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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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What’s Not to Like?

I’ve invested so much of my life into loving baseball that it would have been a shame to have completely given up the game, but as Jerry Blevins prepared to face Daniel Murphy in the bottom of the tenth inning Tuesday night with two out, a runner on first and the Mets up by one, I realized that if things went astoundingly awry (and it wouldn’t be that astounding, considering the identity of the antagonist), I might have to overhaul everything I’d previously held dear. If Murphy did to Blevins what Murphy does to all Mets pitchers, and the Nationals completed in the tenth what they nearly finished in the ninth, how could I continue to love baseball? I couldn’t even fathom liking it.

I went through a similar washing my hands of the whole thing at the conclusion of the last three-way Wild Card race in which the Mets vigorously competed. That was eighteen years ago. The Mets’ vigor vanished at the worst possible juncture. They dropped their final five games and failed to capture the only at-large playoff spot then available. I was so disgusted by the outcome of the 1998 season that I swore I would no longer have anything to do with either that team or their sport ever again.

My retirement from the game lasted about a day. But I meant it when I said it in ’98 and I meant it when I thought it in the tenth inning Tuesday. Here were the Mets, not more than a half-hour removed from the cusp of a highly satisfying victory over the Nationals. Noah Syndergaard had been his lately typical extraordinary self: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 1 ER, 10 SO and only 1 SB. Thor controlled the tops of innings, while his teammates did just enough in the bottom of two of them to stake him to a 3-1 lead. After 99 exquisite pitches, the ball was handed to Addison Reed and Reed registered his team-record 36th hold, whatever that is.

All that remained was one of the great more-or-less automatics that baseball has to offer, a Jeurys Familia ninth inning. He hiccups and we jump, but have you gotten antsy to the point of clinically anxious over Familia during the Mets’ charge into Wild Card territory? I mean really anxious? In his eleven appearances since spit got real and the season turned serious, he’d thrown ten-and-a-third innings, scattered four hits, allowed a lone walk and struck out fourteen. Saves are about as dopey as holds, but Jeurys had gathered eight of those to up his season total to 48, substantially more than any Met before him.

Despite decade upon decade of watching the Mets and their closers and the ninth-leads assigned to their particular skill sets, I was relaxed, confident and anticipating the best.

You’d think I’d know better by now.

Murphy led off the ninth for the Nats. That was at least a little unsettling. Every time the Mets play Washington, another way to say he kills us is formulated and expressed. On Tuesday, it was a comparison to Lou Brock, a Hall of Famer with whom I’m fairly certain Daniel Murphy had previously never in life had been compared. In 1965, according to Elias, Brock hit safely in each of the seventeen games he played against his shall we say alma matter from the year prior. Lou became a Cardinal in 1964 after the Cubs dealt him in what has long been referred to as one of the best/worst trades in baseball history. Your characterization of Brock-for-Ernie Broglio depends on which side of the Missouri-Illinois border you sit. In any event, long before Sweet Lou blazed a trail of stolen bases to Cooperstown, that seventeen-game performance represented a record for revenge.

Guess who tied Brock’s vengeful mark Monday and shattered it Tuesday. To paraphrase what was said in Brooklyn of another Cardinal legend, here comes that Dan again. Murphy versus the Mets in 2016 has been legendary since May. Or poison. Take your pick. He had doubled against Syndergaard in the sixth but didn’t score, which in itself could have counted as a win for Thor. Overall through eight, three at-bats, no lasting damage. Yet here we were in the ninth, with the modern-day incarnation of Stan Musial presenting the first obstacle to Familia and, maybe, the unmovable object in the path of our happiness. Get by Murph (as we called him when we were young and innocent) and we’d be fine.

