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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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Reply Hazy Try Again

Who the heck are the 2018 Mets, anyway?

The most obvious answer is that they’re 15-7, which is pretty damn good. But they sure didn’t look 15-7 during Wednesday night’s ghastly loss. They sure haven’t looked like that for a solid two weeks now, in fact.

Wednesday night’s game will be dealt with succinctly, out of a certain measure of decorum. Steven Matz was very good for two innings and then boy howdy was he not so good. The defense was horrific, which didn’t help but shouldn’t taken as absolution either. It was a very Niese-ian performance, which is about as far as one can get from a compliment, at least from this recapper.

The lone bright spot visible in the darkness of the evening was Corey Oswalt, the 1,049th Met in club history but at least for a night first in our hearts. Oswalt was briefly in residence in Miami, going so far as to warm up in the bullpen, but was sent back to Las Vegas without having pitched in a big-league game. That meant he wasn’t a Met but a ghost, his blue and orange of the pale, pastel, semi-transparent variety. When he got sent down Oswalt became the 10th ghost in team history, and the third with no other major-league experience. That’s a status not to be wished on anybody; happily, Oswalt was only stuck with it for two weeks before ascending to the land of the statistically living. (Matt Reynolds spent an entire offseason not only haunting the ectoplasmic realm but also weighed down with asterisks, as he’d been added to the active postseason roster but not appeared in a game.)

An infinite ERA in a miserable zeroth of an inning would have been better than ghost status, but Oswalt went far beyond that, remaining out there for the rest of the game and giving the bullpen a breather. Who knows what the future holds for him, but at least for a night he can smile and say he not only did his job but was also a good teammate. (As opposed to, say, a pitcher who’d make a rookie catcher speak for him one night and then return the next day to give other people doing their jobs surly expletives followed by silence. But alas, none of that particular teammate’s misbehavior is much of a surprise at this point.)

Zooming out from the wreckage of the game, what do we have here? Damned if I can tell. The Mets have one superlative starting pitcher, another whose track record suggests superlatives will once more be the norm, and then a bunch of question marks. They have a bullpen that’s looked invulnerable and then looked incompetent. They have hitters who have risen to some big shiny moments amid a worrisome amount of statistical tarnish. They have a manager who’s gone from genius to suspect to we don’t know what. They’ve even worn horrible uniforms two nights in a row for no apparent reason.

Some of that is statistical noise, of course, a frantic attempt to find patterns in the first few threads of the season’s tapestry. Maybe all of it is statistical noise. Whatever it is, it’s perplexing, confounding and thoroughly bewildering. The baseball Magic 8-ball has no answer that isn’t gnomic and unsatisfying.

So it goes. Tomorrow afternoon they and we will give it another shake, and see what swims up to be read.

11 comments to Reply Hazy Try Again

  • LeClerc

    Bad idea to have Wilmer play any position other than 1B. He throws the chemistry of the infield defense out of kilter.

    DeGrom, Syndegaard, Gsellman, Lugo, and Sewald are pitching winning baseball.

    Familia is great except when he isn’t.

    Waiting for Conforto and Cespedes to play like All-Stars.

    The team needs a catcher – sooner rather than later.

    Harvey, Matz, and Wheeler: the clock is ticking.

    • Rochester John

      My clock is broke and out the window. OK, we got a turn through our super rotation. Now can we put that myth to bed once and for all. One of Lugo or Gsellman needs to rejoin the rotation. My preference is it be Lugo, because Gsellman has been so damn good in his new role. Harvey should be sent down, but I assume he can, and would, reject that move a la Oliver Perez. Matz to the bullpen, where his good two innings can be of service. Hopefully, Vargas will be effective when he’s ready. Wheeler back to Las Vegas where he can be ready, and stretched out, for when the inevitable injury happens to the rotation.

