- Faith and Fear in Flushing - http://www.faithandfearinflushing.com -

Plan JV Looks Great (So Far)

It’s gonna be another summer without David Wright [1]. Six to eight weeks of rest, and then they’ll see.

If you’re like me, you may have had an odd reaction to the news — a weird argument between head and heart.

Head sniffed that a .226 average, bushels of strikeouts and throwing woes at third didn’t seem impossible to replace.

Heart said, more or less, how dare you even think that about David Wright! He does more each day just to get on the field than you do in a week, and he’s been unfailingly decent to fans, teammates, owners and everybody else since the day he arrived all those years ago, with painfully little to show for it in return. We’re all diminished without No. 5 in the lineup, no matter what the stats say. Shame on you!

We’ll leave Head and Heart to fight it out, while noting that front-line Mets are vanishing with worrisome regularity. Travis d’Arnaud [2] is supposedly going to start a rehab assignment this weekend, but at first just to hit. Lucas Duda [3]‘s waiting around for his back to heal. And now Wright’s gone. That’s a big chunk of the lineup missing.

And so of course the newly reduced Mets went out and scored six — that’s a week’s worth of offense for those wondering why they’re still scoring at home — in Loria-Land against the odious Marlins.

What’s more, it was the JV — the Bomb Squad, the International League Irregulars, the Replacemets — who did the damage. Wilmer Flores [4], Wright’s replacement apparent at third, scored two runs and delivered a tie-breaking broken-bat single, proving that the Mets actually can post runs of the non swing-and-trot variety. Rene Rivera [5], who replaced Kevin Plawecki [6] as backup catcher and is looking to replace him again as the primary, hit a two-run homer in the ninth to give the Mets breathing room and was his emphatic self as life coach [7], pushing an exhausted Noah Syndergaard [8] through the seventh. And James Loney [9], imported to replace Duda, connected for his 100th home run, also a tie-breaking shot.

It was a good night [10], so it seems mean-spirited to note that it was just one night, or to wonder if Wilmer has the arm for third, or ask why anyone thinks Rivera’s ready to be a front-line player for the first time at 32, or to raise an eyebrow that Loney arrived after not finding a spot on the roster of the 21-34 Padres.

It worked for a night, and that’s good enough — particularly with the lowly Reds upending the Nats to leave the Mets two games out.

Still, perspective may be in order. The Nats look like a much more capable outfit than last year’s model, thanks to Dusty Baker [11] and Daniel Murphy [12] and perhaps a better roll of the probability dice, and it would be very far from a surprise if this much-reduced Mets lineup failed to keep up with them. But that’s not the only route to postseason glory these days. Barring yet-to-be-revealed horrors, the Mets’ gaudy starting pitching should keep them in the pennant race — Syndergaard didn’t have his A game Friday night and had to settle for two runs allowed over seven innings, with nine Ks. Get into the postseason, and the Mets are guaranteed to send a potentially dominant starter to the mound in each and every game.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, which is an invitation for baseball to make you look like a fool. Plan JV worked just fine for a game. Here’s to more such games.

* * *

You’ll find no shortage of better-informed takes elsewhere, but it’s sad to realize we live in a world without Muhammad Ali. The world seems a paltry place without Ali’s astonishing charisma and courage — which he exemplified not just in the sports world in which we are entertained, but also in the far larger day-to-day one in which we all live.