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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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The Breaks

You probably didn’t need this reminder, but here it is anyway: baseball will make you look dumb.

Like maybe in the afterglow of Thursday night’s thrilling comeback against the Nats (deliciously complete with hirsute heel Jayson Werth shooting his own team in the collective foot) you found yourself thinking that it was really too bad the Mets were hurtling towards the All-Star break. Why, hadn’t they just trounced the Cubs and taken a series from the Marlins and weren’t they obviously now on their way to shocking the Nats? Sure, it was only one game, but with the Mets hitting in bushels and frustrated Nats jefe Mike Rizzo screaming at umps anything seemed possible. Why, if Noah Syndergaard‘s Norse hammer of an arm could just get the forces of good past Stephen Strasburg….


Maybe the needle came off the record when Clint Robinson roped a Syndergaard pitch into the stands for a two-run homer. But unwelcome though that development was, it was only 2-0.

Maybe that cringeworthy sound came when Daniel Murphy did his nightly damage to our cause to make it 3-0. Or perhaps you got through that because after Thursday night what’s three runs between division rivals?

Except then you saw Yoenis Cespedes turn into Juan Lagares, followed in unhappily short order by the sight of everyone standing around Syndergaard. Fine, Noah repeated about half a dozen times, while Terry Collins peered up at him and conducted an agitated interrogation. Fine, Noah kept saying, though the look on his face had gone from annoyance to grudging acceptance. He was done, and the patter of applause that accompanied his exit sounded tentative and beseeching.

The Mets actually hung around, with Seth Lugo and Jerry Blevins doing heroic bullpen work and Asdrubal Cabrera simultaneously sparing us the indignity of a no-hitter and getting us on the board with a home run. Brandon Nimmo and Rene Rivera ground out long at-bats in the seventh, ensuring Strasburg’s exit, and Wilmer Flores greeted Shawn Kelley with a double in the eighth, followed by a Jose Reyes infield single that Murph surrounded and rolled over but couldn’t convert.

It was first and third with nobody out and Citi Field becoming a cauldron of sound. Except Curtis Granderson got sawed off by Oliver Perez and lifted a little pop to the infield, and behind him in the order was Lagares instead of Cespedes, with Blake Treinen brought into the game.

I can’t fault Reyes for not running with Lagares at the plate. He knew it was critically important to take second, and I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that there was a reason he didn’t try it. Perhaps it was the wet track, or bits of rust still on the wheels — having wondered just a couple of days ago if Reyes was really ready for big-league duty, I’m not now going to turn around and accuse him of being derelict in that duty.

Whatever the case, Reyes didn’t run and Lagares slapped a perfect double-play ball that effectively snuffed out the Mets’ hopes.

And on to the butcher’s bill of postgame diagnoses. Cespedes was felled by his balky quad, an injury he said would take four to five days to heal. Syndergaard’s malady was harder to diagnose. It wasn’t the elbow, as we’re always going to fear until the day it is, but something the Mets called “arm fatigue.” That sounded worrisomely vague, but after the game Syndergaard basically shrugged: he explained that he’d lost the life on his pitches, something he chalked up to an empty tank at the midpoint of his first full season.

And, of course, all this came after the news that Matt Harvey‘s season is over, a victim of impending surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome that will demand four months’ recovery time. Four months’ recovery time and the removal of a rib, which is something I can’t really get past. We’ve become blase about Tommy John surgery, which is a mistake, but from what I’ve read this is a riskier undertaking, with a much lower success rate.

So if you’re keeping track at home, over twelve hours or so the Mets lost a) last year’s ace; b) their best hitter; c) a chance to see two All-Stars in blue and orange; d) whatever fragile confidence you’d built up in Syndergaard’s health; and oh yeah e) a game in the standings.

With two more yet to play against the Nats.

You know what? We’ve changed our minds. Everybody’s tired, so perhaps the All-Star break could come two days early.

Speaking of breaks, I’m off to England for 10 days. Be nice to Mr. Prince and get some wins, willya?

