unproductive outmakers?

  • Anonymous

    You know what? Give me solo HRs any day of the week. Infinitely preferable to the inevitable disappointment of a bases-loaded situation. At least the solo HR gives us a guaranteed run on the board instead of the now-guaranteed sight of four morose Mets heading back to the dugout for their gloves.

  • Anonymous

    Can't believe this nosedive is really happening. We all knew at first it was because players like Newhan, Gotay Gomez, Johnson and Franco were replacing names like Green, Alou, Valentin, Chavez and to a lesser extent, Delgado and Wright. We're still without Alou and Chavez but Green and Valentin are back. After Wright put us ahead 3-0 in the first I thought we were coming out of our funk, considering the hitting display we put on yesterday despite Delgado not hacking it in two crucial situations. But then we were betrayed by the one bright spot during this dreadful stretch – our starting pitching, with back to back bummers by Perez and Glavine.
    My hope is that with Green and Valentine back, LoDuca moves back to the number two spot and with Valentin picking up the 7th spot our line-up is healthy and productive once more.
    Think of it – Glavine and Perez had their bad outings, Jose is bound to come out of slump, as well as Delgado. The bullpen was shook up and now maybe Feliciano and Smith can get back into the groove. Heilman is the key. There is more than three and a half months to go and the Mets are still in first by a few games. If they can hold this lead and get out of their losing streak, all will be alright in Flushing.
    Have faith, not fear.