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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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Cigarless

What to do with a 1-0 loss? Throw stuff? Suck it up? Shrug? There are no wrong answers. It is the baseball epitome of close but no cigar.

I’m not sure of the appeal of cigars, but one run sure sounded good on Wednesday. One Met run, that is. There was one National run, and it sounded, if you’ll excuse the expression, devastating. Wilson Ramos hit a solo home run off Fernando Salas in the seventh inning in Washington and it felt like we had just gotten our ash kicked beyond the point of surgical repair. All that was required of the Mets in their subsequent two innings of batting was a single run to change the tenor of the late afternoon, but some days a molehill is a mountain.

One-nothing doesn’t imply insurmountability in the long term. In 1986, the Mets lost each of their postseason Game Ones by that score and it didn’t stop them from taking both best-of-sevens. For that matter, their last regular-season setback was of the 1-0 variety, Ron Darling not quite beating Montreal’s Bob Sebra. (It dropped the Mets’ mark to 103-54; if you couldn’t shrug that one off, baseball might not have been the game for you.) On the final day of the 1973 schedule, the Sunday when it was conceivable five teams could finish tied for first, the Mets dropped the opener of their doubleheader at Wrigley Field, 1-0. Jon Matlack pitched great, nicked for one lousy run in the eighth inning while otherwise striking out nine and going the distance. Alas, the Mets couldn’t push one lousy run across against Rick Reuschel and Bob Locker, and there went as crucial a late-September game as you could imagine.

In the nightcap, the Mets won, 9-2, and the next day, Makeup Monday, if you will, they eliminated everybody who was still standing to clinch the division title. The only impact from the previous day’s 1-0 defeat was that it survived in allegory form to be retold reassuringly during a somewhat similar September more than four decades into the future.

Thanks to Baseball Reference’s Play Index tool, we know the Mets have lost 118 regular-season games by a score of 1-0. Comparatively, they’ve won 131 games in the same fashion, the most recent of them June 25 in Atlanta. For a team better known historically for its pitching than hitting, it makes sense we’d be more successful than not in this particular subgenre of results. You’d like to think if you give a Seaver, a Gooden, a Gsellman one run that they could make it stand up.

OK, maybe not Robert Gsellman, but then again, the rookie held the Mets aloft for five-and-two-thirds innings, aided by a pair of strike-’em-out/throw-’em-out double plays (René Rivera with the gun twice) plus one conventional 4-6-3 twin-killing. The Mets gave Robert nothing. Or Tanner Roark, Blake Treinen and Mark Melancon gave the Mets nothing. You can look at it from both sides, though you rarely do when you can’t believe your team couldn’t score one freaking run in nine innings. To some degree, however, you enter cap-tipping territory when you partake of the wrong end of a 1-0 game.

Or helmet-throwing. Again, there are no wrong answers.

For a franchise that has existed in its current guise only twelve seasons, the Nationals have demonstrated an unhappy talent for winning 1-0 games from the Mets. Wednesday’s was their fifth, as many as their Expo forebears notched across 36 campaigns. The one-nothing whitewashing that stands out as most aggravating is the first, which was tossed at Shea Stadium on May 15, 2008, while Gary, Keith and Ron broadcast from the Upper Deck and I stifled my screams on Field Level. Mike Pelfrey, who hadn’t pitched too many games of his life to that point, was pitching the game of his life. Big Pelf went seven-and-two-thirds, blemished not at all until Wilson Ramos prototype Jesus Flores doubled, Willie Harris (aaauuuggghhh!!!) bunted and Felipe Lopez sank a sac fly from one-run range in the eighth. The Mets made Jason Bergmann and his extraneous ‘n’ look like Jon Matlack for seven innings, striking out nine times, and then did so little against Luis Ayala in the eighth that they apparently jotted a note to themselves to “Go get Luis Ayala for the stretch drive should we be in one this year and find ourselves incredibly desperate for relief pitching.”

