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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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They’re Dropping Like Mets

Matt Harvey wasn’t supposed to pitch Friday night, but went seven. Zack Wheeler is rarely supposed to hit, but he doubled as a pinch-hitter for Harvey. Robert Gsellman neither hit nor pitch, yet he was bunted to second and took third on a groundout. Michael Conforto, despite presumed holes in his game, hit a home run the other way and made a running catch just shy of the left field sidewall. Curtis Granderson, mired in his traditional April morass, singled a run home in the fourth, clouted two runs home in the sixth and later slid just shy of the right field sidewall to catch a fly ball in the sitting position. That play was in the tenth, by the end of which Jerry Blevins, Addison Reed and Josh Smoker had combined for three shutout innings.

The Mets held their own with what comparatively little they had for as long as they could, past the regulation boundaries of a normal game, whatever a normal game is anymore. Eventually, though, the Mets — whoever the Mets are anymore — succumbed to their current state of affairs and lost to the Nationals, 4-3, in eleven.

Daniel Murphy (.323/.362/.523) didn’t have quite a game for a change, but Bryce Harper (.407/.521/.864) surely did. Bryce tagged Harvey for a two-run homer in the “surprise — you’re starting!” first and evaded a tag from “surprise — you’re here at all!” third baseman T.J. Rivera in the eleventh to set up what would become the winning run. Matt also gave up a solo shot to Nationals catcher Jose Lobaton, who crossed home plate and then texted Wilson Ramos to let him know Nat catchers can still homer at will against Mets pitching.

Except for the two long balls, Matt, sans best stuff, kept Washington in gridlock. The Mets were a match for Tanner Roark, who gave up three runs in the other direction. The Nat bullpen, unfortunately, wasn’t so easily tapped, not even the enduring left arm of social pariah Oliver Perez. It indeed took until the eleventh for everything to certifiably fall apart. Smoker’s best efforts from the tenth fogged over in the eleventh. He gave up a leadoff double to freaking Harper, stood on the mound while a signal was relayed indicating an intentional walk of Murphy and exited in favor of closer from happier times Jeurys Familia.

Familia tried shaking off his considerable rust Thursday night versus the Phillies, yet it clung stubbornly to his heretofore inactive right arm over thirty low-leverage pitches. Asked to rescue a game rather than save it during Friday’s eleventh, Jeurys wasn’t really Jeu-ready. He threw a pitch wild enough that allowed Harper to race to third from second. Kevin Plawecki (another very recent promotion) took just long enough to find the handle before winging the ball to third just late enough so that Rivera couldn’t eliminate Harper. Replay review showed Bryce was barely but definitively safe. Murph, who courteously didn’t instigate a double play when he could have earlier — how do you suppose pinch-runner Gsellman moved up to third? — didn’t take second when he clearly could have. Daniel is still being Daniel, generously attempting to aid two teams at once.

The Mets could use two teams. Their first team continues to crowd Ray Ramirez’s spooky lair and their second team inevitably finds its hands full. In this case, first and third with nobody out overwhelmed Familia. Two walks followed his wild pitch, which meant he loaded the bases and then opted for the unorthodox strategy of placing the go-ahead run on home. Then he fanned the next two batters, closing the barn door good and tight once the horse was securely outside of it.

No runs off Shawn Kelley in the bottom of the eleventh, as the Mets went down for their sixth defeat in seven games. Also, for those keeping score of those of whom you can’t necessarily expect to keep score of at present, no Lucas Duda (DL), no Wilmer Flores (DL), not much Asdrubal Cabrera or Travis d’Arnaud (able to pinch-hit as long as they don’t use their bodies), no Yoenis Cespedes (at least not last night) and no deGrom. A stiff neck bumped our thus far most effective ace Friday. If it’s still stiff Saturday, Sean Gilmartin is your starting pitcher for Matt Harvey Garden Gnome Day, when the first 15,000 and everybody else will wonder what the hell is going to go wrong next.

Things could get dicey in years that turned out swell. Read about those trials, tribulations and triumphs in Piazza: Catcher, Slugger, Icon, Star, my new book about Mets clubs that were alternately awful and awesome until they were ultimately Amazin’.

10 comments to They’re Dropping Like Mets

  • Gil

    Well, conforto gets to play!

  • Daniel Hall

    I have to give my most sincere thanks to Mr. Prince, who makes the current state of Mets affairs bearable for at least five minutes. Like, seriously. What is going on? I- I don’t even know what’s going on. Would watch today, but I fear I’ll strain my larynges from groaning, and then it’s … *click* … lingering for five days and only then off to the DL, never to be heard from again.

  • LeClerc

    It turns out that Familia’s Halloween misbehavior provided no treat for the Mets. Quite a trick to issue two consecutive walks to blow the game. He remarked post-game: “I couldn’t get my sinker up.” (Freudian excuse).

    Good to see Granderson awake from his long winter’s nap. Reyes still fast asleep and experiencing regular nightmares. Perhaps a Rosario will bloom in the Spring.

  • Dave

    Oy vey. At least in March when you see a lineup and say “OK, split squad,” there are a bunch of double-A guys wearing uniform numbers in the 90’s on the bench. I mean, good for Zach Wheeler, he’ll be able to tell his grandchildren that he had a pinch-hit double, but he’s the first bat off the bench? The DL is only 10 days now, if someone is hurt, that’s what it’s there for. And best of all, we’re told that d’Arnaud can only pinch hit because “he can’t throw properly.” If he can’t play until he can throw properly, I suppose his career is over, and I’m not sure how it ever started to begin with.

    Team is killing me right now. Murph takes an oh-fer, that was about the highlight.

    • Daniel Hall

      I still love Murph, but I would prefer him to bat .380 outside of the games against the Mets exclusively…

  • Curt

    Reyes sure looks to me like he can’t catch up to a hard thrower. He’s looked better vs pitchers who top out around 90 but against the guys who get to 95 or better he always seems to be swinging late and defensive which equals weak grounders, pop-ups and strikeouts.

    I’m numb to the injuries. Seems almost like business as usual.

  • eric1973

    With our pitching, and a healthy Ces and Cabrera, we’ll be ok. The other injured guys aren’t worth a hill of beans so far in their careers. Flores may turn out to be, but he never plays anyway. If the guys who aren’t hurt, like Reyes, Grandy, and Walker, ever decide to show up, maybe we can win a game. And, of course, TC needs to get the team to play up to its potential, which is not happening.

  • Pete In Iowa

    Considerable rust for Familia? I’m not so sure. Seems like he began losing his command last year which cost us dearly in the WC game. Walks (and wild pitches) have become an alarming trend for him.

  • Lenny65

    On top of everything else, a gorgeous spring afternoon goes to waste so the Mets can provide TV fodder for ESPN via another unnecessary Sunday night game, a practice that IMO should be done away with as soon as possible.

    They should change their logo to a big question mark. Will Granderson and Walker come back to life? Are Cespedes and Cabrera going to be OK going forward? Will TDA EVER manage to avoid injury for a healthy stretch? Will Duda? Is Reyes really as washed-up and completely finished as he appears to be? Can the bullpen possibly sustain this pace? I don’t know. I hate dead-eyed shuffling hitless baseball games, maybe tonight they’ll break the spell. Then again, maybe they won’t.

  • Matt in Richmond

    A few more valid questions to throw into the mix. Will they make the playoffs for a 3rd straight year? Will they return to the WS for the second time in 3 years? Will one or more of the starters compete for a Cy Young?