The blog for Mets fans
who like to read

ABOUT US

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.

Got something to say? Leave a comment, or email us at faithandfear@gmail.com. (Sorry, but we have no interest in ads, sponsored content or guest posts.)

Need our RSS feed? It's here.

Visit our Facebook page, or drop by the personal pages for Greg and Jason.

Or follow us on Twitter: Here's Greg, and here's Jason.

Energy Crisis ’17

Which Met crisis was the overriding one Friday night? It’s hard to keep them straight. Harking all the way back to April 27, Noah Syndergaard not being able to lift his arm was the worst possible news. Then it was Yoenis Cespedes limping into second hours later. Oh wait — Syndergaard grabbed something and left a game in the second inning. Could it get any worse than Ces and Thor both going on the DL? How about Matt Harvey being suspended, missing a start and being surrounded by loud whispers of discomfiting concern? That was huger than huge…until Jeurys Familia was found to be experiencing a serious-sounding condition that required immediate surgery and has him sidelined for the bulk of the rest of the year.

With Familia’s long-term absence the most recently spotlighted crisis, it was easy to forget Harvey was making his first start since his five-alarm suspension. The fall of the Dark Knight couldn’t have been a bigger story for a few news cycles. By the time Matt took the mound in Milwaukee, it all seemed so three days ago.

Unlike last weekend, Harvey showed up, so that was a victory of a sort. He gave the Mets five innings that positioned them for a victory of a more substantial sort, then a portion of a sixth that basically ended that possibility. We might have been able to look back on Matt’s return as gritty and gutty and an encouraging first step had his manager pinch-hit for him when the scored was knotted at two and the pitcher had danced through figurative raindrops — every other Brewer plate appearance seemed to take half-an-hour — to keep it that way. We won’t as much now because he was so thoroughly throttled in the sixth. Still, it was a start in the sense that Matt had to get going again somewhere, and a so-so Harvey, especially within the context of what the 2017 Mets have become, is better than no Harvey whatsoever…and no worse an option than erstwhile seatfiller Adam Wilk, now a member in good standing of the Minnesota Twins.

The Brewers looked alive in their 7-4 victory. The Mets looked obligated to be there. Their daubers weren’t irretrievably down (witness the fleeting ninth-inning rally that didn’t go as far as needed) but they just seemed outpaced. A Brewer stole a run. A Met got picked off second. That kind of night.

At least we didn’t have to immediately worry how the late innings would be structured in Familia’s absence. Addison Reed didn’t have to take care of the ninth inning save, somebody else didn’t have to be responsible for holding the eighth-inning lead. It was a night when relief pitching was deployed neither strategically nor tactically. The Mets used their bullpen because games have nine innings and their starter was done after five. He pitched into the sixth, but he was already finished.

Positives were discernible if you were of a mind to mine them from the Milwaukee muck. Neil Walker registered three hits, including a long home run. Asdrubal Cabrera was listed in the lineup, didn’t have to leave it and managed to double and score. Lucas Duda still exists and also doubled. Those old pros, however much they’ve been known to creak, will come in handy in continuing the pursuit of the 162-game schedule, 128 games of which remain, none of whose outcomes are preordained. Met tomorrows at Miller Park have been historically tricky to traverse, but another game awaits, and another game is another chance to get revved up.

Jaime DeJesus put together quite a feature on my new book Piazza: Catcher, Slugger, Icon, Star for Aspire magazine. I invite you to check it out here.

19 comments to Energy Crisis ’17

  • LeClerc

    Outside of FAFIF, today there’s a general media narrative that goes like this: “Harvey’s Struggles Continue!” All very gloomy and anxious.

    Actually not. Harvey struggled much for five innings – but gave up only two runs. DeGrom, Wheeler, Gsellman and Milone would all call themselves satisfied with that kind of outcome 34 games into the 2017 season.

    The real problem was that the dual wisdom of Collins and Warthen deemed it necessary for Harvey to continue into the sixth. But Harvey had done yeoman work for five and was out of gas. In the event, he faced three more batters and yielded three more runs. Not his fault. The appropriate narrative is “In-Game Decisions Sink Mets Yet Again”.

    And what was Glen Sherlock looking at when Bruce was wandering down the base-line while Bogard was stepping to second base to receive Bandy’s laser pick-off throw?

    And who thought up that nifty Mets’ pick-off of Perez while the NL stolen base champ was scampering home for the Brewers’ sixth run?

    In the seventh, Montero threw six balls, seven strikes, and gave up a home run and a single. Just another day in the office for Rafael.

    In the end, the Mets came up three runs short – but absent the clueless command to send Harvey out for the sixth – they should have won this cluster-clunk of a game – even with Sherlock’s nap and the Brewers’ double steal sleight-of-hand.

    Collins, Warthen and Sherlock were all in the arena while I was watching from my arm-chair. Nevertheless – don’t believe what you read in today’s papers!

    • Matt in Woodside

      Harvey has always turned into a pumpkin after 100 pitches, even when he’s been dominant. But that’s this team’s Achilles Heel. The starters can’t consistently get through six innings, and when the bullpen gets overtaxed, they start to struggle. (And half of the FAFIF commenters then criticize Collins for overusing middle inning guys who have been pitching well). And it was the first game without Familia. I think Collins’ train of thought was, Harvey’s best inning was the fifth. Fingers crossed, he can get a couple of quick outs in the sixth. Then the inning blew up even quicker than that World Series game. I was personally dreading the decision when he came up to bat in the top of the sixth, but I understand the reasoning.

