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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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Lucky and/or Good

Some Mets fans find Matt Harvey too chilly and self-involved to embrace wholeheartedly. But maybe they’d feel more charitable if they considered Tuesday and Wednesday’s games together.

On Tuesday Harvey wasn’t great — the velocity was missing and the mechanics were uncertain, as they’ve been for three confounding months. But the Mets also did nothing to support him at the plate. Even on this blog it shouldn’t be all about us — Matt Wisler was really good, an early warning that the Braves will emerge from their teardown/flight to suburbia to threaten anew — but Harvey’s been through this before.

Late last June, Harvey pitched six innings and allowed just a single earned run against the Reds in a rain-suspended game. The Mets got the win the next day, but Harvey did not — and ESPN New York noted it was the 14th time in 51 career games that Harvey had allowed no more than one run in six innings or more but been denied a W. That was the worst such luck in the last century, but amazingly, Harvey’s luck actually got worse: he started 14 more games in 2015 and suffered that fate again in four of them. And that’s not even counting a five-inning start in which he held the Yankees to one hit and wound up with nothing but a pat on the back.

Run support? The Mets scored a skinny 2.3 runs a game for Harvey in 2012 and 3.65 a game for him in 2013, making him 64th in MLB in the latter season. In 2015 Harvey enjoyed the best run support of his career — 4.41 per game, good for 26th in MLB and second on the Mets behind inveterate whiner Jon Niese. But this year Harvey’s back down to 3.50 runs per game, tied for 73rd among starters.

Perhaps his oft-cited 27-22 career record is more forgivable now?

Steven Matz, on the other hand, knows about runs. He rather famously drove in four of them in his debut — the same debut that was delayed while the Mets finished up the suspended contest in which they’d given Harvey rather minimal help. That’s certainly one way to ensure decent run support, but Matz’s teammates have generally done their part. In 2015 the Mets scored 5.67 runs a game for their newly arrived hurler; this year they’ve upped that to 6.00, leaving Matz sharing the fifth-best such mark with … Jon Niese.

(Niese, by the way, has thanked his new teammates by posting a 5.94 ERA. I’m no whiz at sabermetrics, but I believe that’s statistical proof he’s a dick.)

Anyway, on Tuesday there was a whole lot of Matt Wisler, not enough of Matt Harvey and absolutely zero from the Mets. They looked chilled and frustrated, making Mets fan wonder if a matinee the next day was such a good idea. So of course Matz took the mound in a frigid drizzle and the Mets went out and clobbered Jhoulys Chacin like it was an August night, hitting a trio of two-run homers (Rene Rivera, driving in Wilmer Flores; Asdrubal Cabrera, bringing home Curtis Granderson; and Lucas Duda, piggybacking Yoenis Cespedes) and then following that with a Duda solo shot and a Flores run-scoring double. Eight runs in Matz’s column, which was eight more than Harvey got and a lot more than Matz needed. He allowed hits to Chacin and Erick Aybar, hit Freddie Freeman, and that was it. Every other Brave wound up walking back to the dugout in bafflement.

I don’t have a conclusion about any of this except that baseball is random and weird, sometimes in cruel ways. And hey, Matz probably feels like the baseball gods owe him a couple after forcing him to begin his pro career with two years of rehab. Matz might have become an answer to a trivia question, the local boy who was shot from the sky a second after launch; instead he’s traded that cruel beginning for a grandpa who’s become a meme, a share of pennant money and a bright future. And run support. That always helps too.

9 comments to Lucky and/or Good

  • eric1973

    Ok, folks, let’s take a little breaktime here to talk about old friend Lucas Duda.

    So far, 3 cold weeks, and 2 hot ones, kinda par for the course.

    This means it’s just about time to bid a fond farewell to Rip Van Duda for the next 6 weeks or so, as we look forward to his re-emergence on JUN14 at Citi vs. Pittsburgh.

    See you soon, my friend.

  • Laura Coover

    Yes, Harvey has been royally screwed by his teammates in terms of run support. He’s in great company. I think of it as the Seaver curse and it’s also how I know Matt is the Mets ace. I know he will figure it out and become a better pitcher for it. Just wish the rags would lay off him for once.

  • Matt in Richmond

    Eric1973 every player goes through hot and cold streaks. Bryce Harper just went something like 1-20 with double digit strikeouts. Duda fits in perfectly in the 5 hole in this lineup and is playing his usual exemplary defense. It’s beyond me why any Mets fan would take shots at him.

  • BobW

    Re: Niese. No matter how unlikable he is/was, Jason’s personal takedown of him has jumped the shark with that parenthetical cheap shot in my opinion. With as much respect as a four (soon to be five) number t shirt wearing guy can have, it’s beneath the quality and tone of the rest of his and Greg’s work.

  • Paul Schwartz

    Why is it a cheap shot? Jon Niese whined the entire time he was here, made a ton of money as the epitome of mediocre and drove the bus over his teammates as he lefttown.
    I think Jason was being kind.

  • Will in Central NJ

    With that 5.94 ERA for the Pirates, Mister Niese may have to tread a long road to get back to the celebratory clubhouse Slip-n-Slide, regardless of the team colors hanging in said clubhouse.

  • Eric

    Nationals did well against the Cardinals and Royals. Their series at Cubs is interesting. Murphy still raking.

  • skoonix

    Yeah, I feel for Harvey and in the last start after giving up THREE runs, if you read other Mets boards & forums, you’d think he had been shelled & lost 11-0. I know he’s not warm & cuddly & with Jacob, Noah & Matz showing he may be the 4th best pitcher, I still feel most fans & most of the media are really out for him. I feel if he ever got steady run support, he’d have 6 more wins to his lifetime record.

  • greensleeves

    Don’t know if it’s been said, but how sturdy and steady has Senor Cabrera been at shortstop? What a blessing he’s been with both glove and bat; a pleasure to watch on a daily basis.