Getting by Murph suggests trying to weave in and out of traffic in the Midtown Tunnel. It’s all you can do to stay in your lane with everything whooshing by. Familia gripped the wheel as tightly as he could. He threw seven pitches. Two were balls. Three were fouled off. I seem to recall Sandy Alderson wanting Murphy to adjust his approach so he would hunt and peck and take and attack and I don’t remember what anymore at the plate. Somewhere along the line while growing into a feared power hitter and a fixture on the terror watch list, Daniel got good at all of that, too. No plate appearance ends until Murphy is ready to end it. So far in September, he’s getting on base at a .469 clip.

No wonder, then, Murphy connected fair on the seventh pitch he saw from Familia and did something with it. He grounded it sharply up the middle to a spot that a second baseman like Murph probably wouldn’t get to, but a second baseman like T.J. Rivera could and did, diving, smothering, grabbing and throwing as quickly as he could. Rivera, a Tuesday starter so Kelly Johnson’s batteries don’t run down and Wilmer Flores’s neck might continue to heal (I’m wondering if Wilmer’s lingering discomfort from his contact with A.J. Pierzynski’s shin guards Saturday night will be Turner Field’s final legacy unto us), made a terrific play, but not terrific enough. Murphy beat it out for an infield single.

The hit raised Murphy’s average against the Mets in 2016 to .417. Musial hit .468 against the Mets in 1962, Brock .468 versus the Cubs in 1965. So it’s not like Murph is that great.

Bryce Harper is the National whose name is supposed to be in the same conversation with baseball immortals. He hasn’t been as nearly as valuable a player to Washington this year as his New York-import teammate, but you still have to go after him like he’s the reigning MVP. Familia got two quick strikes on Harper, then a ball, then a grounder that required shortstop-turned-third baseman Jose Reyes to charge — which he didn’t do fluidly; pick up — which he did hurriedly; and fire — which he did wildly. Jose’s throw sailed past James Loney, who stretched to no avail as the ball landed in the stands. Murphy was on third. Harper, hustling just as Jonathan Papelbon lovingly taught him, was on second. Nobody was out.

Familia was having his worst money inning in a month. If your closer has no more than one of those every thirty days, you’re probably doing all right. Alas, this was no time to count our blessings. Anthony Rendon, who slew a far less tough customer the night before, came up and grounded a ball past a diving Reyes to score Murphy and send Harper to third.

One-run game. And nobody out. And Wilson Ramos, who owns the portion of the Mets pitching staff Murphy hasn’t already bought up, grounding to Rivera, another difficultly placed ball on which there was no play. Harper scores. Rendon moves to second. Wilmer Difo goes to first to run for Ramos.

Tie game. And still nobody out. Familia didn’t excel, but he didn’t do badly. He gave up balls on the ground that hit their spots, one of which flummoxed his third baseman. But a jam is a jam and Jeurys was up to his jelly in this one. Ryan Zimmerman, the syndicated-for-Washington version of David Wright (it’s like when you stay in a motel for the first time as a kid and are puzzled why all the NBC shows you know air on Channel 8), was up to either bunt compliantly or swing away heroically. The bunting didn’t work, and neither did the swinging. Zimmerman lined out to Loney softly, allowing Familia and me to breathe slightly. Then came pinch-hitter Clint Robinson, who isn’t Frank Robinson, though I always assume he is based on some fleetingly big hit he got against us last year.

C. Robby didn’t go all Frank or Brooks on our asses, thankfully. He lined to Rivera in just a confusing enough manner — T.J. plucked it inches above the dirt — to instigate a double play, with pinch-runner Difo caught off first after Rendon rushed back to second. Irrelevant of how it happened, three outs had been secured after two runs had been scored.

The tie that was a horror show moments before was now a lucky-stars-thanked situation. Yay, we get to play some more, starting with taking on Mark Melancon, the top-notch closer the Pirates traded in an effort to confound their fans regarding their contention intentions. Melancon is headed to the playoffs. The Pirates almost aren’t. Whether the Mets were aimed truly in that direction would depend, at least for a half-inning, on how well they handled Papelbon’s successor.

