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.

Midnight at the Oasis

A late night West Coast game is a late night West Coast game under any guise, whether the coast is relatively ballpark-adjacent or an entire state over. Arizona’s oceanic only in that it chooses to not spring its clocks forward for Daylight Saving Time, meaning that for all intents and purposes from a New Yorker’s view of the world, baseball games in Phoenix might as well start in California. Once you’re past 11 PM EDT and nobody’s risen for the seventh-inning stretch, it’s all too late for decent people.

Honestly, they all look like West Coast games from here.

Ah, but Chase Field isn’t Petco Park or Oracle Park or Dodger Stadium. The Mets have BOBbed for their share of losses at the former Bank One Ballpark, but it’s been more oasis than desert when it comes to a spot where they can refresh their winning ways on the other side of the country. The home of the Diamondbacks is where the Mets won their first playoff game in eleven years, in 1999, in wholly nocturnal circumstances back east (first pitch was 11:07 PM where most of us sat and tried not to snooze); where they wrangled thirteen consecutive wins between 2004 and 2007, highlighted by the most productive nights in the baseball lives of Victor Diaz and Mike Jacobs in 2005; where Matt Harvey introduced himself to major league hitting by shutting it down completely in 2012; where another six consecutive wins would be reeled off from 2013 to 2015; and where Jose Reyes, Jose Bautista, Brandon Nimmo and Asdrubal Cabrera teamed to wish a happy recap to all the fathers out there in an otherwise arid June five years ago. In most recent times, we took two out of three in ’21, two more out of another three in ’22, and resisted the temptation to blow up a Fourth of July victory in ’23.

Yet late is late, and sleep tantalizes, and no matter how your starter is pitching, if there are no Mets runs to keep you awake in New York, you really have to question why you’re struggling to keep your eyes open. About the only reasons I could come up with by the eighth inning of an impending 1-0 defeat was a) the chance to mark the debut of Trevor Gott as the potential 1,207th Met overall — he was indeed sighted warming in the bullpen; and b) the obligation to remark to anybody listening that Kodai Senga was taking the first Met complete game loss (not rain-shortened, not seven-inning pandemic doubleheader nonsense) since Dillon Gee was entrusted to carry his shutout against the Braves to the finish line in June of 2013. On that occasion, Freddie Freeman got Dillon in the ninth, and the Mets lost, 2-1. On this occasion, a suitably rested Kodai Senga, not having pitched in a week and not scheduled to pitch again until after the All-Star break, hung zeroes from the first through the sixth, masterfully mixing fastballs and forkballs. His only blemish came in the seventh, at the hands of graffiti vandal Christian Walker, who tagged Senga for a doubt-free solo homer. The bomb to left turned a scoreless duel to 1-0, as the Mets hadn’t done a thing to lefty Snake starter Tommy Henry nor his successors.

Walker’s shot was of the leadoff variety, so one could be forgiven for expecting Buck Showalter to appear from the visitors’ dugout to quickly remove Kodai, but no, he stuck with the guy who, except for that very long fly ball, was going untouched. Senga received the rest of the seventh and, despite Gott getting loose, all of the eighth. It was the right call, as the pitch count (107) was reasonable and the pitcher was marvelous: only three other hits besides the home run, only one walk and a dozen strikeouts. Supporting Senga with Met runs would have made it all worthwhile. Otherwise, you’re left trying to maintain alertness by searching your memory and Baseball-Reference for dispiriting precedent.

The bad news for Dillon Gee is he’s still the most recent example of a Met starter left in to complete a shutout that got away, for Kodai Senga got to trade in his nearly surefire CG L for a different, more rewarding result. It didn’t look like that would happen as the Mets batted to begin the top of the ninth against lefty closer Andrew Chafin. Starling Marte grounded out to second on Chafin’s third pitch. Jeff McNeil flied out on Chafin’s fourth pitch. All that stood in the way of the D’backs putting a win in their books (and Met offensive futility under our skin) was Francisco Alvarez.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Alvarez presents quite an obstacle to opposing pitchers’ goals and desires. In this Last Chance Cafe of a plate appearance, Francisco pulled up a chair and showed no inclination to vacate his table. He worked Chafin the way the veterans who preceded him didn’t. Alvy was patient, collecting three balls. Alvy was resourceful, fouling off a three-two pitch. Ultimately, Alvy was powerful, as the folks in Chase’s right field stands were privileged to observe up close. The home team fans might not have been particularly juiced, but 21-year-old Francisco leapt and twirled on his way to first as if he had just taken his nattering nabob of a neighbor from up the block over two sewers to win a stickball faceoff. The ball has come down. I’m not sure Alvarez has.

Senga was no longer in line for a loss. Neither were the Mets. The blast felt like it had rocketed June’s mopesters into another stratosphere. Far be it from a viewer now leaning forward on a distant couch to note that game was only tied. We’d probably need another run ASAP.

