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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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Sometimes a Split Feels Fine

There ain’t much left to play for: A .500 season vanished from the realm of possibility with the afternoon’s listless defeat, and draft picks are too much of a crapshoot for me to take seriously.

But as is often the case, I think I’m moved on to acceptance. It was … kinda fun watching the Mets in the nightcap, whether the entertainment was Daniel Murphy and Lucas Duda going deep back to back, or Daisuke Matsuzaka earning the win in his second straight pretty good start, or Keith Hernandez not knowing what a mullet is. (Seriously, how has Keith Hernandez never heard this term?)

By the way, Keith described Duda’s home run as “off the snacks,” referring to the Wise sign out there in right-center. If it were April or May “off the snacks” would become a thing, with its own hashtag, t-shirts and the rest. Which suddenly makes me wish it were April or May.

Anyway, Murph’s an interesting case on a team full of them — he’s never going to be a stellar defensive second baseman, but he’s worked unbelievably hard to make himself an adequate one. He’s never going to be a great hitter and baserunner, but he’s an undeniably useful one. On a team full of problems and questions, he’s answer enough that the Mets ought to just move on from worrying about him and his position.

Matsuzaka, on the other hand … well, we’ve already been through enough that maybe we need a third hand. If the Mets had exiled Matsuzaka back to minor-league perdition after his first three awful starts, I don’t think there would have been a fan in blue and orange who would have had a cross word to say about the decision. But he stared down Cleveland and beat Miami, two teams that are good and good against us, respectively, and this last time out his fielders weren’t at risk at fossilization either. So who the heck knows? As currently constructed the Mets are going to need at least one more starter next spring, most likely two after Dr. Andrews sits down with Matt Harvey. Maybe one of them will be Matsuzaka. If you’d told me that two weeks ago I would have wailed and rent my garments, and maybe I’ll do the same if you tell me that two weeks from now, but right now it seems … like maybe not entirely such a completely and utterly awful idea?

That’s one of the things about baseball — sabermetrics, years of watching or both can give you a pretty good set of guesses, but you don’t actually know. Sometimes guys figure stuff out, or a new voice actually unlocks something in them, and you get different results. It’s madness to bank on such things, but it’s fun to hope.

Speaking of voices, the last couple of days has sure brought a lot of odd chatter to Metsland.

First off, there was today’s kerfuffle over whether David Wright should play again this year. This one has been baffled: Why the heck shouldn’t he? He’s got a hamstring strain, not a hangman’s fracture. If he should re-injure the hamstring, what? He walks around a little gingerly for the first couple of weeks of watching other teams in the playoffs? Wright, being Wright, gamely answered ridiculous questions about this, which I thought Gary Cohen did a good job dismissing: “It’s his job.”

One person Wright obviously didn’t discuss his injury with is Frank Francisco, which is best: After the Jenrry Mejia story my preference would be that no one ever talk to Frank Francisco again. Except maybe the trainer — in Game 1 Francisco took a Logan Morrison line drive off the thumb, and while I never, ever, ever cheer an injury, let’s just say I’ve seen mishaps that made me feel a lot sorrier. The thumb is reportedly bruised, so Frank Frank should only need to go on the 90-day DL until he’s feeling ready to contribute again.

Also, in case you missed it: Shut the fuck up, Shaun Marcum.

8 comments to Sometimes a Split Feels Fine

  • snurb55

    Jason; I ALWAYS enjoy readings from this sight, but I have to disagree with those who advocate that the Mets will “need to sign a pitcher or two” next season. Niese, Wheeler, Gee + a healthy Meijia & a promoted Montero is a good start for 2014. At worse, Montero would be a “Hefner”, but with more upside. Later in June, “Thor” would join the rotation. I know that you always could use arms, but we fans are sick of veteran retreads. I personally feel that a true shortstop is what we need, and another year of finding useful parts from within the present roster is the best that Sandy will do. I think it’ll be till AFTER the 2014 season; with Harvey returning, that batting reinforcements will be purchased.

    • Agree thoroughly with the anti-retread stance in theory, but between youth and health issues I think they’ll need at least one stopgap arm to take the pressure off Montero, Mejia, deGrom, etc. — someone who understands he’s a placeholder who’s out of a job by June, if not March 30 if one of the young arms is clearly ready out of ST. Like Shaun Marcum, in other words, except one hopes not horrible on the mound and on Twitter.

      If that’s an either/or case with improving the offense, well, we’re screwed and the Wilpons have moved the financial goalposts again. Which is, sadly, far from an impossible scenario.

  • Patrick O'Hern

    Last two paragraphs are gold,Jason.

  • 9th string catcher

    You cant think of pitching staffs as 5 starters a closer and 6 or 7 other guys. In your organization you need about 7 starters to get you through the season. An ace, a decent # 2 and another 4 or 5 guys ready to step up so that when you lose a Hefner or a Niese or a Marcom or a Johan you can keep up. He young arms coming up mod year are your ideal # 6 and #7 starters.

    The Mets were able to compete until they lost their ace. After that, game over. Of course, lack of offense meant they were no serious threat, but were most likely an 80 win team. To compete next year, they need a #1 to replace Harvey who replaced RA who replaced Johan, or suffer thru another 90 loss season.

    Having veterans on the back end are fine as part of the 7 starter concept. But they need an ace to make the other complementary pieces work. Since Harveys gone next year and won’t cost much when he comes back in ’15, i would get a proven #1 if possible and get Reyes back frpm Toronto. He’s probably lost a step but maybe Toronto could eat some of the salary. As it is now, without any significant infield outfield or catching offense and an off kilter pitching staff, we’re looking at sub. 500 again.

  • Dave

    9th – If only we could feel confident that Alderson is willing or otherwise has a green light to spend enough money to get a legit ace. I fear that he’ll continue to look for the types of FA’s who are euphemistically called “low risk, high reward,” which of course really means “he’s injured and he’s going to suck” (see Shaun “I know more than Ron Darling even though I was 1-10” Marcum).

    • 9th string catcher

      I hear you. I miss Doubleday – we lost Gooden he went out and got Viola. We lose Johan and we get Shawn Marcom. Ugh.

  • metsfaninparadise

    Re: Frankie Frank and DW and Marcum-my sentiments exactly. Re pitching: I agree with the idea that the Mets shouldn’t need to consider a Matsuzaka-type for ’14, but the odds are that one or more of their young candidates won’t make the staff, for one reason or another-poor performance, major injury, minor injury that’s just bad timing for them, loss of opportunity due to rainouts, what-have-you. It makes sense to sign an insurance policy. I would hope that a better veteran becomes available, though

  • open the gates

    “Low-risk, high-reward” – aka dumpster-diving – may not be the first option (or second, or third) of a winning team, but it does have its upside. I mean, imagine how awful this team would have been WITHOUT Marlon Byrd and LaTroy Hawkins. Omar Quintanilla had a better run (particularly in the field) than expected before crashing back to earth. And Dice-K’s last couple of outings were a nice suprise, despite being an admittedly ridiculously small sample size.

    I know, grasping at straws here. That’s what you do when your team just clinched its fifth straight losing season. (Sigh)