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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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Bats Minus Matz? Rats!

Let’s hear more about Steven Matz. Let’s see more of his delighted grandpa. Let’s get another look at his delightful sandwich. Let’s relive those three hits from Sunday, which is as many as Steven Matz’s teammates collected without his help Tuesday. Let us tally up his four runs batted in, roughly four more than Mets not named Matz batted in last night.

Steven Matz is in a six-man rotation, but he needs to be in our lives every single day to remind us there is good in this world.

Little good came of the Mets’ first post-Matz game despite a few positive developments at Citi Field. Daniel Murphy came back to play a professional third base; Wilmer Flores continued to reacclimate at second; and the pitcher who isn’t a young flamethrower and isn’t an ancient wonder pitched about as well as he is capable of pitching. That’s actually three good things.

Alas, it amounted to bupkes, as the Mets fell to the Cubs, 1-0. “Fell” might not be the right word. More like the Cubs scored a run and the Mets found awesome seats on StubHub from which to view it.

Jon Niese is in Jim McAndrew mode these days, pitching well enough to lead any team that isn’t the 1968 or 2015 Mets to victory. He made one questionable call as a fielder, threw one unfortunate pitch as a pitcher and would make a nice addition to the staff of a contender who would be willing to send Sandy Alderson a position player of an offensive caliber anywhere above moribund. No reasonable inquiry will be rejected out of hand.

The Cubs are supposedly interested in Niese. The Dodgers are supposedly interested in Niese. It’s convenient that they are our respective current and next opponents. There’s all kinds of Mets who can be dropped off with Jonathon if so desired. Please give them a good home. Please give us a live bat.

We seem to be competing with the Cubs for a Wild Card. Glad we’re not competing with them for a Pepsodent ad. Joe Maddon is all smiles, bringing in magicians and waxing nostalgic for Lindsey Nelson. Terry Collins is scowling his face off and having his press briefings bleeped. Nobody except a few of his pitchers can hit for him and now Michael Cuddyer has a sore knee. Cuddyer has contributed mightily to the Mets’ offensive drought. But without him…actually, I don’t think it will make a darn bit of difference if Cuddyer isn’t playing, but in theory this isn’t good. My impulse would be to DL him if his MRI shows anything (and by “anything,” I mean if he’s still alive) and give Michael Conforto an audition, in the same Double-A spirit that they gave Dilson Herrera a shot late last summer. The worst that can happen is a few weeks of service time will accumulate and Conforto might be a free agent in the year 2524 instead of 2525.

Unless they’re gonna use Niese to wrangle a sentient left fielder from another organization, what’s the non-Cuddyer alternative? Eric Campbell displaying more of his trademark versatility? Logistic wizardry to return Kirk Nieuwenhuis to the 40-man? Handing Matz a fielder’s glove and pointing him in the general direction of the Acela Club?

Hey, now we’re talking!

23 comments to Bats Minus Matz? Rats!

  • sturock

    I don’t like to wish injury on people, but subtraction of Michael Cuddyer can only be addition for the Mets’ offense. He’s fooled on almost every pitch, routinely gets himself out early in the count, and is an automatic GIDP whenever we have runners on base. Is anyone in this lineup more disappointing?

    • Daniel Hall

      I like your thought process.

      And as we are on the subject of rhymes with this lovely title today, you might take a guess at what I said pretty loud when Cuddyer came up with two outs in the bottom 9th in the first game on Sunday. “[rhymes with John Buck], we’re gonna play extra innings!” Because he IS an automatic out, unless there are already two out and there are no runners on base, and there haven’t been runners on base for at least five innings.

  • dmg

    i understand bonilla is still on the payroll.
    (too easy, i know. but don’t say it’s a cheap joke.)

  • argman

    I too was reminded of 1968 last night. If we have to deal with that type of season this year, can we dare hope that the following one will be similar to 1968’s successor?

  • open the gates

    Nothing about Bonilla is cheap. He’s actually been a very expensive joke.

  • open the gates

    Seriously, though, maybe someone should do a study in the phenomenon of “professional hitters” who come to the Mets and promptly forget how to hit. Like Cuddyer. And Granderson. And Jason Bay. And Shawn Green. And Jeff Francouer. And Roberto Alomar. And Mo Vaughn. And Carlos Baerga. And on. And on. And on.

    Unless it’s that the other teams all seem to know that their guys are about to fall off a cliff, and the Mets “talent evaluators” are the only ones dumb enough to fall for it.

    Nah, couldn’t be.

    • Steve D

      That list is MUCH, MUCH longer than the list of high quality hitters that have come up through the Mets system in 54 seasons. It is clear, we will have to trade some potential stars (almost all of which won’t pan out) and one of our coveted pitchers for proven major league talent. Add a free agent or two and we could contend. The problem with this is, the Mets won’t take on the payroll and the free agent might immediately turn to garbage anyway and join your list. So the current Mets are about as good as they can be unless the team is sold. Enjoy the pitching while it lasts.

