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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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A 10-Minute Fix…and a Lot of Tune-Ups

Goodness does Victor Zambrano drive you insane. Man could he be good.

Most of the time it looks like he's internalized Dr. Peterson's lessons about pitching to contact and letting the natural movement on his pitches move the ball just up or down from the sweet spot of enemy bats. But then something goes wrong or he sees his shadow or some crazy thing and then Boom! Goodbye release point, goodbye lessons, time to nibble and walk guys and stand staring on the mound until the defense is lulled into a Trachselian torpor.

Truth be told, I'm not sure how he got out of the fifth. Well, I know how he got out of the fifth, of course — he made two singularly nasty pitches to Chase Utley. What I mean is I'm not sure how he managed to right himself and find those pitches. I feared Utley more than Thome or Burrell there — Utley's an awfully good young hitter who looks like he knew what he was doing, and instead of trying to hit the ball to Nassau would wait for an I-don't-want-to-walk-him fastball or ignore a buried-in-the-dirt change. And Zambrano had clearly lost his command and fallen out of synch with Piazza, who kept with the Peterson Plan despite being shook off like a “Bull Durham” outtake. Well, however he did it, good for Victor. And good for us.

And good for Willie for not sending Zambrano back out there, recent bullpen struggles aside. When we finally broke through and opened up a can of whoop-ass on Geoff Geary, it was bullpen tryout time, and only Danny Graves failed the pop quiz. And that's OK — he's still a project. For now.

Carlos hit a triple. Cameron turned in some very wise baserunning. David Wright hit well and (mostly) fielded well too — no offense to Daubach, but Minky would have saved that low throw. Reyes again started off the game with a terrific, extended at-bat and drew a walk. Mike hit an old-style Mike home run. Even Jose Offerman briefly made me put aside my wrath at his presence on the roster.

.500 again! Let's play two! Even if it is Ishii. (Heck, it worked last time.)

6 comments to A 10-Minute Fix…and a Lot of Tune-Ups

  • Anonymous

    In the post-game, Gary (Cohen, not Bennett) suggested Zambrano is the 2005, right-handed version of Leiter in terms of pitch count and getting out of jams.
    True enough. Except he's way younger and not forcing trades of top prospects for Victor Zambrano.

  • Anonymous

    Aw, c'mon, Jace. Cut the guy a break already. He's had one horror show (7ER), but other than that:
    I have no problem with this. None whatsoever. He's pitched way better than either his record or ERA would indicate, between the 7ER game and the lack of run support.
    34ER in 77IP. This pleases me greatly. Without the one horror show, he's looking pretty good from where I'm standing. I'll take it.

  • Anonymous

    Zambrano's got the potential to be very good. It's just that he often doesn't seem to realize it. I've never seen a pitcher who's as afraid of his own stuff. He keeps shying away from his best pitches, and shying away from the batters. Maybe Mike should try the Crash Davis school of catching, and punish Victor when he shakes him off: “He's gonna throw a slider — not really sure where it's going, probably in the dirt. Don't ask me why.”

  • Anonymous

    I'll still take it. 35 earned runs in 82 innings (stats above did not include last night's game)? A 3.84 ERA even WITH a 7-run game? Victor, honey, you can give me all the heart attacks you want with those numbers.
    We could do a whole lot worse than Victor Zambrano. At some point, we have to appreciate that and give the guy the love he's earned.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, we could do worse. (And probably will tonight with Ishii on the mound.) And I do appreciate and applaud Victor's progress. But he's not done, and he can and should do a lot better — he has to buy into the Peterson Plan consistently, instead of shaking Piazza off and falling back into pitching patterns that he's seen don't work. This is a mental thing now, and it's reached the point where it's in Victor's hands — Peterson has opened the door and Victor has one foot through it, so this is no time to hesitate on the threshhold. Besides, future heart attacks are likely to be fatal: Throwing more balls than strikes and only going five usually won't get you a “W,” and presents a bill to the bullpen that will come due in August or September.

  • Anonymous

    Before last night (where in 5 he gave up 1 run and had 7 Ks), the last time Zambrano went “only 5” was May 20th. Since then, he's gone 6, 8, 6, 7.2 and 6.
    I'll still definitely take it.