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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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Lost Angeles

In case you didn’t stay up Thursday night, the Mets stayed down again in Los Angeles. They lost all four games they played there this week. They lost in such numbing fashion that when they appeared on the verge of losing in a fairly professional manner, it felt like victory. Then the professionalism seeped away in the seventh when, after Steven Matz had given them six fairly solid innings in service to a 3-3 tie, two of the better-reputationed members of the Mets bullpen turned the whole thing to mush.

Paul Sewald gave up the fifteenth Dodger home run of the series (a Brooklyn/L.A. record) on his first pitch, one whacked 433 feet to right by Joc Pederson, putting the home team ahead to stay. Logan Forsythe followed with a sharp single to center. Chris Taylor walked. Sewald in my mind had morphed into Dale Murray, the master of disaster from the 1979 Mets pen. I suppose Sewald could have been any dispenser of hits and walks you have blowing up an ERA in the recesses of your subconscious, but to me he was Murray. Maybe it was the oft-repeated cue that the Mets were on their way to being swept four by the Dodgers for the first time since 1979. Maybe it was that Dale Murray was terrible and so, at least on Thursday, was Paul Sewald.

With Justin Turner coming to bat, you braced for the worst. I did, I know, and I’d assume any Mets fan awake would. Turner’s slugging percentage against the Mets since joining the Dodgers is astronomical. Neil deGrasse Tyson is in awe of it. Somehow, Turner did not put the game away, as Sewald flied him to left instead of the moon. Exit Paul, enter Jerry. Jerry Blevins has been the Mets’ most consistent reliever all year. He was consistently used for two-and-a-half months. deployed practically every day. Lately he hasn’t been in evidence. Blevins is usually reserved for tight spots. The Mets had been loose in their losing all week until Thursday.

The assignment for Blevins was Cody Bellinger, the first baseman who isn’t on the All-Star ballot but should probably start, based on the numbers he’s generated all season against everybody, not just all week against the Mets. I was tempted to write in Bellinger when I decided to cast a token vote, but I don’t have nearly that much integrity to go out of my way to boost the electoral chances of somebody growing greater at my team’s expense. (I did, however, have enough integrity to resist clicking on behalf of almost every Met listed; I’m loyal, but I’m not undiscerning.) With anybody but Blevins in there, you’d assume it was about to be 7-3. I think Bellinger assumed it was about to be 7-3 — or should have been about to be 7-3 — when he made contact with Blevins’s second pitch, an offering that hung delectably in his happy zone. Bellinger just missed sending in into orbit and he knew it, spiking his bat in disgust that he let Blevins off the hook with a mere fly to right.

That meant two were still on, but two were out, and now all Jerry had to do was take care of Kiké Hernandez. Except Jerry walked Kiké to load the bases. Unfortunate, but probably no harm, no foul, because Dave Roberts opted to not pinch-hit for his next batter, reliever Pedro Baez. What’s the worst a reliever who’d batted one time previously in a four-year career could do against an accomplished veteran like Blevins?

From a Met perspective, standing and taking four pitches, every last one of them balls. Jerry Blevins walked Pedro Baez to force in the fifth Los Angeles run. Then Blevins walked the next batter, Austin Barnes, not a relief pitcher, to make it 6-3. It was the ninth walk Mets pitchers allowed, eight of them unintentional. For those who are fans of silver linings, a couple of strikes were involved in walk to Barnes.

Blevins gave way to Salas, who was tasked with facing aesthetic villain Yasiel Puig. I assumed the worst, but no, postmodern Fernandomania prevailed at Dodger Stadium, and the Mets stayed just close enough to allow you to hallucinate they could come back. I must’ve been getting very sleepy, because I thought I saw the Mets load the bases in the eighth for Michael Conforto. I know I was awake, however, because I definitely did see Conforto foul out on the very first pitch he saw. By then, Kenley Jansen was in the game, reminding me that when Terry Collins managed the NL All-Stars last summer, he eschewed the chance to use his own man, Jeurys Familia, in favor of Jansen, which meant the only National League team that didn’t have a player participate in the All-Star Game was the team whose manager was running the show.

Collins won’t be managing the All-Stars this July and under no fathomable circumstances will he be managing the All-Stars next July. What he’ll be doing by April of 2018, let alone early October of 2017, is a matter ripe for speculation. As this game ground on toward its inevitable 6-3 final, I thought back to another West Coast swing, from 1983. George Bamberger was the Mets’ manager when it began. He wasn’t when it ended. Bambi wanted out and resigned while in Los Angeles, explaining, “I probably suffered enough.” George quit when the Mets were 16-30. Since the last time Terry Collins had the chance to use Jeurys Familia in a game that counted, the Mets are 15-25. He gives no impression that he’d ever quit, but I wouldn’t rule out suffering getting the best of him.