Jay Bruce, whose name has been mostly absent from Met pennant race accounts, led off and grounded out. Rivera, whose name was all over the bottom of the ninth in the field and had imprinted itself upon the box score with two hits and two ribbies in regulation, batted second. As he came up, I found myself sorting through his brief MLB career to date and wondering, “Has he homered yet? I don’t think he has…has he?”

I can now answer definitively that he has. The rookie from Lehman High School showed Melancon the Bronx the best way possible, via the left field grandstand. That’s where T.J. (or “T.” as his friends call him) deposited the Washington closer’s two-strike delivery for his first major league home run. The Mets were ahead again, 4-3.

That’s where it stood in the bottom of the tenth, an inning entrusted for three batters to Fernando Salas, who has been a nifty pickup. The only helpful thing Salas hasn’t done for us is go back to the beginning of his career and train as a starter, because we could really use an extra one of those this month, but bloggers can’t be choosers. Salas’s first batter, Chris Heisey — as in that ditty of yore, mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamz Chris Heisey — struck out. Trea Turner, who sources have finally confirmed for me isn’t Michael Taylor, popped out to Asdrubal Cabrera. All Salas had to do from there was take care of Jayson Werth.

Like Jeff Francoeur, Jayson Werth is mysteriously still a thing, and the thing named Jayson Werth singled to left. The de facto closer had done two-thirds of his job. Fernando still had one batter to get.

He wasn’t going to get him. Maybe if he was the actual closer, yes, he’d stay in. But Salas on the edge of the ensuing encounter did not receive the benefit of the doubt that a fully pedigreed saves artist would. He was removed in deference to a desired matchup.

Daniel Murphy, meet your match in Jerry Blevins.

Or was it going to be Blevins meeting his match? That wasn’t the idea behind Terry Collins’s decision to stride to the mound rather than let it ride. Blevins versus Murphy loomed as a mismatch in the pitcher’s favor: ten at-bats, one hit when Murph was a Met. But that was before Dani-El left his home planet of Krypton and became SuperNat.

As my mind raced back to 1998, it made a pit stop in 2012 to refuel my leaded-memory tank with visions of another extra-inning game at Nationals Park. This was June 5 four years ago, four short days removed from one of the most joyous nights in Mets history. Baseball being baseball, there was little time to rest, reflect and relax after Johan Santana’s no-hitter. More games keep coming. The one on the Fifth turned in great part on shoddy infield play. Jordany Valdespin, not really a shortstop, had been moved to shortstop in the eighth. This was the harsh post-Reyes era that didn’t fully cease until Cabrera came along. JV made an error on the first chance he saw in the tenth. A couple of batters later, another E-6. There’d be some back-and-forth with the Nats until the Mets ultimately lost in twelve. It was worse than what befell Familia artistically, though there was less to lose. It was June. It was 2012. The Mets, despite a brief uptick in first-half fortunes highlighted by Nohan, were going nowhere.

These Mets of ours right now, the September 2016 Mets, have been on the road to somewhere. It’s been one of the most scintillating trips I can remember. To have it turned around by a few balls that couldn’t quite be handled in the bottom of the ninth, then to get it back on a ball that flew off an August callup’s bat in the top of tenth, only to consider what Murphy might do in the bottom of the tenth given all he’d been doing since he donned his red cape…

If this went wrong, I could not continue to tolerate baseball. I mean I would, but I was dreading the unshakable fealty I would demonstrate in the hopes that it was just one loss, there are still seventeen to play, the Cardinals and Giants are still right there. You know — all those things we tell ourselves when a season goes to hell for a third or fourth or final time.

Blevins got two strikes on Murphy. It can’t possibly be this easy. Then followed three balls. Why does it have to be this hard? Finally, a curve that curved beautifully, away from Daniel, who swung through it an instant before it landed in René Rivera’s mitt for the third out of a 4-3 Mets win. When René dug the ball out, he may have noticed continued sole possession of the second Wild Card attached to it. St. Louis would win a bit later, but San Francisco would lose in the wee West Coast hours, leaving us a half-game from each of them in either direction as the sun rose Wednesday.

