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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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Keep It Comin’ Love

The Mets, who couldn’t have been deader last week, are alive if not 100% well. When you’ve won exactly one more game than you’ve lost, yet retain aspirations of winning twelve in October/November, you can’t have everything.

Though you need to come close.

Thursday night was the must-iest win of the year, superseding Tuesday night by dint of taking place two games later. That’s how it works when the season winds toward either completion or extension. If you’re in first place by a lot, you can relax. If you’re in last place by a lot, you can shrug. If you’re upper-middling, you can’t lose series. The Mets didn’t in St. Louis. Now they can’t at home.

Laurels must be terribly uncomfortable since somebody’s always warning you against resting on them. The Mets should take that wisdom under critical advisement. Winning the final two in San Francisco, then two of three in St. Louis, has earned them a breather. So breathe…and get after Philadelphia.

The Phillies are not in the playoff race, but our demi-contenders — three out in the all-important delusion column, four in the grandeur — can’t care about such niceties. Strategizing around strength of schedule can steep only the weakest of tea. Recall what a bounty of fine fortune was bestowed upon us when we were gifted a nine-game stretch of nothing but the addled and infirm, a.k.a. Arizona and San Diego. We lost six of nine. Had we taken a few more here and there from the likes of them, the Phils and the Braves, every game wouldn’t carry that extra whiff of must.

On the field, you can’t tell the contenders from the pretenders from the not bothering to act. The Diamondbacks were demonic. The Cardinals were discombobulated. Glance at no standings and you’d never guess who it is we’re trying to catch. All you would know from the last game of the road trip that threatened to never end is the Cardinals are, in their current incarnation, not catching everything hit or thrown at them, and that certainly aided our righteous cause.

Heading the parade of advantage-takers in orange and blue were Seth Lugo, until he cramped, and Alejandro De Aza, whose style can’t be. Three cheers for Alejandro, formerly known to me as Almostandro for the way he never quite came through. He is these days experiencing a De Azanaissance, making this a welcome period of rebirth for us all. Thursday, Al (as we fair-weather fans of his call him) pulled in a possible Cardinal homer at the wall in the first, singled in two runs in the fourth and went very deep with two on in the fifth. By then, the De Azafied Mets had built a 7-0 lead, which Lugo, entering the bottom of the sixth, prepared to nurture for another inning or so, until he felt something in his calf. Perhaps it was sympathy pain for Jay Bruce.

Both Lugo and Bruce are reported doing fine, which perfectly explains why the latter didn’t play at all Thursday and the former didn’t throw another pitch. (Wait, what does “fine” mean again?)

Once Lugo turned into leg-oww — and Ray Ramirez collected his quota of souls for the evening — the Mets dipped into their bullpen. I was shocked to learn there were still pitchers in there whose arms hadn’t fallen off from accelerated nightly entry, but they’re a resilient little corps. Did you know Sean Gilmartin is on the team again?

Seven-run leads with twelve outs remaining fluffs a cushion like it oughta be, plus the bats added a few runs, so calamity was avoided via a 10-6 win. The Mets return from their arduous (for them and for us) journey 5-5 on the road and still viable within the Wild Card realm. They won a series, the mandatory minimum for teams with plans.

Congratulations, fellas. Now keep doing that.

17 comments to Keep It Comin’ Love

  • Greg Mitchell

    Note: deGrom’s next start may be pushed back a few days. Terry says he looks bushed.

  • eric1973

    “Fine” means ‘Surgery on Thursday.’

    If they ever do a re-re-make of “Rosemary’s Baby,” Ray Ramirez gets the ‘John Cassavettes’ role.

  • mookie4ever

    Well, well, well, what do we have here? The Mets have arisen from the grave that media and fans keep heaving them into. I’m stubbornly holding into faith, at least as long as I can avoid them being the death of ME. I keep getting my daily chuckle reading blog & twitter reactions to TC’s lineup, yesterday groaning about including DeAza, Loney & Wilmer plus Lugo. Still the mix-n-match seems to work. Magic formula? Luck evening out? Purely random? Whatever it is, looking forward to lots more of Terry’s last laughs. LGM!

