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

Of Coming Through & Coming Back

You don’t want to have to win a game by using five relievers to cover 8.2 innings [1], but you surely don’t want to lose a game under those circumstances. They were unavoidable Wednesday night once Bartolo Colon [2] was forced to leave in deference to a liner off his right thumb from Royals leadoff hitter Whit Merrifield [3]. The ball found its way to Neil Walker [4], who converted it into an out, but that was of little comfort in the first. Colon, tougher than leather let alone horsehide, departed amid fears of a fracture. X-rays indicated contusion. We’ll see; I’m trying to imagine a Met injury situation that winds up markedly sunnier than it appears.

We’ll know more about Colon’s condition in the days ahead. Of necessarily immediate concern Wednesday was there was one out, there were twenty-six to go, there was no starter on the mound and there was no obvious long reliever in reserve to take on the defending (bleech) world champions.

Who ya gonna call? Hansel Robles [5]? Ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

Robles sure did, breaking out of his twin molds of fairly brief appearances and often shaky relief. Hansel kept the game a game when you would have wagered it would be a fiasco. He took the Mets to the fifth without giving up a run, by which time the Mets had posted a pair, each the way you’d expect, via solo home runs. Asdrubal Cabrera [6] popped one just over the left field orange line in the first and Yoenis Cespedes [7] blasted the black that surrounds the Apple in the fourth.

Robles couldn’t pitch forever, though Terry Collins likely thought about it. He let Hansel keep throwing into the fifth, which facilitated the first Kansas City run. Exit No. 47, enter No. 62, also known, if you don’t have a scorecard handy, as Erik Goeddel [8], approximately the fifteenth man on the Mets’ twelve-man pitching staff. If it felt a little like Terry stared up at the video board and saw INSERT INTERCHANGEABLE RELIEVER HERE where Ray Kinsella [9] once read Moonlight Graham [10]’s lifetime statistics, it’s only because which one is Goeddel again?

Wednesday night, Goeddel was the pitcher who got the Mets out of the fifth with no further damage and put up another zero in the sixth. Way to go, guy I had completely forgotten was on the active roster. Way to go as well to Travis d’Arnaud [11], who was catching his first major league game in ages while being thrown a figurative curve. Travis probably thought handling Bartolo would provide an amenable path for easing back into his routine. With the Mets, of course, little is routine.

Following Erik (and the Mets’ nightly offensive nap), the characters on the rubber grew more and more familiar.

Jerry Blevins [12], who impishly replied to fan questions during SNY’s pregame show, answered Terry’s prayers with a clean seventh.

Addison Reed [13], mostly unhittable in 2016, was completely unhittable in the eighth. As is his peculiar trait, Reed walked off the field with his cap brim pushed back on his head [14] in such a fashion that I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s filming Bowery Boys shorts [15] in the offseason.

Dillon Gee [16]…oh wait, he pitched for the other team, but nice to see him again.

• Finally, with Alex Gordon [17] and Lucas Duda [18] both on the DL, Jeurys Familia [19] finished off the Royals as you’d expect a lockdown closer to do. Familia has converted 23 consecutive save opportunities if you took your World Series amnesia pill.

It’s never too late for such an ending. I believe it’s called happy. It wasn’t Game Eight of the 2015-16 World Series, exactly, but it was an enormous 2-1 win, the specific opposition vanquished representing the least of it. We just lost three to the Braves. Losing Colon, hopefully not for very long, was a blow. Giving up this game before it got going would have been detrimental to the Mets’ mental health. Good for Collins for extending those arms he had to stretch. Good for Robles (65 pitches) and Goeddel (31) in particular for responding. I wouldn’t anticipate seeing Hansel again until July, but the game of June 21 was the one that had to get won.