That’s absolutely critical, but somehow not quite as emotionally significant as this not having become that game we’d always remember losing. We may even remember winning it for a while. That’s probably dependent on what happens this afternoon and this weekend and clear through to October 2 and perhaps beyond.

For now, gee, it’s a wonderful game.

58 comments to What’s Not to Like?

  • joenunz

    If Daniel Murphy ever greets me with “Hey Guy”, I’m flipping him the bird.

    He ain’t no Stan…!

  • Nick

    A thing of beauty, Greg. (The post, not the game, clearly…)

    [I understand that ‘I’m never going to care about this stupid game again’ thing quite well. I actually don’t watch the games anymore. It’s simply too much on the ol’ ticker, and I have enough other responsibilities to allow myself to think I am being virtuous if I don’t watch and pretend to tend to them, while wondering what is happening in DC, or Atlanta, or wherever the whole time.]

  • argman

    I liked the Dani-El part best.
    Why baseball is a great game – the Nats tie it up and have two men on base with only one really well-struck ball. Then Robinson hits one on the nose and the Mets are suddenly out of the inning. Ok, that’s only one reason why baseball is a great game.
    And the Giants lost the way the Mets almost did, only at home. They have lost 7 games so far when leading entering the 9th inning, which is the worst mark in baseball.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    I don’t know. This one felt like a loss to me. Didn’t leave a good feeling in my gut at all. And how in hell does Daniel Murphy get, like, 12 at bats in a 10 inning game? Oh, it just seemed that way? OK fine.

    I loved the Wright/Zimmerman/NBC/Channel 8 analogy.

    • Rochester John

      I’m with you Ken. I’m always a little discontented when a blown save leads to a win. I’m disappointed that such a great start, like Thor’s last night, does not get the greatly deserved win. I know, I know, we’re not supposed to care about the wins stat anymore, but, still….

  • Harvey

    TC is a genius. He gets Flores hurt and then plays a hunch with Rivera instead of Johnson. What a guy! Manager of the Year!

  • open the gates

    What a game! A few observations:

    1) Thor becomes the fifth Met to notch a 200 strikeout season before age 25. The others: Seaver, Gooden, Matlack, El Sid. That’s a damn good rotation right there.

    2) T.J. Rivera just won the PCL batting title, and has never hit below .300 in his pro career, including this year with the Mets. Let’s not lose him please. He may not have the power to be a starting corner infielder, but he could be a heckuva bench player.

    3) TC pushed all the right buttons tonight. Credit where credit is due.

    4) Greg, your post was just as awesome as the game. Which is saying a lot.

    • Pete In Iowa

      Bench player???!!!! The way this guy hits (especially the way WE hit), I’m dumbfounded it took us until late this year to give him his shot. He can play and he can hit — we’ve got to have a spot for him.

  • Mikey

    just posted this in the last thread but wanted to re-post here because it’s about this game:

    yeah it’s almost like Terry made up for his blunder the night before by playing a “hunch” that worked beautifully. so good on Terry for that. And good for TJ…really happy for that kid. He seems like the kind of hitter that could drive opposing teams nuts and that the Mets lack–a good contact and RBI guy. the real test is, does he play the hot hand today and let TJ face another righty? He has to, right?

    and I gotta say this….I’ve seen quite enough of Jay Bruce. let him ride the pine for the rest of the month….he’s batting .190 as a Met with 11 RBI in a month and a half, when he was leading the NL in RBI when he came here. Conforto cannot possibly be worse at this point.

    finally….I’ve also seen quite enough of Daniel Murphy. hitting safely in all 18 games against the Mets which will no doubt be 19 after today? that’s ridiculous. in a year when Bryce Harper has become Jay Bruce, Daniel Murphy has become Bryce Harper. I don’t have a problem with us letting him go (though I didn’t like it at the time), but of course he went and signed with our bitter rival so he can torment us for years.