    • greensleeves

      On the nose assessment, Mr.LeClerc.
      If this roadtrip continues a slide and
      we forfeit the early streak–it will be
      a foul smelling thing…

  • Greg Mitchell

    They have 2 good starting pitchers, one question mark (Vargas) and three horrid (Matz, Wheeler, Harvey) whose injured arms will probably never be the same so little hope there. I’d guess none will be in rotation a month from now and Gsellman and Lugo and someone else (Oswalt? a trade?) will be in there. You have to worry about Cespedes because while deep slumps are not uncommon and normally not that concerning his record strikeout rate suggests maybe an age-related loss of something or other that’s not really correctable. But as always: we’ll see.

    • I think Oswalt will start sooner than later for either Matz or Wheeler, as per Callaway’s comments after the game. He didn’t specifically mention Oswalt, but he did say that some rotation spots are in doubt. The 4 2/3 Corey pitched will help keep him stretched out for a start which could come as soon as the Mets’ next home stand.

      Cespedes may indeed be older than his claimed age. He’s still obviously marvelously strong, but he needs to make more contact, like he did on Opening Day. Good that he’ll be facing the same starter today.

  • sturock

    The problem with any trade scenario is the Mets don’t have much to offer outside of, say, Brandon Nimmo, who should be actually be playing more often. He sees a lot of pitches, he gets on base, and would help a sluggish offense– and that’s in two senses of “slug.”

    Adrian Gonzales, btw, is slashing .204/.297/.333. When does he get tossed in favor of Bruce/Wilmer at 1B, and Nimmo in the outfield? It can’t be soon enough.

    The pitching, unfortunately, just is what it is. They’re gonna be in and out after deGrom and Noah, so they need those two guys to go longer in games and they need Callaway and Eiland to somehow, someway fix one of Harvey-Matz-Wheeler. I’m not optimistic there. Maybe that trio just threw too many Dan Warthen sliders and will never be the same, never live up to the initial promise.

    There’s been a lot of good so far, despite the dismal past seven games or so. But the Mets need to find some back-of-the-rotation help and sort out the lineup so it runs more efficiently. I wish I had more faith in Sandy Alderson.

  • Gil

    The common denominator with the Wheeler, Matz, and Harvey is that they all look mopey out there when its not going their way. I wish the Mets could draw some of what deGrom has, the quiet fury, and give a dose to those guys. They need it.

    Thor for the series win. Would love to see him go deep into this ball game.

    The blue jerseys are one thing, but those hats last night are just atrocious. I even like the duck bill better.

  • open the gates

    So the “Five Aces” can finally join “Generation K” and “The Magic Is Back” in the dustbin of Metstory. And not a moment too soon. Wishful thinking does not make for winning baseball. And maybe the best thing about Callaway and Eiland is that they don’t buy into the mythology.

  • Pete In Iowa

    Yep. Gotta agree Jason, I don’t have any idea of what we have on our hands here. In one of those hands is a 15-7 mark, suggesting a solid club. On the other hand, we have only 2 dependable starting pitchers, no reliable lefty in the bullpen, a closer who freaks us all out and a bunch of hitters — save Cabrera — who are quite simply not hitting.
    At this point, I have no idea how we are 15-7, but I’m glad to drop to my knees and thank the baseball gods profusely for blessing us in spurts with timely hitting, timely relief pitching and just enough non-production by our nightly opponents.
    Other than that, we must be doing it with mirrors.

  • Greg Mitchell

    AGon may soon be ah, gone, but would miss glove. Plawecki (“out just 4 weeks”) still hasn’t started “baseball activities.” Conforto showing no power so you have to wonder about “total” recovery from severe shoulder injury. It’s true that Matz and Wheeler look like relievers now so maybe they can flip with Gsellman and Lugo–but they are not exactly 7 inning pitchers either. Still, fun team and csn always dream that Dom Smith breaks through and Rosario becomes a Didi.

  • AndyT

    Gil’s comment about DeGrom’s quiet fury is most on point here. Harvey, Matz and Wheeler have enough on their pitches to be effective in the majors.. It is their pitching intelligence which is very weak. Matz very often gets hurt on 0-2; he rarely commands the count. Harvey grooves too many and gets mad instead of buckling down and executing like DeGrom does so well. I’m inclined to be more patient with Wheeler. His opportunities have been limited. But they all need to, as Ron Darling says, “learn to pitch” instead of throw. The apparent lack of interest in that learning is what is so frustrating.