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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 Dog That Didn't Bark

Lots of seasons don’t go quite the way you fantasize — your team’s undone by some combination of poor performances, bad decisions, ill health, lousy luck, or just by not being as good as the competition. By late spring you figure your October will be free; by summer you’re thinking about next season. Which is all OK — it’s just baseball, after all. For us, a bad harvest doesn’t mean famine or foreclosure, just needing to diversify our sources of entertainment.

So far, the 2017 Mets haven’t lost a spectacular number of games — once things normalize a bit, they’re probably some variation of a .500 team, which is only heart-rending compared with preseason rankings. What feels different this year is the way the Mets have lost those games. I know it’s the confirmation bias talking, but the 2017 Mets seem allergic to run-of-the-mill losses. Every single one seems to be a tragedy or a farce, leaving you with a ragged hole in the chest where your battered orange and blue heart used to beat. Lose 6-3 on a sleepy afternoon? No sir, not this squad. They’re going to load the bases with nobody out and still fail, or find a new reliever to melt down hideously, or gag on a game-ending double play.

Which made Saturday all the more extraordinary: with all the pieces arranged for disaster, the Mets walked away from the puzzle. The dog didn’t bark. No murderer came to the door. They actually won.

Perhaps it helped that they were playing the Pirates, a team having a similar season of perplexing disappointment. (Though in a far kinder division in terms of second chances.) Or that Neil Walker was playing the Pirates, whom he treats like a scorned ex hell-bent on showing you how wrong you were.

Robert Gsellman didn’t go deep enough to make us stop sighing about the shell-shocked bullpen, but he did pitch well enough to make us scrutinize the starting pitching and ask Whither Gsellman? without being ironic. (Seriously: Whither Gsellman?) Fernando Salas entered with a skinny lead and exited with that skinny lead intact. Jerry Blevins came in and did his usual masterful work (his strikeout of Josh Bell was pure and simple cruelty), even with his teammates providing their usual bout of sabotage.

And then Terry brought in Addison Reed an inning early.

At first I thought Terry had gone modern, reasoning the closer’s job was to dispatch the toughest hitters in the order when they arrived instead of automatically handling the final inning. But Terry doesn’t do modern, and I’d forgotten Andrew McCutchen‘s slide down in the Pirates’ order. No, Reed was going to get six outs or die trying.

Which Reed did, somehow. John Jaso didn’t ruin everything, as he has before. Nor did Gregory Polanco, David Freese or Bell. Reed walked off the mound with 36 pitches thrown and a victory secured, and the Mets had won a 4-2 game. If that sounds relatively ho-hum, well, 2017 will remind you otherwise soon enough.

7 comments to The Dog That Didn’t Bark

  • MetFanMac

    Dear Greg and/or Jason,

    I will be flying in to the US next week and plan on attending a game at Citi Field on Sunday, June 18th. I would love to meet you there in person after reading your blog for the past 12 years. Can this be arranged?


  • LeClerc

    Yes. Gsellman was gsood. And the bullpen better. A win is a win is a win is a win.

    For the second time in a week though – Cabrera muffed another easy third out – and again – put Blevins in a bind. This time Jerry prevailed without further damage – but burned up a bunch of unnecessary pitches.

    Also fortunate that Wilmer hit another home run. Thus stifling the irrational impulse to put the interstate travelling Reyes back starting at 3B.

  • Curt

    I haven’t accepted the idea that Gsellman should go to the bullpen instead of Lugo. And Cabrera’s recent troubles in the field should make a Rosario call-up an easier decision.

    OTOH, very impressed with Duda lately. Not just the hitting but the plate discipline. Wish Jay Bruce would take lessons.

  • 9th string catcher

    I’ll worry about a rotation spot for Gsellman after he gets through 6 innings. Worth looking at Lugo and Matz and see if either of them can do more than 5 themselves. The big difference is he can move in and out of the bullpen without too much difficulty – I don’t see anyone else on the staff being able to do so. Besides, only a matter of time before someone else gets hurt and we’ll see Gs back in the rotation anyway.

    Frankly, I’m wondering if Harvey is going to end up in the bullpen pretty soon. He’s good for about 3 innings at this point himself.

  • greensleeves

    In other news: Thanks so much for the link to the Frank Deford SI piece on Seaver. A really wonderful
    read and trip back in time!