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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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Rambling On After San Diego

Dillon Gee didn’t look so hot, but neither did Craig Kimbrel, and Craig Kimbrel is a big deal. Plus Kimbrel only pitches ninth innings, usually. Gee pitches firsts, seconds, maybe a couple more…

Usually Gee pitches fifths and then some. Usually he’s in a five-man rotation. Usuallys are hard to gauge some nights.

Kimbrel, I hear, hasn’t been such a big deal kind of pitcher since going to San Diego. Nor did he appear to be one when I awoke in the middle of the ninth inning Wednesday to see him do his no longer automatically impressive thing. The game that was out of hand when I nodded off was creeping back into fingernail territory. Kimbrel wasn’t retiring the Mets with ease. There was a semblance of a rally unfurling. It didn’t seem worth stirring from the couch for, but before I knew it, I was up on my feet.

I had to go to the bathroom, which explains the feet part. But when I returned, I stood in front of the TV like something was about to happen. Maybe the Mets were going to pull one of their patented Kimbrel Klobberings out of their old kit bag. They stuck it to him in Atlanta that one time, I seem to recall.

Anyway, I stayed on my feet long enough to see the Mets scratch the surface of possibility. They had made a 7-0 game 7-3; they had loaded the bases with two out; they had made the former Brave relief ace squirm; and they had Lucas Duda — their threat — up to conceivably tie the game, or at least keep it going. Gary Cohen, probably intending to stoke hope, announced Duda was 1-for-11 in his career versus Kimbrel, but that one was a home run.

Yes, I thought, but those other ten were outs.

The twelfth at-bat was also. When it was, I got off my feet and back to the couch for the postgame coverage, which, in its Bobby Ojedaless state, put me out like a light.

Or a Met.

The game was long gone before the ninth. I was long gone before the fifth, despite my own insufficient last-minute rally. Gee, who you might remember from the pre-Syndergaard era, was a starting pitcher again because if five pitchers are good, six must be incredible.

Or not. Dillon was rusty or off his game or the victim of the gaping defensive void at third base. What he wasn’t was a spectacular endorsement of six-man rotations.

Maybe it’ll work eventually. Maybe it’ll be quickly shuffled into the deck of Met trivia Hideo Nomo disappeared into the last time the Mets tried this unorthodox maneuver. That was seventeen years ago. It was such a good idea, the Mets decided to keep it under wraps until now.

While we’re taking the measure of the easy targets — superfluous starters, out-of-position infielders — let’s not forget the Mets didn’t score until they were losing by seven. Nothing clicked. So what the hell, mark this one down as a team defeat, a systemic failure, a sleep-inducing effort whose end teased a little but satisfied not at all.

One third of the season is now over. The Mets are on pace to win 87 games. Do with that what you will. The 1962 Mets were on pace to win 48 games after a third of a season and won 40. The 1969 Mets were on pace to win 87 games after a third of a season and won 100. The 2005 Mets were on pace to win 84 games after a third of a season and won 83. I guesstimated the 2015 Mets would win 84 games this year. They are exceeding my guesstimations through a third of a season, so I should be ecstatic.

Instead, I’m still a little groggy.

3 comments to Rambling On After San Diego

  • Dave

    Yeah, all in all, if you told me in March that 1/3 of the way in they’d be where they are, I’d have signed up for it (I’d save “ecstatic” for better than 4 games over .500 though). But of course when you watch a team more or less day in day out, especially if that team has been making you tear your hair out or reach for adult beverages for years, the negative stuff gets amplified, and the fundamental weaknesses of this team are just so glaring that I can’t help but feel that this season winds up similar to 1968 or 1984 or 1998…better, just not quite there yet.

  • Rob E.

    We should be semi-ecstatic at least, but it’s an ecstasy that needs to be viewed from a few steps back. The fact that this team is four games up 1/3 of the way through playing without Wright and D’Arnaud most of the way is pretty remarkable. The problem now is that many still have the taste of April in their mouths…it’s not fair to think ANY team could keep that up. But really, if we knew that Plawecki and Tejada and Campbell and Herrera and Familia were going to be counted on as much as they have been (and no Wheeler), NO ONE would have or should have been predicting “meaningful” games in September. Yet here we are and that is still very much in play. So I remain bullish on this team and it’s constitution.

    If you take a step back and go position-by-position, there are no hopeless long-term spots here (though the Wright thing is certainly a setback, and the ceiling of what Cuddyer and Granderson will contribute is getting lower). Many of the pitchers have made their way up, and the next wave will be the hitters coming up. So, barring a trade or some unforeseen development, maybe the offense will sputter for a while, and yes, that will be painful to watch. But the first wave of “hope” has mostly arrived and seems to be legitimate, and the second wave is on deck. If you look past the hills and valleys that this season has been, all the long-term hope is still there. To someone who missed the first 1/3 of the season and just arrives at this point and looks back, they would be thrilled with what has happened so far, and we should be too.

    • Dave

      Rob, let’s just hope that by the time the next wave of hitters are in the bigs (they’re only in A and AA right now) and have started to figure out major league pitching (learning curves vary), that some of the arms haven’t become unaffordable trade bait. That’s my long-term fear, that the window is only open for a little while, and not everything comes through simultaneously…we’ll have some solid position players like Conforto, Nimmo, Smith, Rosario, but a piecemeal staff while we’re waiting for the stud pitching prospects that we got in exchange for Harvey, deGrom, etc.