- Faith and Fear in Flushing - https://www.faithandfearinflushing.com -

Dreaming Is Free

Even Mets fans get to have good days.

Honestly, Saturday’s doubleheader with the Braves was about as stress-free as a day dealing with the confounding, confounded 2017 Mets has been. You got drama in both games, with Robert Gsellman [1] and then Steven Matz [2] pitching marvelously but being largely matched by Atlanta competition. But then the drama went away — in the matinee [3] it was Yoenis Cespedes [4] making like Kanye, while the nightcap saw Jay Bruce [5] ride to the rescue, with T.J. Rivera [6] and Juan Lagares [7] adding on to keep any Brave scoundrels [8] at bay.

Heck, Steve Gelbs even let us know what was up with The Freeze.

The second game [9] was accounted for in a crisp 2:41, which for modern baseball is like someone pushed the fast-forward button. Credit the pitchers: to go by his jumbo ERA, Matt Wisler [10] only reserves his A game for starts against the Mets, but we’ve seen plenty of them. He used his big curveball to great effect until the fifth, when one of those big curves came up medium and sat obligingly on the plus part of Jay Bruce’s bat, vanishing into those weird office-cube-looking seats out in right field. Karma alert: it was a pretty good reproduction of the home run Bruce struck here more than a month ago, the one that winked out of existence when a driving rain turned an unofficial game into nothing.

Matz claimed he didn’t have his best stuff, but it looked pretty good to me — he was around the plate, aggressive, and let his defense do the work, which isn’t necessarily a wise strategy with this group but was effective for a day. Gary Cohen and Ron Darling [11] — who have evolved into a terrific duo, by the way — noted that Matz has scrapped his slider, which he felt put a lot of strain on his arm. That was part of a discussion of pitching with pain, something that’s been a source of friction between Mets and Matz; it also struck me that Matz may be one of those brainy pitchers who’s better with fewer choices, something Darling would know about. With his fastball, curve and change-up Matz has plenty to get big-league hitters out, so if a slider puts undue strain on what’s proven to be a somewhat fragile arm, why bother with it?

Cespedes returned in the first game, though — where I have heard this before? — he’s still not running 100 precent. Matz made his 2017 debut a couple of hours later, and it was far more than we could have asked for. Seth Lugo [12] returns later today. Zack Wheeler [13]‘s been terrific of late; Matt Harvey [14]‘s been pretty good; Jacob deGrom [15] has enough of a track record that one can hope he’ll turn back into Jacob deGrom. No one can pull Noah Syndergaard [16] out of a hat quite yet, but patience is a virtue, young Mets fans. Meanwhile Wilmer Flores [17] is hitting everything in sight, Michael Conforto [18] keeps finding walks even while hits prove elusive, and Bruce is quietly putting together a very good year.

Record-scratch time: All that still adds up to six games below .500 with the division and wild cards both steep and perilous climbs above us. The bullpen and defense remain execrable, Terry Collins [19] keeps making bizarre decisions or not making obvious ones, and players who no longer merit it keep getting playing time. T.J. Rivera’s reward for his pinch-hit homer was to be sent down, with Jose Reyes [20] and his no-that’s-not-a-typo .257 OBP inexplicably remaining on the roster.

But for a day that’s the caveat and not the headline. If didn’t let yourself dream a little after eight hours of consistently good news, live a little, willya? The Mets won, nothing bad happened, and dreaming is free.