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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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Who Are You and What Have You Done With the Mets?

A couple of times in my life, I’ve witnessed someone forget to engage the parking brake while on a slight incline. (OK, once I was that person.) The car doesn’t move all that swiftly at first on its journey to where it’s not supposed to be, but its momentum builds steadily and pretty soon the slow-motion disaster has become inevitable, downgrading your status from potential hero to cringing bystander.

Saturday night’s Mets game was like that: the hitters stopped hitting and the nightly game of bullpen roulette ended like you feared it would. So Sunday night’s game in this same park against these same Pirates wearing these same odd green uniforms probably didn’t strike any of us as an ideal way to spend a holiday evening.

Between family commitments and a certain learned wariness, I got there a bit late, arriving to find Matt Harvey on the wrong side of a 1-0 deficit in the fourth. Not too bad, but this bunch has taught me a few things, such as the fourth inning coming before our starter tires and the hellmouth of the bullpen door yawns open to unleash its ghastly denizens upon the overconfident and inattentive.

But this night, decidedly un-Metsian things were to transpire.

Like Asdrubal Cabrera whacking a two-out double to turn that 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead, followed by a parade of innings featuring MORE RUNS. Three more in the fifth! One more in the sixth … that came after the Mets seemed bound and determined to short-circuit a scoring chance! One in the seventh thanks to a line-drive homer from Lucas Duda!

And that wasn’t all. In the fourth, Harvey was looking at second and third with one out — the kind of situation that has undone our defrocked superhero too often this year. This time, Harvey struck out Francisco Cervelli and Jordy Mercer with mid-90s fastballs to escape harm. An inning later, a two-out rally brought Gregory Polanco to the plate with a chance to cut Pittsburgh’s deficit to one. Harvey dropped a back-foot slider on the Pirates’ best player to hold the line. He only went six innings, but they were six effective innings in which he pitched with the closest thing we’ve seen to his old arsenal and, perhaps as importantly, looked like he trusted those pitches.

But could the Mets get nine outs before giving up six runs, exhausting the entire bullpen, or both? Never say never, at least not with this basket of destroyables.

But Paul Sewald — who’s steadily risen up the admittedly thin ranks from Oh Yeah That Guy to Just Possibly Not So Bad to Seems Pretty Reliable — turned in two decent innings, at which point Terry Collins turned to Neil Ramirez.

Ramirez hasn’t exactly buried us in evidence that he can get major-league hitters out. But a five-run lead in the ninth? This is your Montero Moment, Neil!

So Ramirez walked Mercer, struck out Saturday Night Massacre-er John Jaso, then walked Jose Osuna. That sent Jerry Blevins to the bullpen mound and hearts into the more-familiar lodgings of our throats. But Ramirez then retired not just the next hitter but the one after that. Yes, that really was Neil Ramirez leaving the mound to high-fives and attaboys, instead of departing because a frowning manager had decided it would be better for him to stop practicing his trade.

All these things happened. They happened in the same game. They led to a Mets win. I’m not sure exactly how that occurred, but replicating it 65 to 70 more times this year would be just fine with me.

9 comments to Who Are You and What Have You Done With the Mets?

  • Burbank Jake

    All that and Matz was perfect for five innings in rehab. And Lugo pitched solidly in rehab. Amazing Amazing Amazing!

  • LeClerc

    Harvey tossed six respectable innings. Sewald danced through raindrops (literally). Ramirez failed to load the bases and blow the game (a good thing).

    And I managed to sit through nine innings listening to Shulman, Mendoza, and Boone prattle on and on and on and…, (and on).

    • Eric

      When the games aren’t on SNY or PIX, there’s always Rose and Lewin on WOR, though Randazzo filled in for Rose last night.

      Harvey is coming back from a major surgery that other pitchers have not made it back from. Hopefully, this game is an indicator his old form is returning by bits and pieces.

    • Pete In Iowa

      Yeah. And all from the first row in right field. What, exactly, is the point of that??

    • JohnP FArrell

      Deadi right about the booth prattle. My solution to this torment had been to watch the espn tv broadcast while listening on my iPad to the radio version, but MLB app obviously decided to drop the audio. But a great game Made up for the absence of the great Mets announcers. Best in the business for my money

  • Matt in Richmond

    It remains to be seen if he’s truly turned the corner, but this was a super encouraging week for Mr. Harvey. Duda is looking as healthy as he has in a long time, blasting balls all over the yard and drawing tons of walks, Reyes is doing Reyes things like tripling and stealing bases, and Travis is back just in time to maintain some production from the catcher spot as Rivera’s inevitable slump begins. Matz and Lugo appear to be close….if the pitching can start to tighten up just a bit that should be enough to at least begin to right the ship while we wait for Yo to return.

  • Pete In Iowa

    Hasn’t Sewald shown himself to be better than the guy you send in from the pen for mop-up work in a 7-1 ballgame? Seems to me THAT should have been the spot for Ramirez. If so, could have run Smoker out there for the ninth and have Sewald for today.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    From my couch it didn’t look to me like Harvey had any more command of his pitches that he’s had in previous games. He did throw a few good pitches, but he always throws a few good pitches. Only difference was this time they were against the Pirates, and were at critical points in the game instead of with 2 outs in, say, the 2nd inning.

  • Left Coast Jerry

    Harvey wasn’t the Dark Knight yet, but I think he made it to Semi-opaque Squire.

    This bullpen has already proven that it can’t be trusted to hold a 6 run lead and get 9 outs, so I have no problem using Sewald to get 6 of the outs. I expect that he will soon take over the closer role.

    As bad as the ESPN trio are, they’re better than AJ Pierzynski.