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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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That’s the way Keith says it, a remnant of his California roots that’s one of his more endearing quirks, and a label worth plastering all over Saturday’s matinee against the Marlins.

Jacob deGrom needed just nine pitches — all strikes — to take down the Marlins in the top of the first, blitzed through the first two Marlins who came to the plate in the second, and put Jazz Chisholm Jr. in an 0-2 hole with 99 and 100 MPH four-seamers. DeGrom threw Chisholm another four-seamer, hitting 100 at the top of the zone — a pitch that’s almost impossible to get around on. Chisholm got around on it and how, poleaxing it deep into whatever the Pepsi Porch is called these days. (After the game, by the way, he said he was looking for something off-speed, which makes the whole turn of events even more startling.) Within a couple of seconds, the Marlins had gone from looking like deGrom’s Washington Generals to having the lead, turning one of those “well maybe” days when you cross your fingers into a painful slog in which your shoulders never unslump.

The Mets did their part, to the extent they did anything Saturday, to ensure it was painful. They started off the bottom of the first with a Brandon Nimmo double and a Francisco Lindor bunt that turned into a second baserunner, giving them first and third with nobody out. But though we didn’t know it yet (and there’s a small mercy), that was the offensive high point of the game. Lindor was caught stealing and Trevor Rogers fanned Michael Conforto and then Pete Alonso, leaving the Mets with nothing.

And they’d get nothing the rest of the way. Rogers struck out 13 Mets in six innings, including Conforto once again with a runner on third and less than two out, and the Mets failed to scratch against a trio of Miami relievers. DeGrom struck out 14 over eight — tying a career high — and gave way to Edwin Diaz, who added fire to the dry tinder in the stands by giving up two thoroughly unnecessary insurance runs. (He’s probably aware that this is a storyline no Mets fan needs revived right now.)

The Mets might be rethinking that whole “we missed you fans and having your energy in the stands” thing — there was energy in the park, all right, but it was the kind borrowed from a pirate ship whose crew has decided a few members of their fraternity ought to step overboard with their pockets full of rocks and sharks waiting to greet them. Conforto was booed with increasing vigor — there was a very Beltran ’05 vibe to the whole thing — and while predictions of his demise are obviously exaggerated, it would be a good idea for him to spend a game as a spectator, thinking about as little as possible. Conforto has the look of a ballplayer who’s getting in his own way, and the game’s difficult enough even when that isn’t true.

Fortunately, the forecast suggests every Met is likely to get a day off Sunday, without the need for tampering with sprinklers. (Who’d channel Crash Davis if tampering were required? I’m thinking J.D. Davis — he’s halfway there already namewise and seems like a man who could engineer a natural disaster, perhaps not always on purpose.) If it rains as vigorously as expected, I’d suggest the Mets not spend Sunday thinking about the truly astonishing statistics that follow deGrom around. You probably saw this already (and you’ll be seeing it ad nauseum until the narrative changes), but deGrom has a 2.06 ERA since the start of 2018, a blaze of excellence that the Mets have somehow converted into a 36-42 record.

That’s just ludicrous. It’s the stuff of Greek tragedy, or perhaps of the fingers of the monkey’s paw curling up after a hasty wish. (If a lone simian digit got left outstretched, I think we can guess which one.) Why has it happened? There isn’t an explanation that’s any better than a Just So story, not with the ever-shifting cast of characters around deGrom — any more than there’s an explanation for a generation of Twins’ teams turning to ash with playoff bunting in the park, or than there was for a half a century’s worth of San Diego Padres starters taking the hill without throwing a no-hitter. (Congratulations on that no longer being a thing, at least.)

Baseball’s just strange and flukey and confounding. Fuhstrating, one might even say.

9 comments to Fuhstrating

  • eric1973

    Always ‘hated’ that Jimmy Carter says ‘NU-CU-LAR’ instead of ‘nuclear,’ and all the folks who say ‘CULL-INARY’ instead of pronouncing it ‘CYOO-LINARY.’

    You can always find some dictionary to say that anything is acceptable, but still…

    That Jazz guy hit the luckiest home run I have ever seen, another Tuffy Rhodes moment, if you ask me (but nobody did).

    Liked the way Rojas said after the game, that he had a ‘discussion’ with Lindor regarding that awful decision by Lindor to try to steal 2B when we actually had a chance to give Jake a lead.

  • Lenny65

    Yeah, the whole “no support for deGrom” routine is way beyond tiresome now. Mets fans are tired of seeing Jake’s greatness being squandered every fifth day and I’d have been letting them hear it too.

  • I look forward to DeGrom throwing 240 innings in his final season and winning 23 games with an era of 3.84. This has to even out somehow.

    • Lenny65

      Seriously, you’d think so, right? A 44 year old Jacob, getting by on “pitch placement” and veteran guile, finally wins 20 with the new expansion Nashville HardHatz and secures career win number 100.

  • open the gates

    It wouldn’t have helped in this game, but maybe keeping Jacob in for longer than 6-7 innings a game might help. Or, dare we say it, letting him finish his own games once in a while.

    Also didn’t really matter in this game, but is there any logical reason that Edwin Diaz is still the Mets’ official closer? You can’t even use the “might as well get our money’s worth” excuse any more, because it wasn’t Steve Cohen’s money to begin with. How many chances does this guy get?

  • Eric

    It’s amazing (no pun intended) that at this point the Mets have to be considered at a disadvantage on the days the best pitcher in baseball starts, no matter how well he pitches.

    As for Conforto, looks like he’s as streaky as ever.

  • Daniel Hall

    According to baseball-reference, Jake is 0-1 with a 0.64 ERA and +1.1 WAR.


    So if Michael Wacha had started those two games, the Mets would have lost three of them?