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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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Another Lost Night

No matter what the standings have to say, a night at the ballpark feels a little like getting away with something. And Wednesday night was nice at Citi Field — a hot day turned into a breezy evening, enjoyed by a boisterous crowd. Even our neighboring Giants fans — of which there were admittedly too many — were good company.

But then why wouldn’t they be genial neighbors? The Giants are having one of those years where everything goes right, where 26 charmed baseball lives intersect no matter how many times you pinch yourself in disbelief.

The Mets, meanwhile, are having whatever the opposite of that year is.

Wednesday’s game was by turns depressing and bizarre. Both teams played cover-your-eyes abysmal defense at critical junctures and made inexplicable decisions on the basepaths, and Javier Baez was an avatar of chaos all by himself, authoring a couple of dazzling infield plays and also short-circuiting an inning by charging for third on a line drive to the center fielder. But Baez had plenty of help at the whole short-circuiting thing: The Mets hit into an amazing five double plays, a spectacle that was only lacking Joe Torre and Felix Millan to wax philosophical about failure.

The postgame kerfuffle was about whether or not Luis Rojas should have taken out Taijuan Walker in the seventh having thrown only 74 pitches — 73 of which were effective. Walker certainly didn’t think so, spreading his arms in angry disbelief as his manager signaled for the bullpen. Yes, there were runners on first and second and the Mets’ one-run lead was very much imperiled; no, those runners hadn’t gotten there through any fault of Walker’s, unless having stone-gloved teammates counts as a fault.

On the other hand, with two lefties on deck Rojas opted for lefty specialist Aaron Loup, who’s been pretty much spotless even as his fellow Mets have stumbled in the mire. So of course Loup made his first bad pitch in weeks, giving up a double to Brandon Crawford that sealed the Mets’ fate and ensured a tense press conference for Rojas, who looks about 10 years older than he did in mid-June.

Was taking Walker out a mistake? Sure. Maybe. Or maybe if Rojas leaves Walker in, maybe Crawford hits the ball 10 feet higher and farther. Would you really have been surprised at that turn of events, given everything that’s happened this month?

The real killer? It’s that the Mets had 16 baserunners and only two of them scored. (They only left nine on base, because double plays.) That was on display in the ninth, which was exciting and farcical and ultimately futile, coming down to Pete Alonso against Jake McGee with the bases loaded and two out. In a better world, Pete ended the long at-bat by roping a single over the infield for a walk-off win — or, sure, by walloping one over the fence, but why be greedy? But that better world slipped from the Mets’ grasp a while ago. In this world, Alonso hit a soft little flare that landed harmlessly in Tommy La Stella‘s glove, the Mets were done, and another lost night sighed to a close.

15 comments to Another Lost Night

  • JoeNunz

    Baseball aside, it was not breezy in Section 503. A schvitz, as Greg would say. Maybe because everyone in that section got the cheap Alonso HR Derby Deal seats?

  • Ken K. in NJ

    When the post-game second guessing involves replacing a lately home run prone starting pitcher at a critical juncture in the seventh inning (never mind the pitch count) with a fresh arm with a 1.09 ERA, it means the real question should be “why can’t anybody around here get a f*cking clutch hit??”.

    • mikeski

      I started laughing when Crawford doubled. My wife asked me why, and I responded “instead of crying”.

      I read that there were “Fire Rojas” chants last night, and I am 100% there for it.

    • mikeL

      …or catch the fkg baseball!

      luis could have really endeared himself to the mets faithful (especially the ones who’ve been around a while) had he walked out to right field and taken conforto out of the game and left walker in the game.

      maybe the chants would have been GIL-HOD-GES!

      never a fan of the beltran signing (i always found him to be a pretty flat on-screen personality as a player) i think girardi would have been a much better fit (had the front office not sought out a sock puppet). i can’t picture joe letting a season slip away with the lame daily platitudes we’ve gotten from luis for weeks and weeks now. perhaps luis’ motivational skill set is too suited to the guys he’s worked with who had little chance of a future in the MLB.

  • greensleeves

    “The Bums of August” playing at a field near you.
    Card carrying masochists admitted free of charge.

  • Seth

    I’ve read some analyses saying that this year is an anomaly; the players are just not playing to their historical stats (injuries, etc) and should return to those levels next year. So really, the strategy is to wait until next year? In the offseason, it will be interesting to see how the new ownership responds to this disaster.

    • mikeL

      a big “should”
      what if all of these sub-stat players have peaked and are in decline.

      how *does* a player who has a season like this one return to form? we always hear about the supreme importance of confidence in baseball. these are human beings who have been consistently failing miserably AND are no longer able to balance that failure against being on a first club team (that failed to run away with it when they still had the opportunity)

      it reminds me of never wanting to see familia close (or pitch) for the mets again after the 2015 WS. sadly i feel that way about most of the position players this year.

      it feels to me like many of the struggling mets (ie. all but nimmo and alonso?) may benefit from a change of scenery – and that scenery may benefit from some new mets.

      the 4year mccann panic signing has proven to be a bad move. will the lindor signing be 10 years with zero good years before the inevitable decline? stay tuned…

  • Eric

    On general principle as a baseball fan, I would rather have had seen Walker face Crawford. Pitching well, low pitch count, base runners not his fault.

    But after my initial reaction against the move, I was okay with bringing in Loup. Like us fans, Rojas apparently did not believe the Mets would score any more than the 2 on the board. And I appreciate that he managed the dilemma like it was the critical moment of a must-win game, notwithstanding that Lindor didn’t start the game due to performance staff edict.

    The blame rightfully goes to the offense for once again failing to make a well-enough pitched game stand up.

    I believe Bench Mob magic of yore would have won the game.

    The Phillies lost against a top contender, too. I’d already written off the rest of the Dodgers-Giants stretch, so I’m frustrated but repressing it for now. If the Mets continue to drop against the Nationals and Marlins and/or fail to make up enough ground in the coming stretch, I’ll add back the frustration for these losses.

  • open the gates

    Re the “statistical anomaly” of new Mets not living up to their career numbers: yep, they also said that about Roberto Alomar. And Carlos Baerga. And George Foster. And Jason Bay. And Mo Vaughn. And Michael Cuddyer. And Juan Samuel. And Robinson Cano. And Shawn Green. And…

  • open the gates

    By the way, right around the time of the Pirates debacle around the Al Star tag, I commented in this space that this would either be a speed bump on the way to the playoffs (yes, that used to be a thing here not long ago), or it could be the beginning of the annual August free fall in which the Mets wind up the season in 16th place. Well, August is almost over, so we know how that went. We’re all Mets fans, so we’ve all seen this movie in endless reruns. The difference is that we are currently under new ownership with a better attitude and a upposedly endless money supply. The big question moving forward – what’s his learning curve like? And his interest level?

  • Greg Mitchell

    Rosario quietly hitting .287 for Cleveland with .747 OPS. Lindor at .224 and .690. Oh wait, we also got Carrasco in that deal. Urp, never mind….

    • mikeL

      wow, .287 *this* season has gotta be like hitting .320 or more a normal year

      well lugo can be added to the roster of players, that if we ever loved them, we need to let go.

      shame the front office never saw him as a starter after he (and gsellman) saved the 2016 campaign…until familia…never mind.

      i really do hope the signing of lindor hasn’t snakebitten cohen. this team needs a most serious tear-down/quick rebuild.
      the kind that only MORE money can accomplish as most of this team’s available pieces would be of interest only to to dumpster-diving, farm-depleted teams like …. the mets :0/

      let-go mets