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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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This Relationship Is Bad for Both of Us

Maybe I need to see the therapist of my blog partner’s imaginings, because I figure any sane counselor would tell me and the Mets that we’re better off apart. Right now, we’re making each other insane, night after night.

On Friday night the Mets jumped out to an early 2-0 lead over what used to be the Nationals, largely thanks to their opponents’ mistakes, but there was ominous music all over the soundtrack. They missed chance after chance to bury the Nats under an avalanche of runs, somehow didn’t pay for that recklessness, and handed Edwin Diaz a 2-0 lead.

Now look. The nature of being a closer is that a blown save feels like your heart got ripped out of your chest, and every closer arrives on stage balancing on a tightrope. Even the best closers blow saves now and again, and we remember the now and agains even as we forget the streaks of ho-hum conversions.

That said, I don’t think I will ever be able to trust Diaz. The man could convert every save for three seasons in a running (he won’t) and donate a kidney to me and I’d still be like, “You’re going to blow this, aren’t you?” (If for some reason Edwin does give me a kidney, I’ll do my best to just think this and not, say, tweet it. Also, that would be nice of him.)

So. Diaz came in and blew it: leadoff homer to Juan Soto (who’d been bedeviled all night by Rich Hill, go figure), strikeout, walk to ageless Met killer Ryan Zimmerman, game-tying double to Riley Adams. Yeah, Brandon Nimmo dived for a ball he didn’t really have a chance for and Javier Baez made a less-than-perfect throw home, but still, he blew it. Adams was on third with one out, Diaz couldn’t get out of his own way, and the Mets were dead. They’d lost the game, their season was over, and maybe they’d be contracted on general principles.

Except the thing I cannot get through my head about this year’s seriously weird Mets team is that they will confound each and every certainty. Diaz struck out Carter Kieboom, got Luis Garcia to ground out, and the Mets would play on. So of course in the 10th they rose up in indignation and spanked the Nats for four runs.

(Those were the four runs they could have scored two hours earlier by not whiffing on every opportunity, but that’s the bitterness talking.)

Pete Alonso brought in ghost runner Francisco Lindor, and then tagged up on a long foul fly from Baez — a critical play, as it turned out. The Nats walked Michael Conforto and Kevin Pillar doubled in two. Jonathan Villar — who had four hits on the night — brought in Pillar. And then Jeurys Familia put the Nats down without breaking a sweat, giving Diaz the win.

Yes, Edwin Diaz got the win. Which is obviously absurd, but then the whole game was absurd. As was the postgame news that the Braves lost in Colorado, drawing the Mets within four. It’s absurd to think they could pull that off, given their seemingly endless list of faults. But they specialize in the absurd, don’t they? However it’s defined at a given moment.

12 comments to This Relationship Is Bad for Both of Us

  • Matt T

    Every fan base fears their closer. It’s the nature of the job. They are the ones that are always in for the white knuckle situations and as you noted memory fades of all the times they get the job done but you sure remember the failures. I mean really outside of maybe Mo, what closer enjoyed nearly unanimous confident approval from their fan base for any length of time? Certainly not any Mets closer in my lifetime. Anyway, Soto is a demon and that was a great win. #LFGM

    • Eric

      Familia was the most valuable 2015 Met in my opinion, a sure thing for a team that played close games until he quick-pitched Gordon in game 1. His blown saves the rest of the World Series weren’t his fault. But then Familia wasn’t quite as reliable in 2016 and then the Gillaspie HR.

  • Eric

    It’s September and the games are meaningful. The Mets reached my modest goal for this last relatively easy stretch until the competition difficulty jumps up starting Friday of getting back to .500, 4 back of the Braves, and 2 back of the Phillies. Hopefully the Mets will improve on my modest goal over the next 7 games. At least don’t backslide under .500 or fall away from the Phillies and Braves. The Reds and Padres lost, so the Mets pulled to 4 back of the 2nd wildcard, too, although the Cardinals won and are making their habitual playoff push.

    Diaz gave up the lead to a future Hall-of-Famer, a bad walk, and a bad gamble by Nimmo. Runner on 3rd with 1 out. To his credit he didn’t lose the game from there. Maybe Diaz has developed the resilience he didn’t have earlier as a Met.

  • greensleeves

    A moment of pause, concern and props here for Chance Sisco who took a hit Buster Posey could feel out on the coast.

  • Greg Mitchell

    Great win but let us pause to note two things: Lindor still killing them out of the 3 hole, down to .219 after an 0-5. Boo…who? Well, only 9 years left on contract now. Lindor OPS .680. Rosario: .753.

    Also: the Mets’ season-long pathetic inability of the starters to go more than 6 innings–often 5–and partly due to Rojas’ quick hook, often comes back to bite them. Hill was judged positively heroic and superhuman last night for somehow managing to go 6. And what it sets up is needing 3-4-5 relievers every single game, the better ones often going back to back and usually less effective the 2nd night (see Diaz last night). Today a DH with Diaz and others no doubt judged unavailable leaving us with Castro, May and thank-god-for-Brad-Hand for two games! Yes, starters across baseball are pulled earlier in general but other teams have at least one guy if not two who often go 7 or even a little more. Not us, and it will really kill us soon as each game becomes a “must-win.” Maybe fresh-armed Trevor Williams will be a savior and allowed to go 7 (gasp) next time.

    • Flynn23

      Actually, only 10 more years left on contract. :-( But great point about Lindor. Is it too much to ask for just ONE month of what you’re being paid for?

      Pitchers in general have never been more injured while never being more babied. Drives me nuts.

      And don’t look now but Jarred Kelenic is slashing .158/.240/.288

      Keeping the faith. Let’s go Stro!

  • Michael in CT

    For Mets fans, there’s a lot of PTSD associated with Diaz from 2019, and like Jason I will never quite get over it regardless of what he does. That said, Diaz does seem markedly improved, better able to harness what is and has always been impressive stuff (100 mph fastball, wicked slider). In 2019, he would not have held the lead after blowing the save. And he has developed a level of confidence, and sometimes dominance, that he did not show in the past. When he wants to, it seems like he can strike out anybody. Every closer, being human, is subject to cracking; even the great Mariano had his failures. It’s what makes the closer’s performance such riveting theater every time.

  • Bob

    Having seen every Mets “closer” since Larry Bernarth, including Tug, Neil Allen, John Franco, Roger & Jesse, Armando Benitez..
    (I flew back to NY from LA for game #3 of 2000 World Series and was there when Benitez did NOT blow game 3 save, or I would have jumped off Whitestone Bridge!) and this guy Diaz is the most nerve-wracking one yet!
    Well, at least I was there in 2000 to see John Franco get a W in that game #3 over skanks at Shea!
    Let’s Go Mets!

  • Matt T

    Lindor has been tearing the cover off the ball since returning, and that’s not just the eye test. His XBA & exit velocities are off the charts. It’s almost impossible to hit into as much bad luck as he has.

  • Jon

    My trust in Diaz is not complete, but it is more than I had in most recent Mets “closers.” Bobby Parnell I called the opener, and Familia, for all his success some years back, always gave me heart attacks because he obligatorily let runners on base before hopefully ending the inning. I do centainly agree with the post’s statement that the Mets this year “will confound each and every certainty.” Thus I knew when they were up 9-0 this afternoon that the win was not certain, contrary to Coleman and Randazzo. Etc.