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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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Matt Men’s Satisfying Ending

I’d like to teach the Mets to score with regularity. I’d like for them to cross the plate and do it constantly.

Or at least while Matt Harvey is on the mound.

Monday night the Mets did eventually find a second run to keep the one they’d rustled up ten innings earlier company. By then, they and the Cardinals had played fourteen innings — five more than is generally required, six after Dr. Harvey left his moundtop lab, where he was expertly dissecting St. Louis batters to further advance the cause of humanity.

Harvey (8 IP, 6 H, 1 BB, 9 SO, 0 R) logged another start that was as dominant as it had to be without quite being all-encompassing awesome. He doesn’t seem as Dark Knight confounding as he did before they (oh, by the way) operated on his elbow, yet look at what he does. There are small clumps of baserunners, but they don’t much go anywhere. It gets later, he gets better. Someone flashes a stat that he’s not so dazzling when he surpasses 100 pitches. He surpassed 100 pitches against the Cardinals. His 105th pitch retired Matt Holliday and produced an eighth zero for the top line on the scoreboard. Matt gave himself a quick clap into his glove as he exited.

I hope he didn’t pump his fist through a wall when the top of the ninth came around and Jeurys Familia couldn’t do for him what he’d been doing for Met starters all season. The Cardinals scratched out the one run that kept Harvey from notching a sixth win and kept those of us who can’t turn away from Mets baseball tuned in for a couple more hours.

Eventually we arrived at an unambiguous ending. Without much offensive exertion (walk, walk, grounder, intentional walk), the Mets loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourteenth, when it was still 1-1. John Mayberry, Jr., pinch-hit and rolled a ball to a spot that kept Eric Campbell from being thrown out at home, which is to say he drove in the winning run, but that somehow doesn’t sound like something John Mayberry, Jr., would do. But he did, and the Mets won in fourteen, 2-1.

Carlos Torres got the win. He pitched two flawless innings. Alex Torres and Hansel Robles were similarly effective. They were about as good as Matt Harvey. I suppose we could say all of them were matched by John Lackey and the five Redbird relievers who preceded the fourteenth. We have to give those guys credit, right? I mean they allowed the Mets one run through thirteen. That’s some kind of pitching, too.

But if we do that, we can’t moan about how the Mets barely hit and make our gripes stick — and we love doing that. The Cardinals have scary bats by both reputation and performance; five of their starters are hitting .298 or better. The Mets’ pinch-hitters from last night currently sport averages of .083, .079 and .139. The guy who got the winning hit is Mr. .139. The .079 guy, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, is probably about to be the guy who shuffles off this Metsian coil to make room for Darrell Ceciliani. Who’s Darrell Ceciliani? He’s the guy from Las Vegas who has a low bar to clear in terms of Met bench contributions.

There are a few flickers of light emerging among the Met regulars, but Monday night was a four-hour, fourteen-minute brownout, another caper in which they expertly camouflaged their offensive capabilities. In the end, the Mets saw their way clear to two runs, which was enough to achieve the objective of the evening — winning. It would’ve been much nicer had the win been affixed to Harvey’s record. We know pitcher wins are antiquated nonsense, but they still get kept track of. Harvey has thrown sixteen consecutive scoreless innings, fifteen of them in his last two starts. The Mets are 1-1 in those starts. Harvey is 0-0. His season ERA has dipped in that time from 2.72 to 1.98.

Something doesn’t quite add up there. But what else in the world of Met aces is new?

12 comments to Matt Men’s Satisfying Ending

  • Dave

    Harvey seems to be throwing a lot more offspeed stuff and saving the gas for when he needs it. He’s maturing into being a pitcher very quickly. I do wish he had been a little more efficient and done less nibbling, but I’m looking at it as part of the process.

  • Michael G.

    Granderson seems to be more of a presence at the plate, no? If and when the Mets’ bats heat up consistently with the weather, Harvey and fellow starting hurlers will get their Ws. But it’s nice to know we’re going to at least be competitive in most games because of our pitching heroes, comic-book and otherwise.

  • dmg

    especially in the extra innings, the mets hitters seemed almost perverse in the way they would almost instantly get behind in the count then be swiftly dispatched. the best thing about mayberry’s at-bat is that he seemed intent on swinging — hard — at that first pitch, wherever it was. a win’s a win, and it kept the mets in first place.

  • Rob E

    The difference between these Mets and the “next level up” version of the Mets can be seen in the Cardinals’ ninth inning; the ability to create one single run. Nothing fancy….hit, pinch runner, hit & run, sac fly. That wasn’t a failing by Familia as much as a young team getting taken to school by the teacher.

    There is not one guy on the team now who has the bat control to do what Molina did (maybe someone like Plawecki can grow into that). When you play the kind of games that the Mets play, one run is HUGE, and the importance of having the ability to create that run (especially late) can’t be stressed enough. The Cardinals ALWAYS have guys like that.

    My hope is that the position players that will be coming up shortly start to fill that “professional hitter” gap, and there are certainly hopeful signs down below. Good win, though!

  • Dave

    This is a big series. Mets have to show they can beat good teams.

  • BlondiesJake

    I blame myself for the extra innings. I arrived at a sports bar in Burbank and had them put the game on the main TV in the dining room with the sound on for the top of the 9th.

    But I’ll take credit for staying until the end and yelling at Mayberry to win the game which he did.

    I sorta agree with Rob E and his explanation of the Cardinals being a level up, except it was really one bad pitch by Familia that caused the teams to play bonus baseball. The 0-2 pitch he hung for Adams to slap a single changed the scenario and ended up as the tying run. I love Familia and am not crushing him, merely saying I’m sure he wanted that one back because a better pitch buries Adams and the Mets likely win right then and there.

    Still it ended up a Happy Harvey Day and now the team has played (and won) an extra inning game in 2015. Onward and upward!

  • Left Coast Jerry

    After watching the blunders Mike Matheny made last night, I am firmly convinced that if Terry Collins was the Cardinals’ manager the last 3 years, he would have made the playoffs 3 times. When you have the players, they can bail you out of a lot of stupidity.

    However, they couldn’t bail him out last night. I have no idea why they had the odd defensive alignment when Duda was batting in the 4th. The fact that he used his last bench player to hit for the pitcher in the 12th with nobody out and the go ahead run on 1st, when one of his starting pitchers could have laid down a bunt, is beyond my comprehension. Of course, this also led to Maness hitting for himself with 2 out in the 14th and the go ahead run in scoring position. Then, he brings in a 22-year-old kid with 3 previous major league appearances, none of which were particularly successful, when he had 3 other much more experienced pitchers available.

    I never thought I’d say this, but, thank you, Terry, for not being as dumb as Matheny.

    • Dennis

      Yeah…..Matheny & Collins are so “dumb” they have jobs managing baseball at it’s highest level. I wish I was that dumb.

  • BlondiesJake

    Hard to dispute if you have some of the best players you will likely win a lot of games. Having said that, I’d love for TC to take over the Cardinals so Wally Backman can manage the Mets. EVERYWHERE he has managed his teams have won, including when all his top players are promoted to help out at the next level.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    It was apparent by at least the 4th inning that anything near the lower reaches of the strike zone was going to be called a strike, but for 10 more innings the Mets batters kept watching those strikes fly by. Who’s minding the store?

  • BlondiesJake

    Ken K. you mean they should take notice and adjust to the ump’s strike zone?

  • […] getting snuffed out left and right, leading to the possibility he was in for a matinee version of what afflicted his staffmate Monday night. Harvey pitched great for eight innings; the Mets scored one run; Jeurys Familia gave it back in […]