Come the ninth, the Mets were coming on as if they planned to assert themselves once and for all in what had been the wheels-spinning aftermath of the 2007 devastation. Carlos Beltran singled. Ryan Church didn’t, so Beltran stole second while Carlos Delgado batted and took third on Flores’s errant throw. Now this was more like it: one Carlos on third with one out, the other at the plate prepared to cut overgrown tattoo parlor pole Jon Rauch down to size.

Delgado lined to first. One out. Beltran was caught off third. Nationals first baseman Aaron Boone (aaauuuggghhh!!!) threw to Ryan Zimmerman. Two out. Added to what Church didn’t do a batter earlier, three out.

Now that was a one-nothing loss to throw things at because the ending was so, well, aaauuuggghhh!!! (Four months later, Pelfrey and the Mets would lose 1-0 to the Nats again, in Washington. Score a couple of runs in each of those games, and there are playoffs at Shea before it is torn down, I just now realized…aaauuu…ah, whaddaya gonna do?) The game in which Mr. Roark was no Mets fan’s fantasy took a different trajectory. Its missed opportunity arose as early as possible, in the top of the first. Jose Reyes singled. Asdrubal Cabrera singled. Yoenis Cespedes popped out, but Ramos whiffed on a passed ball and Curtis Granderson recovered from a one-and-two count to walk and load the bases.

Jay Bruce was up for the next three pitches and back on the bench seconds after the third pitch. Two out. The offensive hero of Tuesday night, T.J. Rivera, fouled out to Bryce Harper on a ball Harper had to dive, slide and not slam into the right field sidewall in order to hold onto. Three out.

Everything about that inning told me we were probably screwed, starting with the setup of Reyes and Cabrera getting on base. Seriously. It was one of those “this should be great, but it won’t be” sensations I’m sometimes overcome by. A younger version of myself would have salivated over having exactly the guy up who I want up in that situation. Of course I want Cespedes up with two on and nobody out.

I AM GOING TO HAVE AN INTERLUDE NOW.

On August 14, 1985, the Mets trailed the Phillies, 2-0, going to the bottom of the ninth at Shea. They had been as hot as they’d been at any time since 1969, winning 30 of 37, including their previous nine. I was 22 and almost always believed the Mets would, never mind could, come back. It was that kind of season and I was that kind of fan.

Howard Johnson led off and drew a walk from Kevin Gross, who was going for the shutout (good lord, I miss starters pitching in the ninth). Davey Johnson enlisted Rusty Staub to pinch-hit for Rafael Santana (good lord, I also miss having a pinch-hitter deluxe batting in the ninth). Rusty walked. Rick Aguilera pinch-ran for Rusty because the only thing you’d ask Staub to do in the last year of his star-spangled career, if you could help it, was pinch-hit. Clint Hurdle was going to pinch-hit for Roger McDowell, who had replaced Darling in the eighth and given up the second Phillie run in the ninth to Gross (see — some pitchers could pitch and hit late in games). Righty Gross was pulled in favor of lefty Don Carman. Lefty Hurdle was pulled in favor of righty Ron Gardenhire. So much chess!

Gardenhire, who was a fine manager but mostly let me down as a player, bunted. Carman, whose name is the one I hear when I listen in my mind to Harry Kalas doing Phillies games, threw the ball past first baseman Mike Schmidt (not a misprint; Schmitty played some first). The error placed Gardy on second, Aggie on third and HoJo across the plate. These Mets who we knew on a nickname basis were within one. Veteran Tom Paciorek, obtained to be sort of a righthanded Rusty, pinch-hit for rookie Lenny Dykstra. More righty-lefty stuff. Paciorek was intentionally passed to load the bases. There was nobody out. The Mets, according to 22-year-old me, could not lose.

