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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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The Honeymoon Is Over

In what I suppose one could say is a sign of relative normalcy, I’m disgusted by the Mets and want them to go away.

No! Not really go away! But … well, sort of. Because I was so happy to have three hours of solace a night, and instead the last two nights the Mets have brought me three-plus hours of angst, frustration and finally out-and-out anger.

Don’t Drink Out of a Glass Because You Might Bite Through It anger.

Don’t Touch the Remote Because It Will Be Tempting to Hurl It anger.

It’s all fairly familiar, and I could go for the easy COVID “Nature Is Healing” joke here. Except I feel variously blistered and chafed and thoroughly irritable.

Wednesday night’s sloggy mess was long enough without extending it further in memory, so let’s just say that it sucked, and if you really want to revisit exactly how it sucked, Greg can supply all the masochism you apparently need. Thursday night was different in some ways but agonizingly the same in every way that ultimately mattered. On Wednesday the Mets hit except when it mattered; on Thursday they barely hit at all. On Wednesday Jacob deGrom was blameless except for his choice of employers; on Thursday Steven Matz was betrayed by poor location on key pitches, particularly to Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez, whom I’d like never to think about again after what he did to us in this series.

In the seventh the Mets had the tying run on second with nobody out; Wilson Ramos grounded out, Brandon Nimmo struck out and Amed Rosario grounded out. In the eighth the Mets had the tying run on third with one out; Michael Conforto struck out. In the ninth … except oh wait, the bottom of the ninth only theoretically mattered because in the top of the ninth Edwin Diaz came in. He gave up two walks and a single, fanned Rafael Devers, then hit Jose Peraza to force in an insurance run the Red Sox turned out not to need.

Except wait — Diaz actually hit Peraza twice in the at-bat. No, I’m not kidding, and no, this is not another absurd 2020 wrinkle Rob Manfred decided might be the thing to make the kids stop with the texting and the TikTok and watch baseball. The first time, Diaz hit Peraza in the thumb, except he swung through the pitch so it was merely a very painful strike. Not to worry — he managed to do it again. I’d ask how that’s possible, except if you’d spun that scenario for me and asked me what Met it had happened to, I’d have looked at you unhappily and guessed it was Diaz.

Diaz was arguably unlucky in failing to lock down the season’s second game against Atlanta, when Marcell Ozuna hit a pretty good pitch (albeit a carbon copy of one Diaz had used earlier) for an opposite-field home run. But this night was on him. If there was a silver lining — and it’s an awfully faint one — after the game Luis Rojas did not offer some earnestly dim-bulb Mickey Callaway horseshit about Proven Veterans™ and their knowing the game; instead, he said that wasn’t the Diaz the Mets had seen in summer camp and suggested his struggles were as much about controlling his emotions on the mound as command and mechanics. That’s not the usual baseball omerta, which is refreshing; so is the possibility that Diaz won’t get another scholarship year as closer based on what he did in some arriviste minor league two seasons ago.

(Oh wait, though. If you’d asked me the hit-a-guy-twice question, the other pitcher I would have picked would have been Paul Sewald. Sewald came in after Diaz was excused further duty, and if this were a regulation July I really think I might have turned off the TV and read about it in the morning. So of course, baseball being baseball, Sewald recorded a strikeout and a flyout to exit unscathed. Will wonders never cease?)

If I squint and try to reason with the foaming-at-the-mouth WFAN caller in my head, I can see that the Mets aren’t actually far off — some bad luck here, some pressing at the plate there, some rust, some roles that need to be sorted. A couple of at-bats go differently over the last two days, and they just swept the Red Sox and we’re talking about revenge against the Braves.

But they didn’t do any of that. The honeymoon’s over and the apartment’s too small and our significant other is doing That Thing We Hate again, and we keep looking into the sink filled with dishes someone else should have done and wondering, with a sinking feeling that suggests we already know the answer, if this is going to work.

13 comments to The Honeymoon Is Over

  • The King

    So Diaz is officially the Mets’ Ed Whitson?

  • eric1973

    Whitson’s signature moment in his career was kicking Billy Martin’s ass in that hotel, and breaking Billy’s arm.

    Too bad Diaz is not working out. By all accounts it should have. The good guys are being overused, and that’s our only option at the moment, it appears.

