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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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Save None of That for Tomorrow

Baseball teams need only one more run than their opponent when the game is over to be declared the winner. I’m pretty sure that’s how it works. Only pretty sure, because I have come to believe the Mets could find a way to lose a game in which they have the greater number of runs at its end. I don’t know how such a result would manifest itself, I’m just not ready to rule it out.

After Saturday’s 9-0 lead became a 9-9 tie, nothing feels off the table of possibility. That the Mets snuck two additional runs onto the board in a so-called extra inning didn’t keep me from wondering if claiming the “11” in an 11-9 final would necessarily earn them the W. They indeed were ruled to have won it in nine — evidence exists they scored their tenth and eleventh runs in the ninth without reflexively allowing a tenth, eleventh or worse run themselves — but the game was supposed to go only seven. “Supposed to” in the sense that seven innings was predetermined as regulation for half of a Manfred-rigged day-night doubleheader, and “supposed to” because the Mets led, 9-0, in the middle of the fourth. The overness of it not being over until it’s over is “supposed to” have a limit.

But it wasn’t over until it was extras on Saturday afternoon, therefore informing the way one was bound to process the doings in Washington come Sunday afternoon. With Saturday fresh in the mind’s eye, there was no we way we ever had enough runs on Sunday.

Not when we scored four in the top of the first (the Nats scored three in the bottom of the first).

Not when we led, 6-3, in the middle of the fifth (the Nats scored three to tie us in the bottom of the fifth).

Certainly not when a single Met run crossed the plate in the top of the eighth to push the Mets ahead, 7-6 (incidentally, when did Nationals Park, heretofore not known as one of those “no lead is safe” havens, move ten blocks from Lake Michigan and elevate 5,280 feet above sea level?).

Heading to the ninth, how many additional runs did you think the allegedly contending New York Mets would need to fend off the cellar-dwelling Washington Nationals?

Would one run do it? Francisco Lindor led off the ninth with a homer, securing us that usually All-Important Insurance Run. Yet we surely felt no more secure at 8-6 than we had at 7-6. Not after Saturday.

Would two runs do it? Between a Pete Alonso double and a Michael Conforto single, we added a second ninth-inning run and were staked to a three-run lead of 9-6.

Not enough. Not after Saturday.

Javy Baez singled for his fourth hit of the game. Jeff McNeil walked. The bases were loaded. Nobody was out. Kevin Pillar, the closest thing we have to Roy Kent, stepped up. Our indefatigable grizzled veteran (“he’s here, he’s there, he’s everyfuckingwhere — Kevin Pillar! Kevin Pillar!”) ripped into the best Austin Voth could throw him and sent it toward Capitol Hill. The Mets had amended their run total six times in the ninth and led by seven. Was lassoing a 13-6 lead enough?

Not really. Not after Saturday. Not in our gut. But in reality, yes. At some point, you have to stop not believing, at least in the scoreboard when the scoreboard blinks its big F at you and your seven-run advantage.

Do you gotta believe in the Mets at 3½ back with four weeks to go in a season that has seen them look intermittently unbeatable and nothing but beatable? We have one more with the Nats, whose players haven’t quite given up as much as their front office did, then three with the Marlins, who are always a pain. That’s the pillowy part of the schedule. Then come five consecutive series against teams with better records than our team. Our belief system will have to be fortified on a nightly basis.

One thing I believe might be beneficial would be to adjust every clubhouse calendar to make the Mets in general and Baez in particular believe every day is Sunday. Consider the last four completed Sunday games the Mets have played (worded as such to include this past Wednesday’s completion of the Sunday April 11 game, which is officially a Sunday game, which is inane bookkeeping, but never mind that right now). In those four games, this is what Javy Baez has done:

• Collected eight hits in thirteen at-bats
• Scored seven runs
• Driven in six runs
• Doubled twice
• Homered twice
• Stolen a base
• Run daringly
• Slid brilliantly
• Said something really stupid about the fans
• Lost a very expensive earring
• And, most importantly, contributed heavily to four Mets victories

Give Javy and the Mets a month of Sundays, and it could get 1973 as hell up in here across these final 25 games. Even without the calendar magically self-editing on the fly, we do have close to a month left in a year in which the Mets’ fate somehow remains to be determined. Is it enough?

