The blog for Mets fans
who like to read


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.

Got something to say? Leave a comment, or email us at (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.

Agents of Chaos

There are games you’re clearly fated to win, ones you’re pretty much guaranteed to lose, and ones where the outcome teeters and totters between joy and horror while your heart tries to keep pace. And then there are games like Monday night’s in Cincinnati — ones where the sheer insanity of everything gobbles up logic and equilibrium and finally emotion itself. You don’t win games like that, even if the outcome reflects a victory in the standings. You merely survive them, staggering out of the tornado blinking and dazed and exchanging disbelieving fragments of what you think you saw with others stumbling around in the wreckage.

Once upon a time Monday night, Pete Alonso and Jeff McNeil hit first-inning home runs to give the Mets a 3-0 lead and make you imagine that Sunday’s unlikely uprising against the Pirates was a turning point in this completely baffling, seemingly ad-libbed season.

But that was before poor Jerad Eickhoff was out there for about an hour, trying to look imperturbable as Met infielders heaved balls unlikely places and kicked them around their surroundings and did everything but shot-put them into the outfield with their noses. It should have been a warning that the Met in the center of this maelstrom of malpractice was Luis Guillorme, normally the most sure-handed of defenders but suddenly looking like he was playing his position blindfolded. In a blink it was 4-3 Reds and in another blink it was 7-3 Reds, and it was only the second inning, so the question was which unlucky Met position player was going to draw the black spot once the wolves had reduced Eickhoff and newly recalled cannon fodder Stephen Nogosek and Anthony Banda to pink ribbons.

But Eickhoff somehow got through the third without a teammate doing something ill-advised with a baseball, and Michael Conforto homered and Alonso singled and suddenly it was 7-6. And it was only the fourth inning.

From there, well, it’s a bit of a blur. The Mets tied it on a Dom Smith homer, lost the lead on a Jesse Winker double off suddenly unreliable Seth Lugo, then took the lead when James McCann subbed for Tomas Nido and connected for a pinch-hit home run, sending the bull market on Dave Jauss genius shares into a frenzy even given the wonders of last week. (Nido, to his credit, was front and center to high-five his fellow catcher in the dugout.)

The Mets were up 9-8, but with six outs to get. Jauss sent Lugo out for another tour of duty and he survived, though Ed Hickox’s bizarre strike zone had something to do with it, as Joey Votto would tell you quite emphatically. The Mets handed the ball to Edwin Diaz, and I assumed the fetal position to save myself time. Diaz walked the leadoff guy, because of course he did, got two outs, because of course he did, and the Mets opted to pitch to Winker instead of putting him on first and facing Mike Freeman. Winker doubled to left center, the game was tied, and I’d like to tell whoever replaced Diaz with the vat-grown love child of Braden Looper and Armando Benitez that their little prank isn’t funny anymore.

(Aw hell, that’s a lot of work. Our prankster just replaced Diaz with his 2019 self. Same outcome and a lot simpler.)

So, it was 9-9 in the ninth. The Mets cashed in their ghost runner, but with Trevor May and Jeurys Familia and Aaron Loup all gassed, they handed the ball to the briefly aforementioned Banda. To call Banda unassuming would be putting it mildly — he looks like a fan who won a Closer for a Day! contest. (Of course he also throws 95 — it’s 2021.) Banda immediately yielded a pair of singles to knot the score at 10-10 and looked like he was headed for Mac Scarce territory, to be remembered with a sad shake of the head decades from now by those whose taste for trivia runs towards the tragic. But he somehow coaxed a double play from Eugenio Suarez and a harmless groundout from Shogo Akiyama to survive. (After the disasters of the early innings, every Met who fielded a grounder in the late going handled the ball like it was filled with nitroglycerine, for which I blame them not at all.)