***

Every possible pro and con argument for the Mets signing imminent free agent Jose Reyes [20] has been made in the past 24 hours. I have nothing original to add that you haven’t heard lately. To me, the most compelling aspect of a possible bargain-basement reunion between our erstwhile All-Star shortstop and the club for whom he plied his trade brilliantly in his innocent youth comes from listening to how those pros and cons are put forth.

Any statement that begins with a solemn nod to the severity of the domestic violence charge made against Reyes — the one that ultimately turned him into an ex-Rockie — is an endorsement of bringing Jose, even the physically and perhaps morally diminished version, home since a) it won’t cost much; b) the Mets’ depth is as thin as Bartolo Colon isn’t; and c) everybody deserves a second chance, particularly those persons who might capture lightning in a bottle from the leadoff spot while learning to play third base on the fly.

Any statement that begins with an acknowledgement of how great a player Reyes was between 2003 and 2011 and how much affection one felt for him at his peak leads to a rejection of the potentially prodigal infielder, either because he’s probably not capable of contributing very much anymore or because who wants to root for a man arrested for allegedly hitting his wife?

Opposites attract. Or people just prefer to imitate Reyes in his prime and motor all the way around the bases to make their point.

Last October 27, during Game One of the aforementioned World Series, Jose Reyes tweeted an image from his Hawaiian vacation [21]. It was of the game his original team was playing, airing on the TV above the bar at whatever resort he was staying. “Mets all day,” he typed, adding a string of flexed-muscle emojis for emphasis. How sweet, I thought, he still loves us. I’d given up on the idea that he’d return to the Mets anytime soon, but I hadn’t stopped adoring him in the baseball sense.

A few days later, on the same vacation, he allegedly used his own muscled arms against his spouse, which will cool your ardor for anybody from a distance.

The Mets have played 69 games in 2016. After they’d played 69 games in 2011, Jose Reyes was slashing at a rate of .348/.390/.531. No Met had ever been as exciting as Jose was in June of 2011, unless it was Jose Reyes in June of 2006. Those Junes were five and ten years ago. Jose Reyes this June is locked in at .000/.000/.000, or pretty much what the Mets have been getting out of everybody since April turned to May.

Worth a shot from a baseball perspective? Yeah, why not? At worst, he’s Rick Ankiel [22], and if he has nothing left, you sign his release. At best, you remember the uptight M. Donald Grant Mets picked up Lenny Randle [23] off the Texas Ranger scrap heap after he punched his manager, Frank Lucchesi, in the face [24], and not only did Randle produce a banner season for an otherwise dreadful Mets team, lovable Lenny is certified in retirement “the most interesting man in baseball [25]”.

Worth a shot from a sentimental perspective? You’re asking a preternaturally sentimental fan, someone who heartily applauded Bobby Bonilla [26] upon his ill-conceived return to the Mets because there was a minute chance everything would work out and wouldn’t that be a wonderful story, so of course, yeah, as long as you take another amnesia pill to forget why Jose is so incredibly available.

Worth a shot from a “baggage” perspective?

You had to ask that part.

What Jose Reyes is hauling is not baggage. It’s an entire cargo plane, even as it’s understood charges were dropped (when Mrs. Reyes chose not to cooperate with authorities), an apology was issued and a suspension was served. I’ve overlooked all sorts of miscreant and/or illegal behavior in Mets over the years, partly because shades of gray tend to tinge my view of most everything, partly because I will get behind virtually anybody who can help my team win ballgames. Knowing a player has allegedly assaulted his wife, however, is a whole other ballgame. That I can’t think about one of my all-time favorite Mets without thinking about what he was arrested for…that I can’t bring myself to picture myself cheering him vigorously in his theoretical first Met at-bat in six years despite never replacing him in my heart as my favorite Met of the more or less current era…that I feel ridiculous for even worrying about such sports consumer transactional niceties in the face of what he is alleged to have done to his wife in Hawaii last fall…

I didn’t say I wouldn’t take him back if it were somehow left up to me. But I didn’t say I would.