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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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Perfection's Discontents

The 2015 Mets have settled on an interesting formula for trying to win ballgames:

1) Ask your young starting pitcher to be perfect.
2) Hope to score a run, or maybe two if feeling saucy.
3) Pray nothing goes wrong defensively.

It worked last night, as Noah Syndergaard pitched one of the best games of his downy career. But it didn’t work tonight, and it won’t work most nights.

You could squint a bit and find positives in tonight’s game. Matt Harvey reported for duty to find his fastball AWOL — he couldn’t control the pitch all night and wound up walking five and running his pitch count to 100 over five innings. Not a line to text Mom about, but Harvey did a pretty nice job improvising, a lesson every young pitcher has to learn sooner or later. He reprioritized, showed the Dodgers a mix of offspeed stuff, and departing having allowed only three runs.

Three runs, alas, is more than what the Mets’ offense can match most nights. The team fought back with a flurry of offense in the eighth and ninth, drawing to within 4-3, but Curtis Granderson struck out against J.P. Howell to end it.

(Sign of age: I briefly confused J.P. Howell with Jay Howell before realizing the Mets’ tangle with that Howell came a shocking 27 years ago. Christ I’m old.)

As usual with a Mets loss, that one-run deficit at the end left us examining plays not made — tonight, the grumbling was over the ball hit by Alberto Callaspo with one out in the 7th and runners on the corners.

Alex Torres tried to spear the ball as it bounced by him, then Ruben Tejada and Wilmer Flores got in each other’s airspace near second. The ball ticked off the end of Flores’s glove and wound up as a run-scoring infield hit.

It wasn’t a grotesque flub or ruled an error — in fact, whether gloved by Torres or Flores, it would have been a mildly nice play that brought an appreciative fist pump. But it was a play not made, and enough to beat the Mets.

Most nights, something like that is.

10 comments to Perfection’s Discontents

  • Mikey

    brother I am 51 and I find myself sometimes hearing a player’s name and thinking “that guy is still playing?” only to realize it’s that guy’s son. Or something I think was a few years ago was 1994. at least we can laugh about it. the Mets are no laughing matter.
    and the 6 man is annoying if only because I don’t want to wait six games to see Thor or Matz pitch again. or DeGrom.

  • Dave

    If the team could hit, a starter allowing only 3 runs would usually be described as “giving your team a chance to win.” Yeah, not here. And the way Alex Torres has pitched this year, where does he get off yelling at and staring down his infielders when they don’t make plays? Yeah Alex, they suck. Just like you.

    • Eric

      You’re right, but at the same time, when aces like Greinke and Harvey are matched up, giving up 3 runs in 5 innings is bigger than usual, even if the Mets had an average offense.

      To be fair to Torres, he got what he wanted: a double-play grounder to work around the lead-off double and escape the inning unscathed. The play wasn’t a tailor-made double play and would have been a bit awkward for Flores, but Callaspo is not fast. The double play was makeable and should have been made.

  • Eric

    deGrom and now Harvey were uncharacteristically off their games. Early sign that the 6-man rotation is hurting the starters? But maybe not all the starters. Syndergaard was sharp. Before deGrom struggled, Niese and Colon were sharp, too. Let the 6-man rotation cycle around 2 more times before judgement, but the rumbling will fire up if the struggles continue.

    The 4th run stands out in a 4-3 loss, but I also look back on the 1st run scored by the Dodgers. Puig scored on a ground-out to 1st base with the bases loaded after the 1st out was made on a force-out at home by Duda. The Fox replay showed that when Duda fielded the 2nd ball, Puig was less than halfway home. Duda had enough time to throw home for another force-out at home and it wouldn’t have been close. Instead, Duda took the force-out at 1st base. It looked like he had made up his mind to take the sure out because he was playing regular depth, the double play was out, the ball wasn’t hit sharply (broken bat), and Puig is fast. But Duda had time to throw home and not concede the run.

    • dmg

      darling even joked about that, since duda had thrown home to get the previous out. “maybe he thought he couldn’t get away with that twice.”

  • sturock

    I think it was Tom Verducci last night who said the Mets lead the major leagues in hard hit balls. I couldn’t bvelieve it, so I checked FanGraphs. And it’s true! By a full percentage point over the Dodgers.

    Meanwhile, the Mets are 29th in BABIP. How bad is this team’s luck? And when does it change? I’m still not a great believer in Tejada-Flores-Lagares-Ceciliani-Cuddyer-and-now-Duda as a whole, but their lousy performance has to regress to the mean (in their case, progress to the mean) at some point, doesn’t it?

    Or is the 2015 season simply a live enactment of “Groundhog Day,” at least as far as the Mets’ offense is concerned?,ts&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=18,d

  • Mettle

    Saucy. Nice. And I remember a “flurry of offense” as being somewhat more substantial than that!

  • LA Jake

    sturock, even with regression to the mean, the Mets apparent lack of interest in situational hitting, both in regard to the count as well as when runners are on base, would keep them from scoring too many more runs.

    As well, with a lack of speed and power, they often need 3 hits to bring in a run, which is a tough task for the players currently in the lineup.

    • Eric

      With Ceciliani starting in place of Cuddyer and Herrera sent down with Murphy back, no one fast to run for Plawecki (except deGrom, maybe?) in the 9th.

  • Eric

    For Cuddyer, a fly ball that can move a runner from 2nd to 3rd is like a hit.

    The Lagares sacrifice fly needed to go out.

    Fox showed Granderson, Murphy, and Long in conversation, presumably about Howell. It didn’t help Granderson at all.