Wally Backman, who maybe deserved more respect as a manager but was definitely deservedly revered as a player, faced a tough assignment in Carman. The Mets had recently given up on Kelvin Chapman, who had been getting the starts at second against lefties, the ones in which Wally clearly didn’t excel (a situation that led to the acquisition of Tim Teufel in the ensuing offseason). Wally was a switch-hitter, but not to great effect. For 1985, he is listed as having batted .324 as a lefty, .122 as a righty. With no better option at hand, southpaw Carman got righty-swinging Wally to ground to third baseman Rick Schu, who threw home to Ozzie Virgil, who, instead of calling his aunt, forced Aguilera.

That was OK, though. Keith Hernandez was up next. Keith Hernandez, for all you kids out there, was everything in the summer of 1985. During the 30-7 stretch alluded to above, Keith had slashed .382/.449/.583 and had grilled forty of those “ribeye steaks” he so favors. Bases still loaded, only one out, the Mets trailing by Twiggyesque run. Of course I salivated over having exactly the guy up who I wanted up in that situation. Of course I wanted Hernandez up.

The Mets could not lose, yet they did. After “seven pitches and four minutes,” as the Times put it, Keith grounded to second baseman Juan Samuel. Samuel flipped to shortstop Tom Foley for one out, and Foley relayed to Schmidt for the second out. The game was over. The Mets lost by one run. It was frustrating, but not devastating, since it was the middle of August and the Mets remained in first place. “You’ve carried us for a month, Mex, can’t do it every night,” is how Hernandez remembered his teammates patting him on the back afterwards in his 1985 diary If At First…

That 2-1 loss didn’t sting nearly as badly in the moment as, say, the 1-0 loss at Shea to Washington in 2008 (or, to be honest, that 1-0 loss in Montreal after everything was clinched in 1986, which somehow still annoys me), yet it’s stayed with me for 31 years because it taught me that even though you have up exactly the guy who you can’t imagine not carrying you, sometimes the guy can only lift so much. If Keith Hernandez at the peak of his clutchness couldn’t deliver on demand, how could I expect anybody else to do so every single time?

I AM DONE WITH MY INTERLUDE NOW.

Cespedes didn’t come through against Roark. Neither did the formerly Red white elephant in the room, Bruce, who needs a pat on his back, a rub on his shoulders, a kick in his decidedly unsmoldering ash, something. I prescribe a little faith and a ton of encouragement. I’m predicting my prescription will be ignored. Somehow I don’t think giving up and heaping abuse is the answer where a struggling human being we wish to succeed is concerned. The ol’ “he can’t be this bad” song from the Bay days is playing in my head. That was an extended mix went on for three years. We need a change of tune for two weeks. Jay’s due. Let’s hope. Or let’s see De Aza. Or Conforto. Or Nimmo. Or Tom Paciorek, who wasn’t much of an answer in 1985, but did more down the stretch than Bruce has thus far in 2016.

The one guy who’s worrying me more than Jay Bruce is Wilmer Flores, because he’s not playing at all (an option that sounds pretty good where Bruce has been concerned). Wilmer’s not having been pinch-run for in Atlanta not only potentially cost the Mets a critical run, it has definitely cost them a Wilmer. We were told his neck was bothering him after his collision with A.J. Obnoxious. It turns out his wrist is a bigger deal. He wasn’t available to swing a bat in the Nationals series. That’s an absence you begin to notice, no matter how many times SNY replays T.J. Rivera’s homer. Injuries are what have us in a three-way tug-of-pacificity at present. If we were a little healthier, yesterday’s 1-0 loss would have damaged our charge at first place, not a Wild Card. But we’ve got who we’ve got and we’ve got to go from there.

To bring this thing semi-circle, I’m brought back once more to 2008, to the part where we survived the 1-0 losses to Washington and were hanging in there in the last week of the season. The top of our order was sublime: Reyes, Beltran, Wright, Delgado twice, with Beltran fifth otherwise and an innocent rookie who’d never hurt us named Daniel Murphy batting second. Then the bottom dropped out. Those were the days and nights marked by Ramon Martinez at second, Robinson Cancel catching, whoever wherever else. Sometimes it worked. Often enough it didn’t. Despite a midseason surge (40-19) that elevated crazy ’08 above the wreckage of despicable ’07, the division and the Wild Card both got away. Even with extra bodies in September, we always seemed short of players.