35 comments to The Breaks

  • Eduardo

    Man when grandy worked the count to 3-1 I thought we could steal a game but he swung at ball 4 and of course grandy can’t hit righties and perfect dp ball.

  • skoonix

    Frustrating loss on so many levels. And to lose Thor AND Cepedes – well YIKES! I’m a fan of Lagares and he was hitting very well until he injured his thumb and now that he’s back from the DL, he doesn’t seem the same at the plate. Hand injuries can really zap a hitter and Im worried maybe Juan needs the surgery now as opposed to later. Yes, yes, every team has injuries but it is looking bad right now for the frail Mets!

    • Seth

      Don’t forget, Cespedes was acquired last year because Lagares just wasn’t cutting it. I’m not sure what’s reasonable to expect from Juan. Good things started happening last year when he went on the bench.

      • skoonix

        Yes but do not forget he hit over .340 in the postseason & his steal of third was a turning point in one of the close playoff games. He was out of shape and played hurt last year. But he was doing a great job off the bench this year until the thumb injury – which he got making a terrific diving play that saved 2 runs

  • Matt in Richmond

    I can’t remember ever longing more for the break than I am this year. Hopefully we can take at least one of these last 2, but even if we don’t, the boys have done a great job positioning for a 2nd half run. Now we pray to whatever we believe in for these latest injuries to be minor and that in the 2nd half TC can spend more time talking about baseball than fielding medical questions.

  • Dave

    And no doubt the injury to Yo will leave him in that position of suspended animation between being able to play and going on the DL, thereby forcing the Mets to play the rest of this series with 24 players. It’s been a roller coaster season already. And yesterday was the part of the roller coaster where you plunge downward and are convinced that there isn’t enough clearance and you’re going to be decapitated.

  • Kevin from Flushing

    Have fun in England! I recommend The Worlds End in Camden for a pint

  • Ken K. in NJ

    Here we go again with the Mets sequence of events:

    1. It’s nothing.
    2. It’s day-to-day.
    3. “precautionary” X rays.
    4. 15 day DL, primarily to rest him.
    5. 2nd or 3rd opinion.
    6. Season ending surgery.

    BTW, it’s been bugging me who Brandon Nimmo looks like, at least with his hat or helmet on. Now I got it. Barry Pepper as Roger Maris in 61*

    • Steve D

      I have been closely watching baseball, not just the Mets, for 45 years. I have heard about “dead-arm” phases, usually near the end of spring training. I am at a loss for hearing that a guy throwing high 90s suddenly goes dead arm in the middle of a game and has no pain or other symptoms. I will await more info, but am expecting Ken’s scenario.

      If Syndegaard has some career affecting injury, yesterday could turn out to be the 3rd worst day in Mets history as it relates to the future of the franchise. Gil Hodges death was the worst…then Seaver getting traded, then yesterday. Because 40% of our young stud rotation might never be the same. Kind of jeopardizes the next 5 years.

    • Lenny65

      It’s ridiculous. He’s either injured or he isn’t, this start-to-start never-ending anxiety train they’re on is annoying beyond words. “Oh, don’t worry, it’s nothing, his arm just suddenly went dead for no reason. We’ll throw him back out there after the break and see what happens”. Huh?

  • Mikey

    This sucks. I dont see how these nats dont score 10 runs against logan so we can only hope for a split

    And does it seem to anyone else that home plate umpiring has been awful?

    • skoonix

      All season long the home plate calling has been terrible! And I watch other games as well – it is SO inconsistent. That’s what drives the hitters crazy – if you call it high, fine then call it high the rest of the game, bub!

  • Steve D

    Since surviving as a Met fan for me almost always involves living in the past, today marks the day the Mets were no longer a laughingstock…July 9, 1969. My late mom once told me I was there, but I was too young to remember…but I do remember sitting on some concrete steps at night, clapping when everyone else did, which was a lot. So in my mind, I was there. Thanks, Mom!