  • Matt in Richmond

    Watching the game last night, I was struck by 2 things in particular. 1) Jose Reyes continues to give even more than the most optimistic of us could have asked for. Every night he does something to help us win…with his bat, his legs, his glove or his arm (sometimes all of them on the same night). Thank heavens for Jose Reyes. I’m glad we have been able to shoehorn Flores’ bat in at other spots against lefties, because it had become apparent he can’t really play third. I think Reyes made 4 plays last night that Wilmer wouldn’t come close to making.
    2) I think maybe our luck has started to turn, at least a little bit. Wasn’t Cabrera at one point like 0 for twenty something with RISP? For a good hitter having a good year, it was just crazy…and not a skill problem, but just a bizarre luck problem. Just since coming back he has numerous knocks with RISP and nobody is even talking about it. In addition, last night seemed like the mirror image of so many of our games from earlier in the year. Every close play, every review, every 50/50 ball to the outfield seemed to go our way. The Cardinals must have flied out to the track 5-6 times. They had several infield bullets right at guys. Reyes was making highlight play after highlight play at 3rd. And we got a bunch of dink hits to go along with our solid drives. Just a small correction to what had been a pattern of horrible luck all year, and hopefully a sign of things to come.

    • To your second point first, maybe we’re due for some things that didn’t work previously to start functioning properly. It might explain De Aza. It might help Granderson. OTOH, it might doom deGrom.

      To your first point second, it’s not that Reyes is as good as vintage Jose. It’s that he’s better than the available alternatives. As KC, the Sunshine Band and I urged previously, keep it comin’.

  • LeClerc

    DeAza has the hot hand. Cespedes always simmering, ready to boil. Ruggiano looking very good against LHPs. If Bruce’s calf is “fine”, can’t Granderson sit and meditate a little while? The flailing strikeouts and ground-outs into the shift are becoming very predictable.

    A sweep of the Phillies seems doable with Bart, Noah, and the mighty Gsellman ready to rock.

  • Left Coast Jerry

    A couple of things about the game last night. First, De Aza was only in the lineup because Jay Bruce was unavailable. He gets 5 RBI in one game after Bruce only has 6 all month.

    Second, Wilmer Flores scores from first on a single. Wilmer Flores? Not exactly Jose Reyes or Rickey Henderson on the basepaths. When I saw the ball hit, knowing that the runners were going on the pitch, I figured that both runners would score on a double by Rene Rivera. Imagine my shock when I saw Rivera anchored at first. I’ve got to believe that Mookie Wilson, today at age 60, would have made second base if he’d hit that ball.

  • Eric

    I agree these mix&match Mets, with an unreliable offense and a worn-down pitching staff, can’t take any opponent lightly.

    Still, I’m reminded that last season before the Mets surged while the Nationals tripped, the hope was for meaningful baseball in September. The Mets gave us a lot better than that.

    Despite their at times ugly struggle this season, it looks like the Mets will give us meaningful baseball in September. We’re lucky to have it because it’s better than the Mets’ play and troubles have warranted.

  • Dave

    Even after building up a 7-0 lead it wasn’t exactly smooth or easy, but winning a game against what is at least in theory a good, contending team while you have a guy starting who was until recently a non-prospect minor leaguer, and led by the mighty bat of the guy not too long ago was being called DFAza…good sign. Starting to get concerned about Addison Reed though. Lately he’s gone from completely lights out to “who left the lights on in here? You think we own PSE&G?” Hoping he doesn’t fade down the stretch the way Tyler Clippard did last year.

    Kind of glad Keith wasn’t on this trip. I can just imagine the Cardinals Fanboy’s reaction to that wretched defense. And why did Gary Cohen seem to think that every fly ball was a home run off the bat? Do they have a weird angle in that stadium or something? There were 200-foot fly balls last night that got an immediate raise in his voice.

  • Lenny65

    I keep reminding myself that “this” would have been a “successful” season more times than not throughout our rather dubious history, it just suffers coming as it does on the heels of 2015 is all. Sometimes it helps, sometimes, well, you know the deal. Never say die!

  • mookie4ever

    I agree, Eric and Lenny65, that is a good positive way to look at it this year. Kind of how I was last year until it finally became obvious it would be more. Protecting my heart, so to speak. It really is pretty amazing they are still in it, considering all that has gone wrong. Love them anyway no matter what.

  • NostraDennis

    Nice piece, Greg. It also contains one of the most misspelled words in the English language. “Supersede”.

    As the Ol’ Perfesser would say, “You could look it up”.

  • Lenny65

    It’s been a weird season to say the least. At times they’ve been downright ponderous to follow, everyone’s always injured all the time, the lineup is full of all sorts of peculiar names yet here they are, still hovering around contention as August winds down. We’d have killed for that in, say, 1979 or 1993 or 2004 or 2012. It’s been a disappointing year for sure, but still being interested this late in a season isn’t always the norm for Mets fans, so there is that.

  • Alhrgit alright alright that’s exactly what I needed!