Currently, the top half of the Met order is imposing: Revived Reyes, Capable Cabrera, Scary Cespedes, Evergreen Granderson. It goes a long way toward explaining the 17-7 record in effect since August 20. After them, though, I feel the earth disappear under my feet. It’s a mosh pit of moving parts five through eight. The bench strength is stretched to fill the starting lineup. The second wave of projected starters need to be plugged into a wall outlet. Losing Flores for any length of time much past the four games he’s already missed isn’t a torpedo, but all these voids become contiguous, latching onto one another and forming a season-swallowing sinkhole. In the second half of 2008, Tatis, Easley, Maine, Wagner…before you knew it, yeesh.

We don’t know “yeesh” yet and we don’t have to. Because we are by necessity at least a little bit a Cardinal and Giant blog these days, it is my pleasure to repeat what you already know, that each Met competitor lost Wednesday, so it’s still SFG and NYM in the playoffs that don’t start today, with the STL Redbirds flying a touch below radar. Half-games are wild in the Wild Card race. A St. Louis win tonight at San Francisco ties all three teams with a 77-69 record and sixteen left to play. If you’re a chaos theory fan, the kind who reserved your salivation in 1973 for everybody finishing 80-82, that’s your preferred temporary outcome. If you’re a Mets fan, I’m not sure. A pox on both their houses is instinctively appealing, but I think I just want somebody to get swept and go away. Three to make two hasn’t worked in the NBA since 1981, and it won’t work on October 5.

That’s a ways off. Let’s concentrate on scoring more runs than the last-place Twins this weekend. The Twins used to be the Washington Senators. The Washington Nationals used to be the Expos. Anybody can beat anybody. Take no games for granted.

Why am I telling you this? Somebody tell the Mets.

32 comments to Cigarless

  • Tom C.

    Great post, Greg. 1-0 and 2-1 games are great if you win them, but are so darn frustrating when you lose them. Here’s hoping we can contain Mr. Dozier this weekend. LGM

  • Left Coast Jerry

    “Mr. Roark was no Mets fan’s fantasy.” Great line, Greg. Let’s hope our bats will tattoo the Twins pitchers this weekend.

  • LeClerc

    I’d like to see Bruce dropped down in the lineup for half a dozen games. If that doesn’t ignite him – then bench him and give DeAza/Conforto/Nimmo a shot.

    If there’s a team to sweep, it’s the Twins. Noah can’t start third game? Hmmmn…,

    More Rene Rivera please.

  • Dave

    I loved when people started describing cigars the same way they did expensive bottles of wine…notes of oak, leather, sage and vanilla, with overtones of foot-deep cow manure and wet dog. So no, I’m not looking for a cigar, just a W.

    I’m getting very grateful for days off so everyone can catch their breath and get healthy. Oh yeah, and the players too. I was talking about the fans.

    • Dennis

      “I loved when people started describing cigars the same way they did expensive bottles of wine…notes of oak, leather, sage and vanilla, with overtones of foot-deep cow manure and wet dog.”

      LOL!!!! Might be the best post I’ve read here.

    • Matt in Richmond

      Hilarious about the cigars and totally agree about the day(s) off. Earlier in the season, I get annoyed with days off…I’m greedy and want more baseball. At this point, I relish the time to exhale and recognize the benefit to the team as well.

      • Dave

        Well, I’m glad you both liked my cigar quip…only slightly off-topic, given that Greg introduced it to begin with. I smell a cigar and I instantly think of either a Shea Stadium men’s room back in the day, or my wife’s Uncle Nicky.

        These games are too stressful at this point for there to be one every day. So tonight instead I’m faced with the very real possibility of the Jets making me bang my head against the wall, but that’s a self-inflicted condition.