    • Dennis

      Nice! No need to downplay the lack of memory……you were there! My late grandfather was at that game as well. I was only 7 at the time and I remember him talking about it. I credit him for having me become a Mets fan.

    • You’re both ahead of me — I have pictures of myself smiling in the vague direction of a TV in 1969 (I was five months old when they won the World Series), but my first real Mets memories are from ’73 or ’74. Good stuff.

    • Pete In Iowa

      So great that you brought that up Steve.
      I vividly remember sitting in my spot in my parents house on the living room floor at age 10 watching that game (on the B&W of course). What despair when Qualls got the hit. But we went on to bigger and better things.
      Now 45 years later, after countless moves and ending up in Iowa, where I’ve spent most of my adulthood, still watching and rooting in MY chair in MY living room. Heading to Chicago next week for the entire Cubs series. What a great anniversary gift from my wife. Can’t wait.
      Some things never change!
      Thanks again Steve!!

  • sturock

    Why is Jose Reyes playing for the Mets if he can’t run, can’t hit, can’t steal a base, if every ball hit to him is an adventure? Shouldn’t he be dusting off the rust at Binghamton or Las Vegas?

    Wilmer Flores needs to be starting every day. They need to find out what he can do– even if it’s only to pump up his trade value.

    I sure hope Noah’s okay…

    • Stephen Kairys

      Yeah, INEXCUSABLE for Reyes not to be running from first on the ground ball that ended up as a double play in the 8th. Totally deflated any momentum the Mets had at that point.

      Agreed on Wilmer. If ownership is mandating he play – and I wouldn’t put it past “Little Jeffie”, Terry must stand up to him and tell him who’s the field manager.

  • eric1973

    Between last year and this year, Flores has earned a fair shot, and right now. He is not getting it.

    He is healthy, and he is ready to prove himself.

    Come on, TC. Do the right thing. No more BS.

    I’ll settle for a split, and then get out of Dodge.

  • Lenny65

    I agree with the consensus re: Wilmer. IMO the time is now, let’s see who and what he’s going to be for the Mets going forward. Let Reyes be the sub, I want to see what Flores can do, he’s been in that weird limbo state for long enough already.

    And while I try to refrain from “hot takes” as much as possible, it’s also time to get to the bottom of whatever is going on with Matz and Noah. Was he just gassed last night? When they say “dead arm” do they mean he was just tired or do they mean something else? You can’t go through the rest of the season wondering if their next start (or pitch) might be the last one, it’s ridiculous already. I mean they’re either injured or they’re not, right? The constant tension and anxiety is no fun whatsoever. I want to get to October as much as any Mets fan does but I really don’t want to see them sacrifice the future to get there. If his arm is “dead” in early July what will happen if they do get to the postseason?

  • Matt M

    Going to be glad when Grandy is gone. He seems like a great person, but the all or nothing approach grinds on a fan after a while. And of course he’s been miscast as a leadoff hitter as well.

  • Matt M

    We all knew Reyes was never going to be a utility guy. He’s going to steal Flores’ playing time, without a doubt.

    If it were me, I would just bench Loney and put Flores at first base. Then you can play all four of Reyes, Cabrera, Walker and Flores.

    • Dennis

      I wouldn’t bench Loney at all. Hitting .280 and a good glove at 1st. My opinion is that Reyes needs to earn his starting time.

  • eric1973

    Agree with Dennis. Loney is a consistent pro in the field and at the plate, and also, he’s playing his natural position, which has lately been in short supply around here. Reyes should be odd man out right now.

    With Ces out, would love to see Nimmo in there the next two days. He has great poise, and is not overmatched at the plate, like raw rookies have a tendency to be.

  • Luis

    Reyes is NOT a good baserunner- he was fast, but never a good baserunner. Now with his speed slightly above avg, he has a hard time stealing bases. His eye at the plate has never been great either, nor can he really bunt for a hit. Minimal power ( yes I saw his HR, I also have seen him swing at numerous balls out of the strike zone which will catch up to him) so why is he playing ahead of Flores- If it is a platoon situation I can see it, but with Reyes being a Switch hitter, TC will not be able to over look that so Flores will only get to play 1st….I would rather have Reynolds or Dilson than Reyes- younger, hungrier and no baggage.