  • I just realized that Matt Harvey’s indiscretions actually cost the Mets a player in Adam Wilk. At a point where they need to find more pitching, that’s kind of a costly move.

  • Greg Mitchell

    Please! No criticism of Terry for not lifting Harvey who was obviously (to nearly all) struggling mightily, to say the least! This is a manager who will use 6 relievers in a 9 inning game even in the middle of a stretch of games with no days off–then fail to call on one in the 6th inning AFTER AN OFF DAY.

    • Dennis

      He uses his bullpen too much, so that’s not good. He elects Harvey to pitch (a move that Keith Hernandez agreed with) for an extra inning of work, and that’s not good either. Terry can never win sometimes with this fan base no matter what move he makes.

      • Greg Mitchell

        Because he’s radically inconsistent. As I pointed out. Will burn bullpen in a stretch of games with no days off, then fail to pull obviously fatigued pitcher (and not just last night) after an off-day. It’s similar to many other moves and non-moves with pinch-hitters, pinch-runners, defensive replacements. For example, he generally has no problem using a catcher as pinch hitter and leaving no catcher on bench–but then, the other night, lets Plawecki (at .067) bat with game on the line. Sometimes I think the game is just moving too fast for him. Others here have made that claim after past failures to make a quick move, such as failing to pinch run with slow runner in scoring position etc.

        • Dennis

          I think every manager can be inconsistent at times with their moves. The problem with everyone’s perception of Terry is that no one gives him credit for inconsistent moves that work and result in wins.

  • eric1973

    I had kinda assumed that Harvey’s day was done after 5 tough innings, and was surprised to see him up there batting in the sixth. But then I thought, he’s not really injured, and had some extra rest, so he should be able to go another inning, and maybe total 110 pitches.

    He was throwing 96 in the first inning, and he seems to not be able to sustain it as yet. Maybe soon. Or maybe nobody can.

  • Pete in Iowa

    I have no blame on TC for running Harvey out for the 6th. I do have a lot of blame for him taking off the sac with 2 strikes on Harvey. Wouldn’t you know it – a double play quickly ensued. With our best hitter on deck!! Even if Harvey can’t get the bunt down, we still have Comforto up with one out and one on. What was TC thinking!
    And walker didn’t even look to throw home on the double steal. Another really bad play!
    Oh well, at least I had good seats!

    • Dennis

      Just curious Pete…..what is Miller Park like? From what I see, and granted its only on TV, it doesn’t seem too impressive or unique.

    • greensleeves

      Harvey’s inability to lay down a bunt is more than egregious. He looked clueless in what was arguably a pivotal AB.

  • Greg Mitchell

    Interesting to see if will be followup on NY Times piece today. It seems that Familia reported “tingling” in his ring finger to trainer (i.e. enabler) BEFORE Wednesday’s game. This prompted a big more probing and a decision that it was probably no big deal but they would test him again later (indicating that there was some concern after all). So he was cleared for the game, pitched for third day in a row and 11th time in 17 games, and we know the rest. As usual, nothing can be proven about Mets, as usual, not holding back a player (see just the recent examples of Ces and Thor) when they should have, but you have to wonder about green light when “finger tingling” is usually a big flashing red or at least yellow light.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    Along with Howie and Josh, the best obscure Pop Culture references in Baseball can be found on this blog.

    (just to let you know I got it..)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaPqzgTc9OE

  • Curt

    Ok, the Pink Power Ranger is catching for Milwaukee. And Conforto is picked off.

  • Greg Mitchell

    Milwaukee reminding us that hailing the Mets near-.500 record was always misleading since had played exactly ONE team with .500 record all season. Milwaukee at 19-17 looks like 1927 Yankees compared to Phils, Marlins and Braves….

  • Matt in Richmond

    Nah. That’s reading way too much into head to head battles this early in the year. Atlanta took 2 out of 3 from Milwaukee so how would that fit your assessment? Our record is our record and all in all is not too bad considering the injury bug. Shoot, the defending champs are sitting at .500.

    Dennis, I’m totally with you but one of these days we’ll both wise up and realize that we’re wasting our time with this discussion. Some people have just utterly lost the ability to be objective. I would have thought the thrilling run to the WS in 15 which was TOTALLY unexpected by the experts would have gotten TC some cred. Then when the bizarre whining continued into last year I naively thought that if he pulled a miracle and dragged that team that featured AAA lineups as often as not to the playoffs THEN the complaining would stop or at least ease up. But no. It’s like having a conversation with folks that believe in a flat earth or other “alternative” facts. No amount of evidence or reason can seep in. They’ve made their minds up and totally abandoned objectivity. At this point I think we could make the playoffs 5 years in a row and take home a WS and they would still bitch and moan.

    Just to be clear, I’m not directing these comments toward anyone on this blog. I’m just generally commiserating with Dennis. The attitude I’m referencing is rampant everywhere.

    [Edit disappeared for some reason, so redoing this for future reference: No. You cannot unload on people — “flat earth society,” “bizarre whining,” etc. — and then hand-wave it away by saying that’s not directed toward anyone on the blog. Baiting people specifically or baiting them generally for believing something you don’t are both bannable offenses on our blog. No more. — Management]

    • Greg Mitchell

      Yeah, that was some team with “AAA lineups” that somehow hit 218 home runs–plus team e.r.a. third in league–that Terry “dragged” to the playoffs.

  • Thank you all for participating. Stay tuned for tonight’s writeup.