        • Of all the places I could associate with a cigar, it’s Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. We were visiting Southern California around holiday time one year when Michigan was in the Rose Bowl and Wolverines fans were everywhere, including one with the stinkiest stogies imaginable. No, I didn’t get the late ’90s Aficionado shtick.

          Good luck Jets. Too soon to care strenuously, but no 0-2 if at all possible. I hear the games that take place during baseball season still count later.

  • Pete In Iowa

    Absolutely Greg, we need a sweep (don’t care who) this weekend on the left coast. Three of four would be acceptable, bit not ideal. Definitely don’t want to see a split. In any case, that brings me to the second point which you are so right about:
    “Take no games for granted.”
    It will make no difference what happens in SF this weekend if we don’t take AT LEAST two of three from the Twinkies.

  • LeClerc

    No Ynoa please.

  • Curt

    Great post!

    I favor a St. Louis win where we can all start the season again. What’s old will be new again. Besides, didn’t we start the season strong?

    (Checks) Er, 9-7 the 1st 16 games. Not gonna do it. How about the second 16? 11-5, better, probably good enough but I’ll go for the stretch where we went from 4-6 to 17-9. Yup, 13-3 over the last 16 games will probably do it – THAT’S the 16-game season I want.

  • Eric

    Not much to criticize about the loss. Collins didn’t make any obvious mistakes. Unlike with Montero, Collins pulled Gsellman on time. Gsellman and company pitched well enough to win. Salas pitched well enough, too. Ramos just got to one. Bruce continues to frustrate, but that was his spot in the 1st inning.

    “What to do with a 1-0 loss?”

    Just what you’ve done. The loss and the case in point of Flores’s more-serious-than-1st-thought injury are reminders that these Mets haven’t cured their 2016 handicaps. They’ve been fighting through them and winning in spite of them. The rubber game and series loss are a reminder that the Mets right now are not a top-tier team, which is a reminder that the Mets have to be sharp against the Twins.

    They’ve earned their way to an advantageous position where they control their own destiny, but it’s not a comfortable position. Whereas they could pencil in a series loss to the Nationals and come away satisfied with 1 win, the series the rest of the way are all must-win. Yet their handicaps – the scoring trouble, key players playing wounded, and key players out – are still there. More than still there, with Flores’s now indefinite absence, the handicaps are still adding.

    With the Giants and Cardinals neutralizing each other for now, I’m more nervous about the Marlins. While the Pirates have continued to spiral, the Marlins have stabilized. They’re in reach of the Mets at 4 games back (recalling, of course, 7 with 17). I assume the Marlins have circled their 3 games against the Mets as their last best chance to climb into the WC game.

    As far as Giants-Cardinals, I just want one team to knock the other team back into the Marlins’ lap. I don’t care which one. The 2nd WC slot with the game either in SF or STL is good enough for me. More useful than home field would be enough of a cushion in the last week of the season to set up their rotation and rest position players and relievers for the WC game, wherever it’s played.

    I’m nervous, but I’m pleased the Mets are still the defending National League champions in the middle of September. It didn’t look like they would be a month ago. Now, just like it is in the post-season, the Mets just need to win the games in front of them.

  • Pete In Iowa

    And what is it that this club just can’t get to 10 games over?? They have had seven shots and are 0-7.
    Here’s hoping that this weekend gets them over the hump!
    LGM!!!

  • open the gates

    “…a Seaver, a Gooden, a Gsellman…”

    To paraphrase the Passover Haggadah, if Gsellman’s entire career thus far yielded nothing but that comparison, however tongue in cheek, it would have been enough.

    If nothing else, he and Lugo have forced their way into the conversation about next year’s rotation. Who knows if Harvey and/or Wheeler will ever again be as projected, and Bartolo can’t do this forever. It’s good to know that the second tier of pitching seems to have what it takes (although Ynoa appears to mean “not Noah” in Spanish).

