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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
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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Blues for the Uncommon Man

One of these days Matt Harvey will have his revenge on the Miami Marlins, and it will be glorious.

One of these days his teammates will stop eyeing him with quiet awe and score runs for him, and that will be even better.

Until then, we’re left with days like today, games in which the Mets do nothing with the bats and leave Harvey with zero margin for error, so that one blemish of an inning beats him. We’re left watching them do nothing to counter the ranks of Marlins anonymous (Tom Koehler), notorious (Logan Morrison), rapidly becoming notorious (Donovan Solano) and vicious (Jeffrey Loria).

The Mets had their chances, true, but were undone by nice plays on the other side of the ball (great catch by Jake Marisnick), bad luck (Omar Quintanilla ripping a liner right at Morrison) and by the fact that Ike Davis and Harvey himself kept coming up with two out and baserunners in dire need of driving in.

Ike looks better; I’ll grant him that much. In the first inning he battled Koehler rather nicely, fouling off a succession of pitches that in the spring would have made short work of him, with the butt flying out and the arms windmilling and finally the Ike Face of dismay and surprise, even though nobody else was surprised. That didn’t happen, and hasn’t routinely happened in a while — Ike’s being more selective and making more contact. But, well, he still struck out.

As for Harvey, well, I thought on top of everything else he was another Mike Hampton with a bat in his hands, and he’s not. In fact, he’s pretty terrible. Something for our phenom to work on.

Anyway, the sixth inning was the one to watch, with Harvey dueling Giancarlo Stanton through a thoroughly entertaining sequence of inside fastballs and outside sliders, culminating in a slider on the corner that Stanton lingered briefly to consider before walking away, beaten and anoyed. That was the second out, and it suree looked like Harvey would leave Marlins stranded at first and third. But no, Morrison pulled one wide of Justin Turner (marking the first earned run surrendered by Harvey since the All-Star Break), Harvey hit Ed Lucas, and Solano battled through a lengthy AB before delivering the fatal two-run blow.

Yeah, it was fatal. The second the ball touched down you could hear the air hissing out of the Met balloon and knew they weren’t going to do anything, which they didn’t.

Watching the Marlins high-fiving, I flashed back to something I started thinking about during the Nats series. Baseball, famously, has no clock — you have to give the other guy 27 outs, and if you’ve only collected 26 nothing has been decided no matter what the score, the situation or the hour. It’s marvelous, and one of the reasons baseball’s the best damn game of them all.

But in another sense, baseball most definitely has a clock. The Mets are playing a lot better than they have been, and the teams above them in the NL East aren’t particularly impressive. Still, they’re 3-5 in their last two intradivision series, which is bad not just because of too few Ws and too many Ls, but also because it means they’re running out of time. The clock — the one that supposedly doesn’t exist — is ticking ominously. Fewer games left means the chance of winning shrinks to unlikely, and then to miraculous, and then to impossible. The Mets were already facing that first label, are rapidly approaching the second, and are almost certainly destined for the third. We already knew that (or at least strongly suspected it), and it’s the way the vast majority of seasons end, but it’s still disappointing to be reminded.

10 comments to Blues for the Uncommon Man

  • metsfaninparadise

    “Ike looks better.” In the long run, looks will only take you so far.

  • Lenny65

    Seeing good starting pitching going to waste always makes me sad. Imagine if the 2006-2007 teams had a staff like this one…history might be radically different. Sigh. F*cking Marlins.

    Re: poor, poor Ike Davis: looking somewhat less helpless while striking out is not really the sign of encouragement we’ve been hoping to see. While I’m always hoping he’ll somehow “turn it around” those hopes appear to be getting dimmer and dimmer.

  • Tristram Shandy

    Games like the last 7 make me curse my father for growing me up as a Mets fan. No kidding. What could be more futile than watching Ike play out the string of his busted career as a Met, trying to encourage myself with soul-eroding thoughts such as, “Gee, he fouled off some very impressive pitches before he struck out this time”? At least, I hope he’s playing out the string of his career as a Met. But then, these are the Mets; maybe he’ll be in the lineup for the next 10 years. Or maybe we’ll sign A-Rod to play first base in 2015. Boy, baseball is fun.

    • Steve D

      Ike can’t stay in the major leagues hitting .180. Even more abominable are his totals of only 6 HR and 25 RBI. You can project full season numbers of 10 HR, 40 RBI at this pace, for a “cleanup hitter.” Again, his swing is not salvageable and must be totally re-built from scratch. He has shown little ability to do that.

  • sturock

    “finally the Ike Face of dismay and surprise, even though nobody else was surprised”

    Brilliant!

  • 9th string catcher

    Watching Ike bat for me is almost exactly like watching Satin field. Dread, fear, nausea are all part of the experience. Why on Earth did they bring him up before really showing something at AAA? Anyone not hitting over .200 does not belong in an MLB uniform unless they’re pitching.

    On the other hand, maybe we look at this team as having one big AAAA season. Good experience, building for the future, evaluation of what works, what doesn’t. If that’s the case, start the September call-ups now and let’s see what else we have.

    • kd bart

      What really kills with Ike is that he has the dreaded pairing of not hitting for average and not hitting with any power either. He has 6 homers and 7 doubles and 25 rbis for the season. As a comparison, Dan Uggla with the Braves was only hitting .199 going into yesterday but he has 21 homers, 3 triples, 10 doubles and 51 rbis this season. Uggla may not be hitting for average but there is some pop in his bat when he does come through. For Ike, it’s basically been a bunch of singles.

  • kd bart

    Harvey made two starts on this road trip. The Mets combined in the two games scored 1 run, left 21 runners on base and hit into 3 double plays. 25 times they reached base, only once did they score. Against the likes of back end starters Ohlendorf and Koehler. Inexcuseable and just plain awful. They scored 11 runs in the first game of that DH in Washington. Score 15 runs over the next 7 games of the trip. No more than 2 runs in any of the 5 games they loss and they didn’t even face the best starters the Nats and Marlins have. No Strasburg. No Ferndandes. Other than the 14-1 game on Sunday, they got mostly good pitching but it mostly went to waste. Terrible road trip for the offense.

    • 9th string catcher

      Oh, and note to TC – why is he batting 4th or 5th? Put him in the 7 hole immediately. I don’t care if the pitcher is righty, lefty or throws with his teeth – stop giving him so many at bats per game.

      I would reshuffle the lineup – Lagares in the 2 hole, Murphy down to 5, Buck 6. Murphy is pretty clutch and could drive in some runs, something he can’t do from 2, and he can’t run at all, so no one can drive him in either. (You could even put Murphy in the 4 hole and protect him with Byrd). Either way, put the fast guys up front, the clutch guys in the middle and Ike in Las Vegas.