    • Eric

      It’s one thing when a pick-up like Cuddyer drops off from a decent previous season. But Bruce has fallen off from league-leading RBI man as a Red to automatic unproductive out as a Met mid-season like he flipped a switch.

  • Greg Mitchell

    Very happy with game, and props to Terry on Rivera hunch, but enough with the “Jose has played a great 3B” from the announcers or anyone else. He’s been a great pickup–moral qualms aside–and has not been a disaster at third. Bu he has now made a whopping 6 errors there in just 30 starts, which works out to over 30 in a season, which is horrific pace. And I’d wager most third-sackers would have got to that Rendon grounder in the 9th (as some analysts pointed out). So: Jose is trying, but accolades unfounded.

    Bay Watch: We’ve reached the point where the trade for Bruce has not only not been a gain but may be actually a net negative, as others who can actually hit lose ABs.

    • Dave

      There should probably be a late inning replacement for Jose at third, but with Flores hurt, I’m not sure who it would be. Kelly Johnston would be the most likely healthy option, I think. You start the game with Reyes at third and Flores/KJ at second, then move Flores/KJ to third and bring Rivera in to play second?

      • Jacobs27

        Flores is not really an upgrade defensively at 3rd. I actually feel more comfortable with Reyes out there, to be honest. It would certainly be nice if we had someone who was a better defensive third baseman.

  • Dave R.

    Is it my imagination, or do the Mets always lose these blown save games? I’m sure it just seems that way.

    This was one of those blown save situations in which the guy who blew the save deserved the win. It was through very little fault of Familia’s that they got into that mess, and he got them out of it. I’ve always felt that in blown save situations that turn into wins, the win should revert to the pitcher who was originally in line to get the win, but this was one of those exceptions.

    T.J. Rivera took off his cap and looked like Derek Jeter.

  • Gil

    GIVE TJ (T) THE BELT!

    Its incredibly hard to keep your cool during some of these games, and by god, we’re only WATCHING!

    I really liked Salas through his first two batters, but he got spooked looking in at Gossamer from the Looney Tunes (Werth). During that at bat Salas had to step off and then started aiming, and TC rightfully took him out. And then enter…. MY MAIN MAN! Mr. Blevins! Blev inducing the swing from Murph who had to have been thinking that he was getting something on or very close to the plate. But Blev tossed him an awfully good breaker that died before the ferocious bat of DM could find it. In the slow mo replay you can see Murph regretting swinging before the ball entered the frame. Nice work there, Blev. You fooled one of the best hitters in the game in a huge spot.

    Too bad the Cubbies couldn’t hold the early lead.

    Also, there is nothing wrong with our giant Viking. Thor can pitch.

  • Steve K

    Reposting from previous thread b/c I can’t resist! :)

    The momentum of last night’s game turned back toward the Mets in the bottom of the ninth. Nationals had tied the game, had 1st and 2nd, none out, and Mets looked shaky in the field. Credit Famila and the infield defense for keeping them in the game. (And yes, credit Terry for sticking with Familia. :) )

    Nats had to feel frustrated, and Mets as if they were given a second life. Sort of like a football team who ties the game on a last-minute drive, only to have the extra point blocked.

    I give props, as well, to tenth-inning heroes TJ Rivera, Salas, and Blevins.

    What could have been the worst loss of the year turned into one of the best wins. LGM!

  • Chad Ochoseis

    I read this whole post closely, and the one lingering thought that remains with me is that the Wild Card has now been in existence for more than 18 years. Is that bad?

  • LeClerc

    Entering the bottom of the ninth, I was watching a clean, crisp, satisfying game.

    Then…, Anthony Perkins ripped down the shower curtain, raised his steak knife, shrieking sounds commenced, my heart sank as I prepared for the inevitable, and…, then there was a little pop-out, and then a crazy little double play that confused me and Gary and Keith, and then the inning was over and the Mets still had a chance!

