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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 Baseball Gods Say 'No'

Some things you have might have missed in Sunday’s oft-snoozy, quietly weird, ultimately dispiriting loss to the Phillies:

  1. Rafael Montero wasn’t that bad. Yes, the wheels fell off in the second inning for Montero, who has a history of winding up standing forlornly by the side of the road waiting for a wrecker. But Montero was undone primarily by his defense — not in an obvious, what-the-hell-was-that way but in a quieter, that-play-would-have-been-nice-t0-see-made way. For example, you can’t get on Brandon Nimmo for not running down Maikel Franco‘s double that brought in the first two Phillie runs — the ball was off the wall in left-center, and Nimmo belongs in a corner outfield spot. Still, the ball was in the air for a long time, long enough for a better defender to reach. The third run came in on a ball essentially through Asdrubal Cabrera — forgivable since the infield was playing in, but still a play not made. And the fourth run came in on a farcical two-base wild pitch that Rene Rivera simply couldn’t find, a catcher’s nightmare that was a dream come true for surprisingly speedy fellow backstop Andrew Knapp. It sounds like damning with faint praise, but that inning aside Montero was pretty good — aggressive and efficient where he’s often failed to be either.
  2. It’s piling on, but the other three runs were also the product of poor defense: Chasen Bradford went to sleep and failed to cover first on an infield roller and Jose Reyes looked immobile on a ball up the middle. Blecchs all around.
  3. Meanwhile — stop me if you’ve heard this one before — youngster Nick Pivetta rebounded from a terrible start to stymie the Mets, riding a mid-90s fastball and mixing in a sharp slider to keep them off-balance except for a line-drive homer from T.J. Rivera. But he tired in the seventh, walking Jay Bruce to lead off the inning and facing Lucas Duda. The Phils’ bullpen wasn’t ready, and if ever you had a good feeling about being down three runs with one hit on your ledger, it was now. Duda popped a ball up to short center that had trouble written all over it — and, indeed, it popped out of Aaron Altherr‘s glove. Except it then hit Altherr in the shoulder, rolled obligingly down his arm and plopped into his glove behind his back for a crusher of a double play. Sometimes the baseball gods aren’t subtle in signaling that it’s not going to be your day.
  4. Another oddity: the Mets and Phils inflicted a double challenge on their fans. The Phils challenged an apparent 6-4-3 double play, contending that Franco was safe at first. The Mets waited around for the umps to agree, then argued that Nick Williams had roll-blocked Cabrera on the pivot, which should restore the double play. They didn’t win either challenge. Oh the majesty of replay!

You can’t win ’em all, as a philosopher once said. Sometimes that conclusion emerges from an agonizing reversal, a horrific mischance or something unforeseen. And other times everything warns you that’s what the verdict will be.

10 comments to The Baseball Gods Say ‘No’

  • LeClerc

    You know it’s a bad day when Neil Ramirez is good.

  • Curt

    Disappointing but not surprising. Would’ve been nice to go into DC riding a 5-game win streak but I guess 7 of 9 will have to do.

    Was it against the Phillies where TDA barehanded a would-be wild pitch out of the air and started a rundown? I seem to think it was in which case I’ll accept the pop fly non-drop as the baseball Gods reminding us that it all evens out.

    Two positives from the pitching staff. Montero had a bad inning – then he did something I haven’t seen from him before. He kept his composure and managed the game like a quality major league pitcher who’d had a bad inning. He didn’t get scared to throw strikes after giving up 4 and just kept working. I think it was his best start of the season, even better than the SF win as to me it’s the first real sign that he might end up being something after all. He competed.

    Neil Ramirez left a game with the team in no worse shape than when he entered. I hope this will just provide him with a portfolio for a film session with his next prospective employer but he even looked like he belonged in the majors.

    The rest was a “meh” sort of loss. The fielding was semi-sloppy but we weren’t getting any hits so we weren’t winning anyway. Other than Bradford the pitching was OK and his harm was self-inflicted. The baserunning was – oh, who am I kidding, nobody was on base. And Rivera (Rene) had the worst defensive day I’ve seen from him but it was in a game we weren’t winning anyway so maybe he has that out of the way.

    Just wish Cespedes & Bruce were hitting going into DC. The pitching matchups line up pretty well for us. Now we get to find out if we’re contenders or pretenders. It’s nice to beat up on some of the worst teams in baseball, how will things work with someone good?

    • Eric

      That Montero pitched well enough for a MLB 4th or 5th starter is a good sign. The Mets need it.

      Maybe Cespedes and Bruce are saving their hits for the Nationals. I’ll chalk up the loss to the day game after night game and the team looking ahead to tomorrow night. But they need clean up the sloppy stuff. The series could be the start of a fun 2nd half, or the start of another drop off a cliff.

  • 9th string catcher

    Mets passing the resiliency test – the LA torpedoing turned into a .500 road trip and three series wins in a row. Now it’s the starting pitching test: can the rotation learn from the 1st half of the season and limit the number of pitches thrown against good teams? Can they hold the Cards and Nats at bay? IOW, are the pitchers for real? If deGrom, Matz and Lugo can keep doing what they’ve started to do and Wheeler and Montero can give you 5-6 good innings per start (a big if), there is enough pitching for a run. If Matz and Lugo turn back into pumpkins and Wheeler and Montero can’t be consistent, it’s fire sale time. The next two series should tell us a lot.

    • Eric

      Right. The recent signs say the Mets aren’t a bad team anymore, even though they’re still a sloppy team. But are they good enough now to make a real contending run in the 2nd half? We’ll find out. Good enough or not, at minimum, the Mets need to claw back to .500 with enough games left to chase. The next 2 series can answer both questions.

      The injuries continue. Granderson got hot like 2015 just as the Mets lost Conforto, except now Granderson is hurting.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    What’d you guys do to Granderson?

  • Daniel Hall

    Sunday afternoon games are almost invariably garbage games from the Mets’ point of view in 2017… which is bad when they are often the only ones you can reliably catch -.-

    • metscoast

      Yeah, why is that? I’ve noticed that their W-L record is very bad on Sundays, and in the final game of a series in general. Does anybody have the figures handy? I don’t wanna spend all afternoon looking it up (lol), especially since it’s a negative stat about the Mets. But if it’s a real pattern (and it seems to be), then they need to change their mental approach and attitude. It can’t be a coincidence, this far into the season.

      • Daniel Hall

        The actual Sunday record is only a modest 5-8, but it includes the 23-run drubbing by the Rats in April, the Big Choke in Milwaukee in May, a 12-run drubbing by the Angels the week after that, losing to the Pirates by 10 runs two weeks later…

        Runs scored on Sundays
        The Mets: 53 (4.1 R/G)
        Les Autres: 89 (6.9 R/G)

        I struggle to find the start times for the games, but I do know that I saw every stinker played on a Sunday (and usually every day game they play). And this year, I mostly only remember stinkers.

        Today I will ditch out of work early to grab the odd 11am ET / 5pm here start in Rat City. So, sorry guys, but it will invariably be another stinker. Blame Daniel.

  • Burbank Jake

    So with plenty riding on the next week or two and Curtis Granderson having homered with two outs and two strikes to tie the game against the Nats, TC goes from Sewald to Edgin and eventually turns to Fernando Salas instead of Addison Reed with the game on the line in the bottom of the 9th. Was anybody surprised the game ended two pitches later?