We’ll see.

13 comments to Save None of That for Tomorrow

  • Jon

    25 games is certainly enough time for the Mets to win the division or make the second card. But they will have to play consistently good the rest of the way, no two-game losing streaks and winning almost every series.

  • Ray

    Not sure about managing to lose with more runs on the board, but I AM convinced that the ultimate goal of the baseball gods is to give us a 26-out perfect game on the road, have Jacoahus StrodeGraard strike out the final pinch hitter swinging, watch in horror as the third strike passes by the catcher, rolls to an inaccessible spot, and the “final out” instead circles and crosses home with the home team’s winning run, since of course the Mets gave their star pitcher(s) absolutely no run support.

    Only the Mets could create a walkoff strikeout.

  • Matt T

    Good to see Lindor, Jeff & MC looking more like themselves. That’s what we need to make up for the loss of Nimmo.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    Every time McNeil comes up to bat lately I look at his 246 batting average and his 6 home runs (his fielding was never worth looking at) and I say to myself “Sign Javy, Sign Javy, Sign Javy”.

    Sorry, I can’t help it.

  • Matt T

    I hear ya Ken. Jeff has been inexplicably bad this year (along with Dom & MC). But I’m terrified if we let him go he’ll become JT or Murph 2.0. Could easily see him hitting .320 for someone next year and torturing us.

  • Michael in CT

    If our hitherto hibernating hitters hit as they have in recent games — notably Lindor, Conforto and McNeil — and Baez strikes out a bit less, maybe we can compete till the end. Typically, as the hitters have begun to hit, the pitchers have stopped pitching well. #LGM

  • mikeL

    ha, no lead safe at nats park!
    who knew?

    i had to run out and away from following the game in the 4th on saturday with score 9-0. wasn’t missing much (and only 3 innings) – or so i thought.

    so much for sweeping a thoroughly dispirted team in their own park.

    nice comeback yesterday and weak opponent or not, these guys *are* hitting.


    *hitting* (has a strange but welcome ring to it)

    the patient is walking and acting normal.
    we’ll see if that’s too much to sustain for another day, a change of venue…
    but at least things are now interesting and hope is not a sign of cognitive disfunction…not necessarily, at least.

    a couple of days ago i was imagining villar and nimmo carrying this team to the finish…

    there is poetry in a hot again pillar joining his near-namesake to reconvene the long missed bench-mob-heroics model of stepping in and stepping up. that and a couple of high-end middle infielders not sucking.

    yes we could use some starting pitching heroics about now but there’s time for that…a little over two hours by my count.

    streak on gentlemen!

  • Tad Richards

    He even looks like Roy Kent.

  • Seth

    Nimmo is confounding sometimes. That ridiculous butt-plant he did sliding into (and over) 3rd base, that might have caused his injury. Can a baseball player be any more ungraceful?

  • 9th string catcher

    Nice to see javy feasting on crap pitching. Watch him turn back into a pumpkin against st Louis and the yanks. No need to sign him whatsoever. Baty and Mauricio will be up here soon enough. We don’t need to pay another quarter billion for a strike out machine heading out of his prime. We already have one of those.

    • mikeL

      ^ that.
      and we could do worse than give guillermo a shot at 2B full-time. real artistry from luis during that stretch when he was there with mcneil still hurt.

  • Harvey .

    The Mets hitting like crazy lately against the dregs of the league is covering up their starting pitching horrors. The 16 pitchers not named deGrom or Stroman who have started games this year have a combined 11-32 4.59 record. Thank goodness for the bullpen (42-22), the most wins in the majors except for Tampa Bay (50). They should have tried to get a quality starter at the deadline. I doubt Jake or Noah will be much use down the stretch.

  • open the gates

    The stats on the opening pitchers probably have more to do with Luis (Captain Hook) Rojas’ propensity for removing starting pitchers in the fourth and fifth innings. That puts starters in more of a position to lose or no-decision than to win, and gives the bullpen more opportunities for a late victory. And I’d like to see some stats on relievers blowing games, then getting the W. (Edwin D, I’m talking to you.)