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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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Please Proceed, Marlins

An old maxim of pretty much everything is never to interrupt your opponent while (s)he’s making a mistake. With that credo in mind, the Mets essentially sat back on a drizzly Saturday night and let the Marlins do whatever that was they were doing instead of playing baseball.

The Mets have their issues, goodness knows, beginning with finding 100 intact limbs to put on a given night’s roster. (More about that in a bit.) But the Marlins are in one of those dismal stretches where a team goes out for a walk and manages to find each and every single land mine buried in the field.

The Marlins sent the wonderfully named Odrisamer Despaigne to the mound in lieu of Wei-Yin Chen, who’s suffering from that most modern of afflictions, the made-for-the-10-day-DL tired arm. The third pitch Despaigne threw was botched by Justin Bour, putting Michael Conforto on first; the fourth was whacked up the gap by Asdrubal Cabrera, making it 1-0 Mets. The Mets piled on with another double, a run-scoring single, a sac fly and a pair of walks (the first to pitcher Robert Gsellman) to put up a five-spot in the first.

It didn’t get much better for Miami after that. The Marlins muffed ground balls, fumbled double plays, allowed passed balls and played the outfield like they were wearing cement shoes. There were hit batsmen, more bases-loaded walks and about a thousand shots of Don Mattingly.

With all that going on, the Mets essentially sat back and told Governor Loria’s charges to please proceed. Though I’ll add that on the Mets’ side, Curtis Granderson played a pretty nifty center field. Not bad considering a week ago it was tempting to suggest a trainer hold a mirror up to Curtis’s mouth before the game to make sure it fogged.

(Well, some other trainer than Ray Ramirez. Let’s not get giddy.)

If there are baseball gods, there’s nothing that makes them rub their immortal hands together more avidly than some earthly rooter discerning motive from statistical ebb and flow. Things aren’t going well for the Marlins right now and they are for the Mets; it would be unwise to say anything beyond that.

But I’ll risk a little heavenly wrath with a pair of brief notes.

First of all, it behooves us to remember these last couple of games the next time we’re at New Soilmaster Stadium and some annoying Marlin or other is spearing a ball in the hole or running one down in that impossible alley or snagging a grounder that appeared ticketed for grass, as I remember happening approximately 114,000 times over the course of a quarter-century as perpetrated by about 100 teal-related names I’m not going to list for fear of an epidemic of fists through monitors. The worm feels like it’s never ever going to turn; then you look over and see the little pink sucker’s doing loop-the-loops.

Second, whether it’s through pluck or luck, clubhouse leadership or managerial guidance, hearty resolve or kind-hearted randomness, the Mets are having a good stretch despite having been stripped of Yoenis Cespedes, Noah Syndergaard, Lucas Duda, Travis d’Arnaud, Steven Matz and Seth Lugo. (It’s sad that I no longer see the point of adding David Wright to that list.) We all know that, but it ought to be recorded for posterity.

Joining the DL All-Stars is Asdrubal Cabrera, who brings that certain intangible something that makes him worth more than the sum of his various aged and oft-creaky parts. Cabrera went down on a frightening play in the third, diving for a Marcell Ozuna grounder that left him rolling over his glove and then lying on his back, feet kicking feebly in agony.

Because we’re the Mets, the injury was accompanied by two elements that a halfway-decent editor would have rejected as ham-handed:

a) Cabrera went down with Sandy Alderson in the booth speaking philosophically of injuries and luck; and

b) as he lay in the grass, face contorted with pain, a cold drizzle became an aggressive rain.

Off the top of my head I can think of four serious baseball injuries any longtime fan recognizes at once. We all know that a starting pitcher shaking his pitching elbow means we need to advance his calendar 16 months or so. A runner hopping as if shot in the back of leg means at least three weeks’ absence and maybe six to eight. A batter getting hit in the bottom of the hand, just above the wrist, suggests a broken hamate bone, a vestigial bit of skeleton whose sole function is to disable ballplayers. And then there’s a diving fielder whose glove folds under him, jamming the thumb backwards or into the hand.

Depending how many years of orange and blue scars you have, you immediately thought of Darryl Strawberry, or Dave Kingman.

Or Ron Darling — as Gary Cohen tried to assess what had happened to Cabrera, Darling offered a quiet and grim diagnosis that I remembered was based on sad experience — a similar injury ended his 1987 season. As for Alderson, after a long silence he said with the vocal equivalent of a 1,000-yard stare that “we’ll see when I get downstairs.”

It turns out that Cabrera’s thumb isn’t broken, but it seems somewhere between likely and certain that Sunday’s MRI will show ligament damage. (They have MRIs on Sunday, don’t they?) [Update: They do, no ligament damage. Whew!] Which leaves the Mets with a number of serviceable though far from ideal options. They could ask Wilmer Flores to do more than platoon; they could shuffle T.J. Rivera, Jay Bruce and an outfielder; they could hope Matt Reynolds can fill the gap; or they could try to accelerate the future by recalling Amed Rosario.

Which will they choose? Will that choice work? Hell if I know. But right now the Mets are winning with a bunch of Plan Cs and Ds — and maybe this run can buy them time to get back to Plan As or Bs.

23 comments to Please Proceed, Marlins

  • Matt in Woodside

    Look, I am all for Collins’ new strategy of scoring five to sixteen runs every game. It’s great. My question is, why did he not employ this strategy earlier in the season? It would’ve taken a lot of weight off the bullpen in April.

  • Matt in Woodside

    Also, jokes aside, I hope Cabrera is OK. It’s been unbelievable what this team has done in the past two weeks with a next man up mentality, but it’s messed up that there have been so many next men up.