    And then TJ and Salas and Murphy and Blevins. Wow.

    One of the very best games of the year.

  • mookie4ever

    What I loved most about this game was watching Noah once again at the top of his game. Great to see he’s decided to subscribe to the Doc school of dealing with stolen bases. Just don’t let ’em on, perfect way to shut up his critics. Hugely inspiring win that gives the Mets street cred for PO should they get to & past WC. A game a good team wins even if they should have won it already.

    Wonderful post, Greg. You captured perfectly my gamut of emotions as I watched the game, unfortunately for me, on MASN from my vacation at the beach. Boy do I miss our GKR, games just aren’t the same without them. It was very strange to hear the Nats guys have total confidence in Murphy to win the game despite his dismal 1-10 against Blevins. A weird role reversal wormhole thing circa 2015.

    Also strange to hear them consistently give Mets and TC credit and respect for this late run against adversity and all odds. Didn’t sound grudging, either. Maybe a touch magnanimous, though. Now Ray Knight saying postgame “we” meaning the Nats, that was the strangest of all.

    Let’s Go Mets, let’s do this thing!

    • Mikey

      G-d bless Terry for bringing in Blevins there and for it not backfiring.

      I didn’t realize Ray Knight was a traitorous bastard…..oh well, he’s still our World Series MVP and punched Eric Davis in the face.

  • Bloggers can’t be choosers. lol, Im going to use that every chance I get.

  • Will in Central NJ

    When January arrives with its polar vortices, and we’ve all replaced the couch pillows we’ve shredded to bits while watching games such as last night’s, the entire Mets fanbase can calmly watch the rebroadcast of the 9/13/16 game on SNY’s ‘Mets Classics’.

  • Dave

    I’m in DC right now for a meeting, and a colleague from Cincinnati asked me how Jay Bruce was doing. I think he was sorry he asked. What happened to “if you hit, you play?”

  • Matt in Richmond

    Reyes isn’t Arenado at 3rd, although in fairness, it would be absurd to expect him to be so as he’s been a SS his whole career. What he has been, is an upgrade over the revolving door of well below average fielders that were playing there. Errors alone are a very insufficient way to grade someone defensively. Reyes has had a few clunkers but he has had some sparkling moments and legitimately won us a few games with his glove and arm.

    Bruce continues to look pretty bad, although he did miss a 2 rbi double by inches in his first ab yesterday. Everyone is confounded by his slump, but there is every reason to believe he can still contribute some big hits down the stretch. You don’t lead the league in XBH and RBI for 2/3 of a season by accident.

    In the discussions of Sandy’s pickups, I don’t know why I’ve neglected to mention Salas. He hasn’t gotten much work, but he’s been spot on.

    • Greg Mitchell

      You also don’t hit .230 for three straight years (except for first half of this year) “by accident.” Also he was not good for two-thirds of this year but less than half. Has hit .205 going all the way back to July 1.

      And today’s game: just struck out with bases loaded in first.

      • Matt in Woodside

        Don’t give up on Bruce. He’s a talented player. Even if he turns into late career Adam Dunn through this run and next season, he’s still a power threat that opposing pitchers have to contend with, because his history is his history. He’s still an asset in the lineup.

  • Pete In Iowa

    Great post, as usual, Greg.
    I think this will go down in the cerebral files of all Mets fans as the “TJ Rivera Game.”
    And the Giants losing on a ninth inning, 2 out, 1-2 pitch three run jack!! How sweet it is!!!
    LGM!!

  • Roger Tusiani-Eng

    Greg, You are a genius! Love your work! Much more consistent than our Metsies! See ya in October! LGM!

  • Jacobs27

    If this season turns out like 1998, at least that means we might be in store for storming back to the post-season 1999-2000-style.