Francisco’s fellow Citi Kid, Brett Baty, singled, and Mark Canha, who can summon a youthful spirit at age 33, laced a ball deep into the right-center gap. Brett took off. So did Mark. Baseballologists identified the result of the sequence a go-ahead triple. You never know what you’ll come across in the desert as the clock rounds twelve.

David Robertson was handed the ball for the bottom of the ninth. The bottom of the eighth didn’t work out so well for Robbie this past Friday, when Patrick Bailey, somebody else’s catching wunderkind, took him too deep with too many on. But that was in a month when no Met not named Tommy Pham could do right. This is a new month. By the bottom of the ninth, in New York at least, it was a new day. After midnight, David was protecting his third lead of July. The first two Arizonans were retired with ease. The third was Christian Walker, the slugger who had the curious and drowsy looking up Dillon Gee and Freddie Freeman. The count Walker worked was the same full version Alvarez constructed versus Chafin. These Snakes were one swing away from whacking an otherwise pleasing storyline. These Snakes this year have been one of the best teams in the league. These Mets…not so much.

Robertson relied on his offspeed stuff and Walker flailed above it for strike three. The Mets, left for dead in the desert barely minutes before, had sprung ahead and stayed there, 2-1 winners. The home viewer cheering the resilience of the road-trippers noticed his yawn was now a yay, or no worse than a yaWWWWn, with four wins in a row serving to infuse adrenaline no matter that the clock marched on. A person whose ambition was simply to see the action from Chase Field to its conclusion was now free to chase Zs. But when you’re this excited by a Mets win, who can think about sleep?

First pitch tonight in Arizona is 9:40 PM ET again. A new episode of National League Town is available to help get you to the starting line.

10 comments to Midnight at the Oasis

  • Seth

    The important thing about home runs is the RUN, and that it counts for something. Ask Alvy. Therefore, there is no such thing as a Home Run Derby, as there are no runs, and no crossing home plate. It should be called the Hit The Softly Lobbed Ball A Long Way Derby, or canceled altogether. It’s a ridiculous waste of time.

    But this game was what makes the game of baseball beautiful and worth watching, with condolences to the AZ fans.

    • Guy K

      I can’t shake the notion that the Home Run Derby means more to Pete Alonso than the Mets getting back into contention. Perhaps that’s unfair, but a guy who uses an open mike to ambush his young fans with “F” bombs as a way of promoting his own brand loses my benefit of the doubt.
      I’ll bet Alonso’s batting average is about .175 since the night he “F”-bombed the open mike at Citi Field.

      • Seth

        Pete is the very embodiment of “dumb jock” — but in fairness he’s probably been such a star all his life that he had no need to develop his cognitive abilities.

  • stanley justin bielen

    I’m with you Greg.
    I dozed on the couch on and off but come the 8th inning, I was watching closely and very glad that I did.
    Senga was subarashi!
    Alvarez was sublime!
    And thank you thank you Canha!
    Hope that our boys can keep it rolling tonight :)

  • BlackCountryMet

    I was there! Truly fantastic. Crowd was a 50/50 split between Mets and DBacks. Bought a cheap ticket and sat just to the right of home plate, cos no usher checked tickets so why would you not? Nice park (was here in 2015) and friendly locals. I’m just taking every W as a plus,nothing bigger. Let’s get other tonight and onwards to San Diego

    • dmg

      how cool to be there! (i think you had to travel a long way for that one.)
      late in the game, it sounded like there were more mets than dbacks fans.

  • dmg

    didn’t think they’d get the win, even after the alvarez bomb. thought it would go to extras. so glad i was wrong. made staying up worthwhile.

    there was still a moment earlier that summed up one of this season’s baffling stories: in the fourth, in a scoreless game, after pham led off with a single and moved to second on lindor’s groundout, alonso popped out, starling marte was up.
    yet dbacks manager torey lovullo (a name i have never typed before) opted to intentionally walk marte.
    to get to jeff mcneil, the reigning mlb batting champ.
    bad move, i thought. don’t rile the squirrel. surely mcneil would channel his outrage at this insult and make the dbacks pay. it got even simpler when pham and marte completed a double steal.
    now runners were on 2d and third with 2 outs and a single would bring in 2, which would have been a commanding lead last night. mcneil was just the guy to get it done.

    nope, a weak-assed groundout to 2d.

    mcneil’s lost at the plate. i’d suggest sitting him down until he finds it.

  • Joe D

    Seth, regarding your HTSLBALW Derby, I’m in your camp 100%.

    All those years of Chris Berman yelling “Back-back-back-back!” on each and every of the 347 derby jacks has horribly shell-shocked me for life, even long after he was mercifully removed from the broadcast.

    And in the aftermath of his recent wrist injury, I sorta kinda hoped the struggling Alonso would take a pass and spare himself all those extra strenuous swings.