  • open the gates

    Edwin Diaz last year was unforeseen. Edwin Diaz this year is Brodie stubbornly refusing to admit he made a mistake, and therefore riding his mistake into the ground. In other words, welcome back, Victor Zambrano.

  • Dave

    Drew Smith as closer, who says no?

  • WayneGarrett11

    My hypothesis on Matz. His stuff is tantalizing, but timing is too smooth which doesn’t make batters uncomfortable.

    Diaz is feeling the scientific definition of “choking” on the mound. Real games is different than summer camp. Overgripping, loses movement. Foul ball after foul ball on 97, 98. I trust Rojas will not bury his head in the sand, and sort it out in a few weeks. No need to pile on.

    The offense can be tweaked right away. Idk about all Roja’s batting order permutations. In concept, sort of makes sense. In reality, I can’t imagine being flip-flopped from #1 to #9, and vice versa is helpful.

    Just keep Nimmo at the top. Besides getting on base, he eats up a lot of pitches which: (1) gets the pitcher out of the game faster (2) gives the other batters a good look at the pitcher, and what he has that day (3) annoys the pitcher. It’s invaluable, and helps McNeil and Alonso. It’s that simple. BTW, the stats like RC/27 show it too. The fans get bent out of shape on his K rate, but it’s not bad. Plus if you get a lot of full counts, you’ll strike out more. That’s ok. Get over it.

    Jeff needs to chill out on the first pitch swinging. He’s good enough to hit with 1 or 2 strikes. There are just too many < 8 pitch innings we're giving the opposing team.

    Like keeping Cano out of the #3 hole, Idk Cespedes needs to be in the middle of the order. He's channeling Kingman, and we know how bad those years were. He's trying to prove himself for next year's contract, wildly swinging for fence instead of taking what they're giving him. His RISP is .000! All these games are 1 or 2 run affairs. Random HRs are exciting, but not that helpful. At some point, if he is unwilling to adapt, I'd rather play Dom. Plus he can only run 3/4 speed. We're not signing Ces next year anyway, so move on.

    Pete, Conforto, and JD just need to spend a week just trying to go oppo/up the middle to get their timing and feel better.

    Cano seems to have figured out he can only go oppo. He just needs to Ichiro-up and keep doing it until his bat speed comes back (if ever.) His pull swings are too weak i.e. pop-ups, GIDPs. He can be our now and future Ed Kranepool as a PH.

    More opportunities for Dom please. He looks dynamic these days and is performing. He brings energy to the team, too.

    I think Amed prefers the 9-hole.

    On the positive side, I like how Gimenez is being used, and what he's offering.

    It's the same old Mets. But it's a heckuva respite from the daily madness.

  • Seth

    Not sure if this is a Covid thing, but I don’t understand this constant removal of the big bats for pinch runners. Why did Cano come out of the game — Rojas was playing for the tie and not thinking we’d need Cano’s bat in the later innings? I just don’t get it.

  • Left Coast Jerry

    With reference to Edwin Diaz’ nickname Sugar, I have the wonderful song by the Guess Who running through my head. No Sugar Tonight.

  • Lenny65

    After last night I genuinely believe that Diaz is fundamentally broken in some way and is this close to developing a full blown case of the yips. Physical, mental, I don’t know, but he was just all over the place and given how hard he throws it’s only a matter of time before he seriously injures someone. The Mets need to stop pretending he’s still a closer and have to do whatever they can to attempt to rectify this, as IMO it’ll get way worse before it gets any better.

  • The King

    I turned off tonight’s game after six, and I told the wife “They’re going to lose 11-10.” I know my boys.

    • chuck

      El Rey,

      I’d be scared to hear your prediction for the presidential election.

      My wife, however long ago it was, nicknamed Betances “Toonces” after the very silly recurring SNL sketch. She knew the game was lost when he was brought in. We watched anyway. Now I have a stomach ache.

  • Daniel Hall

    Three days later, I have finally stopped screaming about this game (and have lots of screaming to do still for the following couple).

    “after the game Luis Rojas did not offer some earnestly dim-bulb Mickey Callaway horseshit about Proven Veterans™” – First, proven to suck? Second, this article actually made me flash a quarter of a grin halfway through, which is why while I love both of our writers here, I love Jason more when the Mets put up a dumb loss like this one…