It was 10-10 after 10, just like it had been 7-7 after seven and 9-9 after nine, so of course Brandon Nimmo led off the 11th with a single, sending ghost runner Jose Peraza to third. Alonso struck out and the Reds decided to one-up the Mets in head-scratchers, choosing to pitch to McNeil with the pitcher up next and the Mets out of position players. McNeil promptly singled in Peraza, and I was both happy and offended. (Seriously, what in the world?) I was also exhausted — the game had degenerated into madness, leaving me feeling like I’d watched it while standing on my head doing Whipits. Surely it would be 11-11 after 11, and then 12-12 after 12, and my wife would find me at five in the morning lying on the living-room floor laughing and sobbing at the same time while the last 18 ambulatory Mets and Reds lay on the field in two exhausted heaps and occasionally chucked a ball back and forth.

But no, Kevin Pillar hit a bomb of a homer and the potentially rejuvenated Conforto connected for his second of the night and it was 15-10. Of course the game had a few last dregs of madness at its bottom — a reluctantly summoned May came within a whisper of having to face Votto as the tying run, which would not have been entertaining to recall until the mid-2030s at least. Happily, Freeman swung through a 3-2 fastball, leaving Votto as a spectator, and the Mets had won.

Or survived, which is close enough. They’ll play again Tuesday night, and anyone who can tell you what will happen is either lying or insane. Because who the heck knows? They give up a thousand runs, then somehow snatch them back. They play baseball so ineptly that you want to lie down in the road, and then they summon magic and make you want to dance on top of cars. They shed All-Stars, and anonymous bench guys manage to hold the line. Guys with good gloves inexplicably kick balls around and the reliable relievers explode and somehow they win anyway, except on the nights when they lose hideously and you wish they’d release everyone.

I don’t know what to make of it. I doubt they do either. We’re all just whirling around in the same storm.

20 comments to Agents of Chaos

  • eric1973

    Bill Jauss would be proud!

    This team could be talked about for the full hour, with Ben Bentley, Bill Gleason, and Rick Telander, with Joe Mooshil and his cigar rings thrown in for good measure.

    Thinking it might just be better for Diaz’ psyche if he were yanked after giving up these leadoff walks rather than being left in to blow all these saves.

    How is it that the suckiest pitcher on the team is given such grandiose status that he can NEVER EVER be removed from a game BEFORE the inevitable.

  • Daniel Hall

    MLB mandates that he must toss to three batters before he can be removed, even if you know after the first batter that you won’t have a ballgame left after three…. :-P

    The mere thought of Boom-Boom Diaz fills me with rage. Can we just non-tender the bum this fall? I would rather think of and look at something nicer. (dramatically opens folder with WW2 vintage pictures of carpet-bombed cities)

    So glad my week off is NEXT week. Saved me the 4:45 of insanity I saw in the box score…

    • chuck

      What’s the actual language of the rule? It dawned on my half-awake self that it might make some sense to intentionally walk the 2nd and 3rd batter if Diaz looks as bad as he did on the 1st. But then he’s not really “facing” or “tossing” to them.

      The next ten days should be interesting.

  • open the gates

    “The Mets handed the ball to Edwin Diaz, and I assumed the fetal position to save myself time.” That line should win an award. Well done, sir.

    Seriously, though, what the heck happened to Edwin Diaz? Three weeks ago, some of us were annoyed that he wasn’t an All Star, but now he’s back to being the guy we all loved to hate in 2019. He needs to be put on the mop up squad until he can get his moxie back, but who do we replace him with? Maybe we really should have a “Closer for a Day!” contest (another great line, btw). Maybe it’s time to find out if J.D. Davis still remembers how to pitch. Maybe LaTroy Hawkins can come out of retirement. Or Johnny Franco.

    And as always, I end my rant with the statement “Somehow, they’re still in first place.” Crazy, man, crazy.

  • greensleeves

    More Dave Jauss! More than a bench coach; an old school guy to believe in. More Dave Jauss!

  • 9th string catcher

    If I ever have to explain do an uninitiated faith and fear in Flushing reader why this blog is so important, I will cut and paste this particular recap. You always bring the a game, but I guess this would have to be considered A+. It articulates every one of us long suffering Mets fans feel with critical references added along with pitch Perfect metaphors.