  • mikeL

    ha, yes quite the pillow-biter last nite…until it wasn’t.
    the way familia got through so bad a no-outs siuation reminded me of a pat mahomes, bases-loaded, no outs jam late in ’99, i believe against the braves.
    i’m still waiting for the advantage of schedule to kick in, but as of yet, we’re traversing a no-fall zone, and our guys got us to the other side, and off the ledge,
    it was tense, and felt nearly hopeless, and we won.
    hopefully we bid adieu to the nats with another win and then take aim at locking down the top WC spot.
    and if getting there requires a ’99-like trajectory, we’ll just have to deal with it!
    and yes, this will be a mets classic, no doubt!
    LGM!!

  • Greg Mitchell

    And as some of us have been clamoring for awhile: “the other” Rivera now appears to be starting catcher. Just threw out two more runners so far today.

  • mikeL

    ’bout time.. he hits better than d’arnaud too.

  • Matt in Richmond

    No, he isn’t a better hitter than Trav. Over 8 years he has a .598 OPS compared to .709 for Trav. He is having the best year of his career and Trav is in a slump. I’m all for riding the hotter hand, but Trav will be the better player long term.

    Batting average is typically not a good measure of a player’s value, and certainly is not with Bruce. He has been a productive player/borderline All Star. His average season is 25-30 homers, 85-95 RBI and his career OPS is .784. That is a useful player no matter how you slice it. He’s in a funk right now and I’m fine with him losing playing time, but there’s no objective reason to write him off as worthless.

  • Eric

    Down to 17 games in the season, 1 game up in the loss column on the Cardinals as of the bottom of the 7th inning. These are the play-offs before the play-offs.

    On top of the swing in the game itself, there was the swing in the WC race. Cardinals, Marlins, and Pirates won, so a loss would have meant losing a game to all of the teams chasing the Mets. Meanwhile, the Giants lost, so the win meant gaining a game on the team in front of the Mets. That’s a happy swing.

    In addition to the Giants and Cardinals, the Marlins make me nervous. They’re finding their footing and the Mets have 3 left against them.

  • Steve K

    I am not happy about this game. Not so much that they lost, but HOW they lost.

    Why is Jay Bruce playing, and if he has to play, why bat him fifth? He comes up in the first, bases loaded, one out, and does not get the run in. I’m not going to get on his case because even the best players have slumps. Rather, whoever decided that he should be where he was in the lineup is accountable.

    Is Sandy telling Terry to play him b/c it would “look bad” not to play him after giving up a decent prospect for him and because of his salary?

    The Mets missed another chance to gain in the w/card race. I hope it does not come back to haunt them. If it does, Management (Terry and/or Sandy) is squarely to blame.

  • eric1973

    Lots of gems in this one, but “Bloggers can’t be choosers” takes the prize.  Still like wins, losses, batting average, and ERA, as they still tell a pretty accurate story, in general.

  • eric1973

    Hey, Steve K., yes, that would be “bad optics.”

  • 9th string catcher

    Deep breath everyone. We are finished with the toughest team left on the schedule and we’re still in a playoff spot. And the two closest contenders are playing each other. And we’re starting a home stand. Against the Twins. And the Braves. And the Phillies. Win 7 out of 9 and we’re probably find 3 games up on one of those two teams. And if we can’t, well, it’s not our year.

    • Eric

      Marlins will be tough. They have 6 against the Nationals left, but if they can hold up against the Nationals, the Marlins can break back into contention for a WC slot. At least, they can knock the Mets out of the WC game.

  • Rob E.

    Not for nothing, but on the season Bruce is hitting .246 with 29 HRs and 91 RBIs. Yes, it was bad baseball not getting the run in from third (something MANY Mets have been guilty of MANY times this year), but this is simply a guy in a slump. He’s got some flaws in his game that exacerbate flaws the Mets have as a team, but that’s not his fault, and he is NOT a useless player.