  • LeClerc

    * The new offensive philosophy of getting on base, moving the line, and driving in runs by any means necessary.
    * Another un-scored upon performance by the bullpen.

    * Another five innings or less effort by the starting pitcher.
    * The Mets filling six positions on the disabled All-Star team’s starting line-up (P,C,1B,SS,3B,LF).

    • Daniel Hall

      Can’t take long for the DL All Stars to fill up. I have Neil Walker being attacked by hornets in the showers, and I am somewhat confused that those ugly collisions between two outfielders where it initially seems like at least one of them is dead on the ground only ever happen to NL Central teams (Piscotty, Schwarber) and not the Mets. That would be right up their alley!

  • greensleeves

    Keep juggling the supersubs and offer the marooned Doug Fister a reasonable contract. Starting pitching must be shored up.

  • Eric

    Shortstop is a deep position for the Mets with Reyes and Rosario at least as ready now for his call-up as Conforto was in 2015. Not to mention Flores and Reynolds can play SS in a pinch. But I hope Cabrera’s injury looked (and felt) worse than it is and he’s back sooner than later. Watching Cabrera play baseball is a pleasure. He just knows how to play the game all around. He’s a stable and reliable veteran. Which stands out from the less skilled players that filled in at SS for the Mets after Reyes left.

    Good to see the Mets take advantage of the Marlins’ mistakes. The offense is carrying the pitching. When they’re not hitting well, the opponent can give the Mets the bases loaded with errors and walks, and the Mets will still strike, pop, and ground their way out of the inning without scoring.

    Conforto taking more walks is a good sign of a talented hitter maturing. He’ll eventually hit in the middle of the line-up, but for this season, I don’t mind at all the extra ABs from leading off and keeping him focused on getting on base. The bottom of the order has been getting on base in front of him, anyway.

    They’ve almost clawed their way back to .500. Once they do that, then get back over .500, they can set their sights on catching up to the Nationals, who haven’t run away with the division yet.

    The nightly starting pitching struggle, the overtaxed bullpen, the big-name injuries, and the burst of runs masking the holes indicate a streak. But last year, the Mets rode an unlikely streak all the way to the WC game. So maybe they can keep it up until the big names come back and the starting pitching becomes aces again.

  • eric1973

    It said here a couple weeks ago that the backups were better than the starters, and that is coming to fruition.

    A lineup with the Confortos, the Flores’, and the Riveras are doing just fine.

    Hey, if Cabrera says he can go, he’s in there batting second today.

    • Eric

      According to pattern, Cabrera saying he can go is the step before he’s out for 2 months because of the thumb. It wouldn’t be the worst thing for Cabrera to use the thumb as a valid reason to take some time off for his other nagging injuries. Time to heal helped him last season.

  • Dave

    The lineup is doing better with players who are nominally fill-ins, that’s the faith, but the rotation sure isn’t, and there’s the fear. 5 innings of mediocre pitching every game is a disaster waiting to happen, and I don’t know why a Doug Fister isn’t in Vegas building up his arm strength. Think of it as Aaron Harang only with something to actually play for.

  • Curt

    Before I comment, let me say that I feel that I too rarely salute the authors for their literary acumen. Today’s salute, “suffering from that most modern of afflictions,the made-for-the-10-day-DL tired arm.” Poetry.

    Wait, I just did comment, and using the word acumen. Possibly my sense of time is not linear? Sure seems that way where a bunch of platoon players and call-ups are pouring on the runs without hitting home runs.

    Two weeks ago I’d have seen the Cabrera injury as a great chance to bring up Rosario but that was in the days where using deGrom to pinch hit for Reyes did not seem completely insane. Obviously it depends a bit on today’s MR but if, as I suspect may happen, we bring up a young player who has hit gangbusters at every level he’s been at, what do we do when Cabrera’s ready to return? As evidence of my projection of Rosario’s offensive production I offer one TJ Rivera who has me wondering if Lucas Duda’s return is a good thing. I mean, it is way cool to have players who get on base and can score without the ball clearing the fence.

    Every season’s unique. This one is shaping up to be uniquer than most.

  • Greg Mitchell

    Harvey suspended for 3 days for violating team rules just now and someone named Adam Wilk starting in his place…

    • Curt

      Better hope for a 9-8 or 11-7 game or something. I’m looking at Wilk’s Vegas numbers – 5.91 ERA, .305 BAA. Nothing to inspire confidence, plus we know he’s coming off a long plane ride. Then again, Harvey’s recent performances haven’t inspired confidence either.

  • 9th string catcher

    Right on cue, another pitcher out. No wonder if Fister can give us 5 innings a night and rock a 5.50 era.

    It better be a damn good reason to suspend the guy. We carry wife beaters on this roster.

  • 9th

    Meant to say I wonder

  • Ken

    Was Matt Harvey in the dugout for last night’s game against the Marlins?

    And will we find out why Harvey was suspended by the Mets?

    • Matt in Woodside

      Rumor at the park today is that he was seen at a boxing match last night. In Las Vegas.

  • 9th

    Really my only question for today – are they phoning it in, or mailing it in?

  • Ken

    Hey, the Mets have acquired lefty Tommy Milone from the Milwauke Brewers on a waiver deal.

    Maybe Milone will replace Raphael Montero in the starting rotation?

    Is Sandy Alderson going to make another deal for a starting pitcher? Stay tuned.

    • Eric

      RA Dickey is on a 1-year deal with the Braves. The Mets can use whatever package they would have used to trade the Braves for Kelly Johnson again to bring back Dickey, instead, since Johnson is a free agent.

  • Jacobs27

    Business as usual with this crazy, frustrating organization.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    Ooh boy, am I looking forward to today’s entry. I’ll tune back later.