      • DAK442

        The disheartening thing is that it’s not that the free agent might immediately turn to garbage right away, it’s that he will. Without a doubt. MLB could declare Mike Trout’s contract invalid for some reason like his team has a dumb name, and award his rights to us, and he would become a .242 slap hitter immediately.

        • Steve D

          It’s mind boggling…but you are right. I just didn’t want to insult some of the people here who still think this current organization can create a respectable team that contends year in and year out.

    • Rob E.

      Open the Gates…the problem with all those guys is that the Mets got all of them except Baerga CLEARLY on the “down” side of the hill (and Baerga also showed signs of decline). The Wilpon-era Mets have done a miserable of job of recognizing the “player decline curve,” and that’s why almost all of their free agent signings have gone south. They have made that same mistake with pitchers, too, by the way.

      Cuddyer and Granderson are different. Those were reasonable free agent stopgap options available that didn’t break the bank or come with a lot of years. In fairness to the Mets, the value of a lot of today’s free agent contracts is in the first half of the contract, and then you pay the piper at the back end (i.e., Yankees and Phillies). So regardless of whether they had the money at all, it didn’t make sense to sign a Carl Crawford or Josh Hamilton type knowing they wouldn’t compete for a few years. But that has changed now as it’s clear that the only thing standing in the way is even a LITTLE offense to back up this pitching. However, they also need the RIGHT guy to be available, not the “DO SOMETHING!!” guy people are screaming about.

      We won’t find out whether the Sandy Alderson regime knows as much about hitting as they do pitching until the hitters he’s drafted start to make their way up. The signs are there (in the minor leagues and in what d’Arnaud has done) that they DO know something, but most Met fans probably don’t want to hear that with the current offense sucking as it is.

      Contrary to what the doomsayers like to preach, the problems of the past (and even the present) are NOT problems we inherently have to suffer from in perpetuity.

      • Steve D

        After all the suffering, it is better to be a doomsayer and be surprised if they ever do win again then to constantly get your heart broken.

        • Rob E.

          Steve, hearts do get broken, but for every one that does, the doomsayer dies a thousand deaths.

          • Steve D

            Did you make that up? Should put it on a greeting card. I’m fine the way I am…I always have 1986 and 1969 to turn back to and we have the no-hitter…the next elation comes when the Wilpons sell.

  • APV

    So, are the Mets desperate enough for hitting that we may see a 53-year-old Bobby Bo in the lineup one night? I mean, we are paying him until he’s into his 70s, might as well put him to use — good or otherwise. Seriously, I wonder if this deal was Fred Wilpon’s way of getting back at Nelson Doubleday for engineering the Piazza trade. If so, it just goes to show how extremely petty the Wilpon family is and why the Mets will never win as long as they have anything to do with the team. Speaking of Doubleday, was there a moment of silence for him or any sort of tribute on the jersey over the weekend?

    Also, in the interest of being somewhat fair and balanced, Jon Niese deserved better last night. Heck he’s deserved better his last two, maybe even three starts.

    • Steve2916

      @APV – I don’t know if they had a moment of silence for Nelson Doubleday. But, if they did not, it would not exactly surprise me.

      Also agree about the Mets being unlikely to win until the Wilpons- somehow, some way, can be disconnected from this franchise.

      One more thing: I attended the game last night. With the Mets down 1-0 in the top of the 9th, Sean Gilmartin breezed through the inning. From that I remember, the reaction of the crowd (if you could call it that), was somewhat indifferent. The Mets were right in the game, and under “normal” circumstances, you’d hear some rather enthusiastic cheers…but I think the lack-of-reaction speaks to the lack of faith that the fan base has in this offense. Which is sad.

      I hope that Jeff was at the game to observe the above. No check that. Even if he was, I doubt he’d care.

      • Rob E

        I am not a fan of the Wilpons, but the Wilpons were here when this pitching staff was assembled, and I don’t hear anyone complaining about that. They could have loaded up on hitting instead of pitching, in which case we’d be the Cubs, who have essentially the same record (worse, if you take out the head-to-head games) with the opposite problem and people would be complaining about THAT. Or they could have split the difference, scored 50 more runs and given up 50 more runs, in which case we’d be the Tigers, who also have the same record.

        This pitching staff wasn’t here three years ago; that’s a pretty big deal, and the Wilpons owned the team while that was done. It’s not a failure that they weren’t able to build everything all at once. And not to sound like a broken record, but they are still missing Wright and d’Arnaud, which they had no way of predicting at the start of the season. And for all these problems, there are still only five teams in all of baseball more than three games ahead of the Mets on July 1. That is not a failure in my book.

        • Dennis

          Great point Rob. Anything negative gets attributed to the Wilpons, but any of the positives (starting pitching),are dismissed under their ownership. For the record, I’m not a fan of them either. But they should get credit for the good, while also taking the heat for anything bad.