    This was not the kind of game that should rattle your confidence. They played a playoff team on the road, played them tough, and lost 1-0. We got help from the Cubs & Padres, an opportunity was lost, but no ground was. If the Cardinals win tomorrow there’s a 3-way tie, if the Giants win, we pick up a 1/2 game of the Cardinals. Not the worst predicament we’ve been in in the last 10 years.

    • Greg Mitchell

      Bruce is hitting .205 since July 1 — a far more important stat than what he did in the spring. And he’s had many, many months of “funk” in the past three years.

      • Matt in Richmond

        No. Again, batting average is the wrong number to focus on with Bruce. He’s never been a high average hitter. It’s production that matters, and a .245 hitter can be far more valuable than a .280 hitter. Yes he’s slumping now, and yes .205 is too low, even for him. That still doesn’t mean he can’t be helpful down the stretch. One need look no further than the Grandyman who came out of a months long slump to carry the team for a week. Bruce has that ability and then some.

        • Pete In Iowa

          How much rope do we give a guy who is in a “slump”?? And what kind of slump lasts six weeks?? He has contributed nearly nothing since he came over and he needs to sit in favor of DFAza, Nimmo and/or Conforto. All are better options than running Jayson Bayruce out there every day.
          It’s a real shame we couldn’t swing a deal for Lucroy. Not only would he have been an upgrade to the nth degree compared to D’Arnothing, but we wouldn’t have this absolute mess in the outfield hamstringing us now and likely next year as well.

  • Paul Schwartz

    perfectly put Rob.

  • Matt in Richmond

    No reasonable person could have expected us to not lose a single series from August 18 to the end of the season. This is hardly a gut punch. It was the toughest remaining opponent, by far, in their ballpark. I told my brother going in to the series that I hoped to avoid a sweep, even though that wouldn’t kill us. Winning it would have been a boon no doubt, but now we move on in great position.

    Chin up folks. Nobody said this would be easy. Most rewarding things in life aren’t. Enjoy the journey. Insert additional cliches at will. ;)

    LGM!!!

    • Pete In Iowa

      As far as I’m concerned, at this time of the year and in the position we are in right now, any winnable game which isn’t won is a gut punch. While the Cards and Giants choked again, our boys let another chance to pick up ground slip away by a count of 1-0. In a tight post-season chase, you just HAVE to score when you have the bases loaded and one out in the first frame. Especially against a good pitcher.
      To me, the 1-0 loss was definitely gut-wrenching, no matter the circumstances, i.e winning a series in DC, etc. When the opportunity is there, it MUST be taken no matter what.
      No more complicated than that.

  • Dave R.

    Can somewhere here explain why Collins hasn’t announced Syndergaard as the starter for Sunday’s game? Maybe my math is wrong, but looking at the calendar, starting Noah on Sunday is the only way to get three more starts out of him plus start him in the wildcard game, if there is one. Is it possible that Collins is planning on deGrom/Matz combined starts for the rest of the season and using one of them or both in the wildcard game? If so, I don’t like that at all.

    • Greg Mitchell

      He’s probably trying to buy Noah an extra day or two or rest at this point. However, even myself, who has criticized overuse of Thor in some games this year, would say he is good to go on Sunday on normal rest–was not extended in last game and, surprising, it was one of the few where he has hurled really well lately without that extra day of rest. This would also allow them to ease off Matz/deGrom duo start for another couple of days or even another week and still negate need for a Gilmartin/Ynoa start…

      • Pete In Iowa

        Agreed Greg. In a pennant chase such as this, in my view, you must go with your BEST option at ALL times, whether that be a pinch runner, pinch hitter, reliever and yes, starting pitcher as well. With just 16 games to go, every single one of them is a precious opportunity for a WIN. After all, wins, and only wins, is what will earn us the Wild Card. And more wins will likely secure home field for that game.
        No doubt in my mind that Thor should pitch on Sunday, regardless of what we happen to do on Friday or Saturday.

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