    My two cents – isn’t it interesting how an offense comes alive when you take the automatic out out of the two-hole.

  • metsfaninparadise

    There are games you’re clearly fated to win, ones you’re pretty much guaranteed to lose, and ones where the outcome teeters and totters between joy and horror…and then there are games like last night, which was all three

  • Cleon Jones

    What a crazy game!!! It seems the Mets offense is coming around. Diaz needs to get his sh!t together quickly!!! LFGM !!!

  • Eric

    I guess Diaz was a sticky stuff user. His control has obviously gone away. I saw a graph on Twitter showing his spin rate has dropped sharply since the sticky stuff crackdown. He should find out how Gerrit Cole has compensated.

    Lugo’s sudden stumble is more jarring since he had been reliable, whereas Diaz has a history, and Lugo’s the back-up closer.

    Guillorme’s burst of errors — and I would have given him McNeil’s error too — behind a pitcher who needs spotless defense was just as jarring. Guillorme’s defense should be a given. I’m rooting for him to seize this opportunity to prove he’s starter calibre, Turner Take Two. He got on base fine at least, but those errors were ugly and could have lost the game.

    The Mets earned first place with league-leading pitching from the starters and relievers and impeccable defense and timely hits from subs in low-scoring games. Now they’re trying to hold onto first place with a severely depleted pitching staff with hitherto reliable starters compounding the short staff with short outings and hitherto reliable relievers struggling. Shaky defense.

    Maybe now with the regular bats back in the line-up, minus Lindor, they can outscore the team’s gaping holes. Though the Mets’ elite offense has been a lot more paper theory than field reality. They need the paper offense to become real to hold onto first place, and it was real last night.

    As Jason points out, the 11th inning lead did not feel at all safe. The game felt barely won.

    Robert Stock starting tonight. More of the same.

  • Michael in CT

    “The Mets handed the ball to Edwin Diaz, and I assumed the fetal position to save myself time.”

    I also found that line quite special.

    I read that Lindor was Diaz’s on-field therapist/good luck charm, and Edwin is a bit lost without him.

    • Seth

      He’s right in the dugout, if Eddie Baby needs him. Maybe Lindor’s coaching effectiveness depends on what color his hair is this week?

  • Daniel Goldstein

    Kimbrel? Can we get Kimbrel

    What a Game. What an Epic recap!

  • mikeL

    c’mon guys. closers are supposed to be a special breed of competitor with nerves of steel. diaz gets the steak knives.

    i snoozed through lugo and diaz so had a little bit of my own nerves intact for the extras. jeez as much as i hate the ghost runner, putting him on first would make things more fair.

    with a three batter minimum, the game could be over after a single on one pitch …wtf?

    an away team really needs to score 3-4 runs in extras to feel safe (and even then!) props to pillar and conforto for making it end!

    and yes i was calling for diaz to go after the famous *point*grand slam. not a wince of pain or anger. just cluelessness. how can he be counted on? in august, september…october?? [yes maybe i’m a little clueless too ;0]

  • Seth

    Remember a few weeks ago when SNY cut over to the dugout, and Guillorme was doing a pretty good juggling act with baseballs? He wasn’t as good at it last night.

  • greensleeves

    Staff half empty dept:
    On tap tonight in Cinci: Robert Stock. Not to be confused with Robert Stack. One was untouchable.
    The other…not so much.

  • Jacobs27

    Outstanding recap for a wild game.

    Shout out to the line about Banda looking like a fan who won a Closer for a Day! contest.

    You know, that doesn’t sound like such a bad idea, given the current state of affairs. Starting Pitcher for a Day!, too.

  • […] it’s just an oddity, or trivia.” In that case, I’m here to mention the 15-11 Mets win from the other night and its brush with history. Given my bent for tracking final scores of Met wins, it was more than […]