  • Matt in Richmond

    Flores has been on the hottest streak of his career the past week or so, and it’s natural to overreact to such things. He was hitting in the .230s with 3 homers a week ago, with ample playing time. I’m not saying that to bash him, as I’ve long been a fan of his offensive potential, but just as a reality check. He will still get plenty of abs. He can start at first against lefties, give AC & Neil occasional days off, and if Reyes doesn’t pan out he may well get the full time 3b job down the road.

    In the meantime, even a diminished Jose is a huge upgrade athletically and probably in OBP. Grandy looks reinvigorated in the 2 hole, and depth is a good problem to have. I guess what I’m getting at is, as interesting a discussion topic as this may be, it is not going to be a determining factor in how our season goes. There’s plenty of ABs to go around and it’ll work itself out. What we really need is a nice long stretch with no significant injuries.

  • eric1973

    Actually, if we use a large sample size, Flores had a really good year last year, it being basically his first or second season. He is on the upside of his career, at 24. Reyes is on the downside, and is a downgrade from Flores.

    Regarding Grandy, he has had a putrid 3 years here, and there is no way to sugarcoat it. Very disappointing performance overall. If we were to grade him on a ‘pass/fail’ basis, it is clearly a ‘fail.’

    • Dennis

      Have to disagree with Granderson in 2015 being “putrid”.

    • Matt in Richmond

      Yeah. Way off base on Grandy. Anyone expecting him to hit .300 would be mistaken, that’s never been the kind of player he is. What he is, is above average OBP above average power and above average batting eye. That’s without even getting into his intangibles which are plentiful. He has been a major plus for us ever since arriving.

      Wilmer, in his “really good year” last year hit .260 with and OPS of .700 in over 500 plate appearances. Not bad, and certainly for someone his age a sign of more upside potential. However, if you compare his numbers with Reyes, even in a down year, Jose will have him beat in every category except homers. Or for another comparison, I will use the guy you trash every chance you get. That OPS of .700 in Wilmer’s really good year would be Lucas in his worst year ever.

      But none of that has much to do with the point I was making. I am saying that it is more than reasonable for the Mets to play Reyes most of the time at 3rd and still get Flores his ABs. There are multiple things to consider…one being the lineup construction. If you put Reyes on the bench that means Grandy goes back to the leadoff spot and I would like to get a longer look at the Reyes/Grandy/Cespedes 1-2-3 punch. Wilmer will get his opportunities, but it is nonsense to say he has clear cut rights to the full time job over Jose at this point. If he earns it in the next few months no one will be happier than me. For right now, we have depth and we should utilize it. Plenty of ABs to go around.

  • eric1973

    Pass or fail on all his time here?

  • Matt in Richmond

    Granderson 2015 .821 OPS 98 runs scored 26 HRs. Calling that putrid is like calling Scarlett Johanssen sorta cute.

  • david griffey

    I dont know if the Mets brass will ever read this but I would like to state my opinion and its far different from the past few years…please,please .please don’t make any stupid deals.This is a very good team who has been bitten by the injury bug and had plain old bad luck. !e have good players that have a chance to win for a long time dont mess it up.I think back a long time ago and really believe in my heart that the beginning of the end of the great eighties team was the Lenny Dykstra ,Roger McDowell trade for Juan Samuel. I would have felt the same way about sending Wilmer and company for Carlos Gomez.Lets not do anything crazy get Comforto back up and play him everyday …rest up our pitchers using Montero and others in spot starts.Let Jose complete his audition at third base and give Zac a chance to come back and prove himself .Maybe we come back this year or maybe not but please don’t gamble this very good team for a shot at winning just this year .The Cespedes deal was enough …continue to build from within