    • Eric

      Harvey and Wheeler are the big question marks, but deGrom and Matz are concerning, too.

      Setting aside his minor league history, Matz missed a lot of time last season with various injuries and he’s missed a lot of time again this season with various injuries. That’s a trend.

      It’s also now 2 seasons in a row that deGrom has needed extended rest in the mid-late season. This season, there appears to be some injury to go along with the fatigue. That’s a concerning trend, too.

  • open the gates

    And apropos of Jay Bruce striking out looking with the bases loaded, I checked out the Met database to determine what other JB’s the Mets have had besides Jason Bay and the aforementioned Mr. Bruce. Amid several other nonentities, I came up with Jeromy Burnitz, John Buck, and Jay Bell. Um, Houston, we may have a problem. (To be fair, the list includes our own Jerry Blevins, who’s having a fine season in relief, as well as another serviceable reliever of yore named Juan Berenguer. But they’re pitchers, so they don’t count.)

  • Greg Mitchell

    Burnitz was actually a good player (elsewhere). Buck had that amazing HR run for us. Jay Bell was fairly good longtime MLB starter (first with Pittsburgh). The Bay comparison remains hauntingly apt until it is not, except that Bay was a far better player than Bruce until he got here.

  • Rob E.

    You seem to have had a bone to pick with Bruce since day 1. The reality is that in the last five years, he’s had less than 25 HRs and 87 RBISs once, in a miserable 2014 when he played 137 games. I don’t want to make it sound like Jay Bruce is Babe Ruth, but a guy who hits 25 HRs and drives in 87 every year is NOT a sinkhole. He is a notoriously streaky player and you are judging him on a short sample. And again, he was an All-Star THIS YEAR (and Adam Duvall was also, so you can’t call Bruce a “mercy” All-Star).

    It’s NOT the same as Jason Bay, Bay was coming off a career year, in a hitters park, in a hitters DIVISION, playing in a loaded lineup where his 36 HRs and 119 RBIs batted SIXTH. The Mets were asking him to come to a park that killed right-handed hitters, and to be the cleanup hitter. There were red flags all over the place, and that was pretty well-documented. It was a classic case of a team putting a player in a position where he couldn’t succeed.

    The Mets are not asking that of Jay Bruce. If they let Cespedes walk after the year and tell the fans “we don’t need Cespedes, we’ve got Jay Bruce,” then yeah, that would be bad. But the way the lineup is now (and probably next year), there is a place for a guy like Jay Bruce, who hits 25 HRs and drives in 87 runs annually. And if he DOES turn out to be Jason Bay, they are on the hook only for next year, so it won’t kill them for four years like Bay’s contract did.

    • Pete In Iowa

      Like Terry has said “If you hit, you play.” Mysteriously, this hasn’t applied to Bruce. Despite what his average career numbers are, clearly, the guy hasn’t hit since his Aug. 1 arrival.
      In my view, right now, there are better options who should be playing… Nimmo, Conforto, and yes, DFAza even.
      I like Bruce and would love to see him contribute in a big way, but you gotta play your best options with 16 games to go in a tight pennant race. The way he’s played up to now, he is not the best option to play RF. It’s as simple as that.

      • Rob E.

        I am OK with playing the hot hands in a pennant race like this…no issue with that at all. But you shouldn’t give up on or bury a 29-year-old veteran player because he slumps for a couple of weeks.

        Bruce has been a letdown so far, I am also not disputing that, but the flaws he has shown so far a LOT of Mets have shown this year. You can play hot hands and cross your fingers, but it’s not like there is a proven excellent player sitting on the bench while Bruce plays. All the guys that could take his place have flaws too.