“That’s one thing we have never done here in years,” Collins said after the Mets’ fourth consecutive loss to the same opponent, “We don’t walk guys and we don’t give up a lot of home runs. And right now, we’re doing both.” That’s as close to a cry for help as Terry will emit. The rest of us are letting out yawns. It’s not that we don’t care. It’s that we can only stay up for so much of this.

19 comments to Lost Angeles

  • Jacobs27

    This may be a lost season, and the suffering has certainly been enough. But I’m starting to worry more generally about what’s happening to baseball. Is there any hope that this trend toward home run derby every night can be reversed? It’s lame.

    • Gil

      I couldn’t agree more. It’s all about power now in every aspect of the game – conditioning, pitching, and hitting. Exit velocity, launch angle, power zones. A buddy of mine was telling me his 14-year-old son was just part of a little league pre-babe ruth ‘assessment’ where the coaches were measuring exit velocity of the kids hitting off a tee. Good Grief.

      I read that Cabby will now be going to 2 (maybe), and Reyes will play SS. What will happen to TJ? How about the two kids in Vegas? I guess the Mets can’t throw the towel in this early, but they have two aging pros who will not be in a Mets uni next year taking reps away from kids who could use the experience and might be part of a better, more youthful 2018 squad. But what do I know, apparently Jay Bruce told the press they need to make their playoff push now.

      I’m heading to Citi tomorrow to see the dead & co. I’m hoping for an “I need a miracle” opener.

      • Seth

        Y’know, I think it will be more like “Loser.” :-)

        • Gil

          HA! That was tremendous, and sadly true. Maybe an “It hurts me, too” in the second set.

        • mikeL

          Or perhaps ‘it’s all over now baby (orange and) blue’ will make the set…

          Yes baseball has become very dull, all the more when pumped through the mets multiplier effect.

          Cabrera will come back banged up and lame. Reyes at ss not much more inspiring. So much for stregth up
          the middle…

  • Left Coast Jerry

    I’m sitting in the airport in Southern California, heading to the Bay Area where I’ll be joining my son and granddaughter for tonight’s game. I’m reminded of another disastrous trip the Mets made to the West Coast in 1996 which culminated with Bobby Valentine replacing Dallas Green when the team got back home.

    I’m not saying that it’s Terry’s fault that Blevins was awful last night, but maybe it’s time to shake things up, and you can’t fire the players.

    But, with this season squarely in the toilet, let’s see who the Mets can move in July to make room for Rosario and Smith.

  • GroteFan

    Well, since you bring up the manager. Only in Metsie land is there no accountability.
    Pitching Coach (although not a big fan of firing coaches/don’t think they contribute much)
    Training Staff
    Still trying to figure out how we got here…

  • Joe Nunz

    “The blog for loyal, but not undiscerning, Met fans who like to read.”

    I like it.

  • eric1973

    OMG. I have not thought about Dale Murray SINCE 1979. Things ARE that bad.

    In this enlightened era, shouldn’t Kike Hernandez have to change his name?

    Going to see ‘The Dead?’ Big deal. We all see them every night.

  • Guy Kipp

    “Sewald in my mind had morphed into Dale Murray, the master of disaster from the 1979 Mets pen.”

    2017 itself has morphed into 1979.

  • LeClerc

    Bad Omen: Curtis leads off game with Home Run.

    Prophecy Proven: Blevins walks Baez (four pitches).

    I refer, of course, to Pedro Baez – but Blevins would have walked Joan Baez last night.

  • Curt

    Only one team in baseball has been more disappointing than the Mets this season. We play them tonight.

    What’s the polar opposite of that line about the irresistable force meeting the immovable object?

    This could be fun in a “this is truly bad baseball” sort of way – and I can sleep in tomorrow so I may even watch the whole thing.

  • JerseyJack

    OT- just noticed that Rockies signed a ss named Bret Boswell. WOnder if he’s related to Ken ??

  • Matt in Richmond

    I join several of you in my concern for what’s happening to baseball. I’d been thinking of that classic old “Home Run Derby” show with Mark Scott before Keith and Gary brought it up last night. It seems like that’s what we’ve got now. Virtually every single hitter is going up there looking to go long. Either that or strike out or walk. The problem with that is that it eliminates basically every single other aspect of baseball; defense, strategy, base running, situational plays etc. And it’s frankly quite boring. Theres nothing wrong with having one or two guys in the lineup with that approach, but lately it seems like it’s pretty much the whole lineup for most teams. Kudos to the Dodgers for breaking their record, but man, some of those homers were pretty weakly hit. Awkward swings going to the opposite field that to my eye looked like they should be routine fly outs. Something smells funny.

    On a separate note; watching an overly rested Blevins be as wild as a March hare last night should be a reminder as to why high leverage relievers have to sometimes be used in low leverage situations….to avoid that kind of rust. Something to keep in mind next time TC goes to the closer in a non save situation.

  • Pete the Midnight Golfer

    The fish rots from the head down. Fred Wilpon = Big Fish