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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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Vargas and Robles and Boy Is It Hopeless

Technically, there’s no rule against using Jason Vargas and Hansel Robles in the same game, but that doesn’t mean a manager should be allowed to do it. Nevertheless, Mickey Callaway challenged common sense if not the letter of the law, and inevitable results ensued Tuesday night in Cincinnati. Vargas was characteristically horrible. Robles was predictably worse. Following the lead of their veteran starter and featured reliever, the Mets fell to the Reds, 7-2.

The offense, shorn of hamstrung and thus DL’d Todd Frazier, didn’t achieve much either — Luis Castillo of the not that Luis Castillos kept them off the basepaths until the fifth — but who noticed? Some nights the Mets’ hitting is so futile, their pitching is immaterial. Other nights it flips. The Mets are versatile that way.

Vargas seemed to have his best start as a Met 2.0, which is to say he gave up only four runs in four innings when it seemed he’d give up four runs in every inning. He was having trouble getting outs on the ground, in the air or with a baseball. The most impressive aspect of his performance was his ability to differentiate among the myriad at-bats in which he put runners on base when reporters asked afterward what went wrong. Robles, who was called up when Matt Harvey was designated for assignment on the premise that the Mets weren’t doing anything with that roster spot anyway, surrendered about as many runs as a person unintentionally could in a third of an inning. The laser beam home run he served up like a brimming bowl of Skyline Chili to Scooter Gennett got out of Great American Ball Park so fast that Hansel is only now raising his index finger toward its exhaust fumes.

While the fourth-place Mets were still the third-place Mets, they unloaded the aforementioned Harvey on the Reds in exchange for their injury-riddled former starting catcher, Devin Mesoraco. Everybody responded to the news with the same understandable knee-jerk Tom Seaver reference, though we should note the Mets have been trading in-season with the Reds since they sent Don Zimmer to Cincinnati on May 6, 1962, and received in exchange the second Bob Miller and the only Cliff Cook. Reds from Jesse Gonder to Jay Bruce have followed a similar eastbound trail to suddenly become Mets, though few quite as suddenly as Mesoraco, who was batting seventh in the originally posted Reds lineup Tuesday. Devin took BP with the Reds, struck out pinch-hitting for the Mets in the ninth and instantly became our best apparently healthy starting catcher. His presence couldn’t hurt. The same can’t be said of at least two of the pitchers he might catch.

As for Harvey, the most compelling similarity he shares with Seaver these days is they’ve both lived in Connecticut and soon they’ll both have lived in Ohio.

21 comments to Vargas and Robles and Boy Is It Hopeless

  • Greg Mitchell

    Alderson apparently only one unaware that Vargas had 6.50 e.r.a. in 2nd half of last year. At his age especially a red light. Well, we were told he was an “innings eater.” But 3 or 4 innings per start? Pac Man on quaaludes.

    Well, “Jesse Mets Orosco” will fit right in at catcher–his career rate of throwing out runners just barely above the D’Arnaud line.

  • LeClerc

    Plan A is in the trash can (wobbly rotation, no offense from catchers, Conforto shoulder, Ces quad, Frazier hamstring, DeGrom elbow, Bruce flailing rather than wailing, Rosario’s “lack of plate discipline”, Blevins unimpressive, and, of course, gopher ball king Robles on hand to dash hopes).

    Plan B starts with the cavalry arriving in the person of Devin Masoraco, Wilmer and Reyes “getting more playing time”, Corey Oswalt and so on…,

    Callaway, Eiland and Alderson under the hood trying to get this jalopy on the road again…,

  • open the gates

    Well, Seaver and Harvey do have this in common: they both hold Mets team records. Seaver’s you can look up. Harvey, however, holds the record for most consecutive Mets starts in which he didn’t make it past the fifth inning. You can look that one up too if you’d like. I’ll add that Seaver never came close to challenging Harvey’s record. Enjoy Cincinnati, Matt. I hear the nightlife there is non-existent.

  • Generally, this wouldn’t be my kind of thing, but I think if some crazy person started instagramming Matt Harvey’s social life in Cincinnati, that would be awesome.

    Greg – nice meeting you on Saturday!

  • Left Coast Jerry

    In 2015, if Matt Harvey and Devin Mesoraco were mentioned in the same sentence, it would have been something like “Devin Mesoraco couldn’t catch up to Matt Harvey’s fastball and struck out to end the inning.” How times have changed.

  • mikeski

    Ay yi yi, we just got nailed for batting out of order. BATTING OUT OF ORDER.

    • Ultimately costing us an extra LOB.

      • Daniel Hall

        … and a double on which the confused Duffy Blinker, or what ever the name of that entirely forgettable Reds leftfielder was, almost killed himself, too. I chuckled, for like two seconds.

        Life hates to see me happy for even this long which is why it made me a Mets fan.

        Ah, well, I will conserve this one for future considerations and drag myself to bed: “He was having trouble getting outs on the ground, in the air or with a baseball.”

        • NostraDennis

          Those kind of bonehead shenanigans would have been adorable in 1962. Not today. In my mind, the 2018 Mets have officially moved out of Flushing and into Hapless, the town the Islanders lived in for the first few years of their existence.

          Long live the Hapless Mets.

  • Pete In Iowa

    Robles?? no problem. He hurt his knee didn’t he? Let’s put him on the 5,000 day disabled list. They have that don’t they?

  • K. Lastima

    Another dumpster fire of a season from the clowns that own and run the team. I’m glad I was alive in ’69 and ’86 because I doubt they will ever again win the WS in my lifetime

  • Shawn B

    To paraphrase Al Pacino, “This whole team’s out of order.”

  • K. Lastima

    To quote that noted poet laureate, Michael Ray Richardson: “The ship be sinking”

  • Greg Mitchell

    And to quote two other poet laureates:

    “You want it darker?/ We kill the flame.” — L. Cohen

    “It’s not dark yet / but it’s gettin’ there” — B. Dylan

  • mikeski

    Avellone at Metsblog:

    I could say how the season is 35 games old. I could say there is no reason to truly panic. I could say that all teams go through bad stretches. All true and all legitimate points. But I’m not going to go that route today, because frankly, the Mets deserve to be raked over the coals.

    Yeah. And the resurgent Phillies are waiting for us. And Jay Bruce is missing that series due to paternity leave. although it’s not clear how badly that hurts us, I suppose.

  • mikeL

    wow, the mets were gonna get their mojo back in cincy…instead they now know they’re even worse than they/we thought they were.
    save 4 pitchers and 2 position players i’d be ok to see them all go at this point. callaway too…
    (not that they’d bring back anything of value)

  • Dave

    In either 2013, I wondered if a package of Matt Harvey and Juan Lagares could land the Mets Mike Trout. By now, Devin Mesoraco sounds like selling high. Life, huh?

  • eric1973

    Hopefully, Jay Bruce had an affair 7 months ago, and he can go on Paternity Leave again in 2 months.

  • Man, this is ugly. How can you bat out of order? That’s on the manager. BTW, time for a new GM.

  • otb

    I was watching yesterday’s game with closed captions turned on. I’m sure that Wayne Randazzo described the final play as a walk off home run, but the caption read “Whack Off” home run. Now, I know that Great American Ballpark is on the small side, but still, to whack off into the stands is pretty impressive. Must be some sort of a record?