        • Pete In Iowa

          Slump for a couple of weeks? On my calendar, August 1 thru Sept. 16 is nearly seven weeks.
          I don’t disagree that Bruce over his career has produced, but how long can we wait at this point? I view all of our remaining 16 games as elimination games. This is no time to wait for a seven week slump to end. Granted, the possible replacements are all flawed in their own varying ways, but at this point, I believe they are all better options. This may not be the case next April or May, but it sure is right now. DeAza, for example, has had some big hits for us lately. According to Terry’s edict, he should be playing over Bruce right now.
          At the same time, if Bruce is in there for the next few games, I sure hope he begins to produce.
          And I will be one happy Mets fan if he does!

          • Rob E.

            Again, no problem playing the hot hand in the pennant race. If the question is “why is he playing in a pennant race when he’s slumping?” that’s fair. If the question is “Why did we get this guy, he’s useless,” that’s not fair.

            Just for some perspective, even with Bruce’s seven weeks of awfulness and De Aza’s recent hot streak, Bruce is still hitting 40 points higher on the season. That’s why you don’t give up on guys and bury them. De Aza sucked for a long time, and now he’s contributing. Bruce was an All-Star, and now he’s down. It’s cyclical. Just ride it out and Bruce’s day will come.

    • Greg Mitchell

      You note Bay’s “career” year but ignore that the first 75 games (not even half) of this year was Bruce’s “career almost half-year.” Bay had much better all-around numbers because he could hit for average. As I have noted, Bruce averaged .230 for two years before his career almost half-year and has hit .205 since July 1 and worse since August 1.

      And what you say about Bay also applies to Bruce: was in an even better hitters park in hitting division and protected by all-star Duvall.

      What’s amusing is I remember so many Mets fans and writers in July 2015 when names were floated for pickups then and so many said, no, no, Jay Bruce, he is overrated, doesn’t hit for average and poor fielder, no, try to get Cespedes or someone else…

      • Rob E.

        Again, I’m not saying Bruce is Babe Ruth. But even a guy who hits .230 with 25 HRS and 87 RBIs has some value. You can spin his batting average statistics any way you want, but not the 25 HRs and 87 RBIs. Granderson has similar numbers (minus the ribbies). And they got him when he was pretty much the only low-cost option out there when Cespedes got hurt. This isn’t a “build-around” guy, it’s a “fixing a hole” guy…whi is having a SLUMP.

        The Red Sox lineup in 2009 was Ellsbury-Pedroia-Ortiz-Youkilis-Drew-Bay-Lowell-Varitek-Nick Green. They also had Victor Martinez and his .336 for 1/3 of the season. Playing 81 games in Fenway and a bunch of division games in Yankee Stadium and Toronto and Baltimore. That’s not quite the same as having Adam Duvall behind you on the Reds. Jay Bruce has hit 30 HRs three times (and 29 once) and has driven in 90 runs four times. His career average is .247, but even if we use the .230 you cite, that still makes him a .230/25/90 guy…who is having a SLUMP.

  • Matt in Richmond

    Rob E is all over this as usual. I don’t know anyone who thought we were getting a triple crown candidate when we got Bruce. What we thought we were getting was a guy with above average home run and rbi ability to provide some protection for Yo in the lineup. He hasn’t produced at the expected clip yet, but judging him off of 6 weeks instead of 6 years makes little sense. And while his defense won’t win him any gold gloves, I would argue that the Mets outfield defense has improved with him out there. He clearly has a better arm for right field than Grandy.

    Bottom line, I’m all for rolling with the hot hand to a certain extent, and sitting Bruce against lefties and maybe even some righties until he gets his stroke back, but our upside is higher with him in the lineup long term.

  • Jason Fry

    As explored above, Brucegate should be a model for how to conduct vigorous discussions in the future. Light > heat. Thank you all.

  • eric1973

    Ah, none of these guys knows what they’re talking about!

    Just kidding.

    But in all seriousness, I could not be more disappointed in his performance. I loved the trade, and do not know if he should play or not. His upside is the best, but his reality-side is the worst. And then do we keep him for next year? I trust Sandy and will go along with him on this one, whatever he does.

    Just win tonite, tomorrow, and the next day. Is that considered taking it one game at a time?