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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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Patience, Met-Hopper

OK, so that little speech about patience? Today was why it needed to be said.

Today when the Mets rudely interrupted their own romp over the Phillies by blowing a five-run lead.

Today when the mangy zombie Phillies rose up and justified Ruben Amaro Jr.’s dingbat refusal to admit the obvious, disemboweling our bullpen and then shambling off to victory.

Today when Wilmer Flores failed to throw out Ben Revere with two outs in the seventh, making an error (Philadelphia translation: “infield single”) that led to two runs in a game the Mets would lose by one. That would be the same Wilmer Flores who managed to get tagged out between second and third in the first, short-circuiting the potential for a bigger inning.

Today when Zack Wheeler had great stuff (go back and look at the unhittable fastball on the inside edge that he used to fan Domonic Brown in the second) but as usual spent too many pitches in employing that stuff, leaving him north of 100 pitches in the sixth and tired. That let Brown have his revenge, turning a 6-1 laugher into a far less amusing 6-3 contest and igniting the Phils’ comeback.

Today when the Mets’ normally reliable bullpen was anything but. Josh Edgin was superb, facing Ryan Howard, Grady Sizemore, Brown and Wil Nieves and fanning them all. But the guys on either side of him — Vic Black and Jenrry Mejia — were not superb. Black let the Phils back into the game on Chase Utley‘s two-run triple, while Mejia surrendered first the tying and then the winning run.

So, yeah, patience. We knew there were doubts about Flores’s ability to play shortstop, hailed the Mets’ sensible decision to let him prove it one way or the other, and today we had to watch while he made a critical flub. We know Wheeler is still working to harness his stuff and not be undone by his own pitch count, and today he couldn’t do that. We’re aware that our bullpen, while much improved, is still made up of young guys in roles that are new to them, and today two out of three of them failed the test.

When you’re investing in the future and taking stock of what you have, things like that are going to happen. You’ve got to nod and shrug and wait for more data. And most of all, you’ve got to be patient.

Separate but very related: I’ve been preaching for months that the Mets have a surplus of starting pitchers and ought to trade one for an impact bat. And I still believe that. But today was a harsh lesson in how quickly a “surplus” can get eroded down to nothing. Jacob deGrom is headed to New York to have a sore shoulder checked out. Jeremy Hefner‘s comeback from Tommy John surgery may or may not have hit a snag, depending on what turns out to be wrong with his forearm. And starter-turned-closer Mejia revealed he’s been struggling with a hernia for a while and will need surgery at some point. Biff bam boom, three pitchers with health issues.

The more baseball you watch, the more you realize patience isn’t just a virtue. It’s a necessity.

10 comments to Patience, Met-Hopper

  • Dave

    Of course, had Alderson acknowledged the shortstop situation 2 years ago we might not have to witness what scouts have been saying about Flores since the Mets signed him, which as far as I can tell was when he was about 9 years old. And that’s that he doesn’t project as a shortstop. But it is what it is for the next 6-7 weeks and then re-re-reassess.

    But yesterday was a good candidate for the crappiest day of the season.

  • Barry F.

    Dave, that begs a non-related question. What was the crappiest day of each season and how many times were the Phillies part of it? 1974, 1980, 1983, 1987, 2007, 2008 and yesterday are all candidates.

    • Dave

      Crappiest day of 1987 was when we heard about Gooden’s first failed drug test. And in 2008 it was the last day of the season and Shea. But point well taken…yesterday was a combination of the growing pains, the injury reports and blowing a big lead, but that last part wouldn’t have left such a sour taste had it been against the Padres or somebody innocuous like that.

  • I’ve got a feeling the Zack Wheeler will forever be the Ron Darling (great stuff, long pitch counts) to Matt Harvey’s Dwight Gooden.

    • otb

      If Matt Harvey comes back as dominant as he was before the surgery, I’ll settle for Zack Wheeler playing Ron Darling to his Dwight Gooden. Here’s hoping Jacob deGrom’s shoulder pain isn’t any worse than he claims it to be. If he continues to pitch as well as he has to date, he could be a second Gooden in this rotation. Wheeler would still look good in that mix.

  • The Jestaplero!

    No, we have to trade a pitching prospect or two this off-season for an impact bat. There’s no sense in holding onto this pitching if we’re never going to pair it with an offense that will make the team competitive.

    Also, what do you do with your sixth, seventh and eighth starters when everyone’s healthy? Shift them in and out of long relief? That’s how we lost Nolan Ryan.

    No you trade your excess prospects and if people get hurt you replace them with AAA players or you make a trade.

  • Rob D.

    And after all that, I was screaming at the radio…your closer is a little banged up, your lefty just struck out 4 in a row..would it have killed you, Terry, to leave in Edgin??? (First guess). But, no, gotta keep the new guy happy..one run lead in the 9th…book says bring in your closer. What happened to wanting to win games, dictated by the situation???

  • Lenny65

    At least the news on young Mr. deGrom wasn’t completely earth-shatteringly grim. That was a hell of a terrifying 24 hours, man. Sorry to hear about the sort of forgotten Jeremy Hefner though, tough news to swallow right there. And let’s hope Mejia can overcome his recent ailments too, love the guy but I can’t help but hold my breath every time I hear he’s less than 100%. Pitching…there’s never “too much”.

  • Barry F

    I was thinking Aguayo game, Dave, but you’re right. Then again there were a lot of crappy days in 1987.

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