        • Steve D

          It’s a little easier assembling a great bunch of starters if you put few resources into acquiring adequate hitters.

  • Bob

    Mets “hitting” after 78 games from MLB stats today —
    of 30 teams–
    BA 29th
    OB% 25th
    OB+SL 28th
    Runs 27th
    RBI 27th
    TB 29th
    Slug% 28th
    OY!
    Met fan since Polo Grounds –1963

  • Left Coast Jerry

    It’s too bad the Mets can’t make use of the high school rule that allows a team to finish a game with 8 players, if one of their players is ill, injured or ejected, and there are no available substitutes. In that case, it’s an automatic out every time the empty spot in the lineup comes up, which is certainly preferable to Cuddyer hitting into a double play.

  • LA Jake

    For all those that feel the Mets awful offense is reason for Anderson to be fired, here’s a list of the Free Agents the Mets could’ve tried to sign the last two years as the young pitching has developed that are doing anything right now. They clearly have had openings in the OF and at SS, but it’s hard to say they should’ve tried to add a 1B (with Duda there), 2B (with Murphy there), 3B (with Wright there) and C (with d’Arnaud there). Keep in mind the team is still dealing with the Wilponzi Scheme either in reality or as a scam, so it’s highly unlikely the team would’ve pulled the trigger on a multi-year, high-dollar deal:

    SS
    2013
    Jhonny Peralta (currently .298, 11 HR, 40 RBI; 2014 .263, 21, 75)

    2014
    Jed Lowrie (Has played 18 games all season due to injury)
    Asdrubal Cabrera (.226, 5 HR, 20 RBI)

    Call me crazy, but those three don’t seem like too much of an upgrade compared with Wilmer Flores (.236, 10 HR, 33 RBI)

    OF
    2013
    Nelson Cruz (THE BIG MISTAKE)
    Jacoby Ellsbury (currently has played 37 games this season; 2014 .271, 16 HR, 70 RBI)
    Carlos Beltran (an injured disaster in the Bronx both years)
    Rajai Davis (currently .283, 2 HR, 12 RBI; 2014 .282, 8, 51)
    Marlon Byrd (currently .233, 13 HR, 30 RBI; 2014 .264, 25, 85 in the bandbox in Philly)
    Shin-Soo Choo (currently .232, 10 HR, 34; 2014 .242, 13, 40 and Mets couldn’t afford him anyway)
    Garrett Jones (currently .229, 4 HR, 13 RBI; 2014 .246, 15, 53)
    Skip Schumaker (currently .218, 0 HR, 5 RBI; 2014 .235, 2, 22)
    Nate McLouth (currently not playing; 2014 .173, 1 HR, 7 RBI)

    2014
    Nelson Cruz (Mets couldn’t afford him this time around)
    Melky Cabrera (.252, 2 HR, 26 RBI)
    Hanley Ramirez (.283, 15 HR, 38 RBI)
    Nick Markakis (.302, 0 HR, 23 RBI)
    Nori Aoki (.317, 2 HR, 19 RBI)
    Delmon Young (.270, 2 HR, 16 RBI)
    Torii Hunter (.272, 12 HR, 44 RBI)
    Jonny Gomes (.192, 3 HR, 11 RBI)
    Colby Rasmus (.247, 10 HR, 26 RBI)

    We all know signing Granderson instead of Cruz in 2013 was a HUGE mistake (and many of us thought it was a HUGE mistake before it happened). But outside of Hanley Ramirez and Torii Hunter this year, it’s hard to say they could’ve done much better in the OF the past few years. And thinking that one of those two would be doing better or even as well in NY as opposed to Boston and Minnesota is folly imo.

    • Rob E

      There are a couple of things you never hear about Peralta and Cruz: both were coming off PED suspensions. That is a legitimate red flag. Both of those guys have held their offensive stats, but you see other guys like Ryan Braun and Melky Cabrera who did NOT. It’s fair to NOT invest tens of millions in question marks given the other issues the Mets had. And besides the Mets, EVERY OTHER TEAM passed on Cruz, and almost all of them had more money.

      Secondly, Peralta signed a four-year deal before the 2013 season. The Mets had no designs on winning in 2013-14. Why spend $50+ million on a guy like that and then burn the first two years? He would sure help NOW, but it would have cost them $25 million to get to this point, and at 33, he’s hardly the future.

      Cruz is mostly a DH, that’s number 1. Number 2 is that he signed a four-year deal at age 34. Yes, he would be helping NOW, but those are the kinds of moves that tie your hands if you are the Mets. Cuddyer wasn’t a perfect signing either, but at least it was less money and less years. Peralta and Cruz were signings for teams that wanted to win NOW, and the Cardinals and Orioles were teams like that, as were the Mariners this year. This year will be the first time this version of the team goes into free agency looking for guys that can REALLY get them over the hump. For all the guys who kill the Wilpons and Sandy Alderson, this next off-season is when they really have to hold up their end with no more excuses.