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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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Edwin, Jeurys and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

I put off writing the recap of Friday night’s Mets baseball — the completion of Thursday’s suspended game and Friday’s regularly scheduled contest with the Cardinals — in hopes that a night’s sleep would take the sting out of it.

Oh ha ha ha ha ha.

Nope, in the clear light of morning it hurts just as much, if not more. This was a ruinous day of baseball, one that began with the possibility of the Mets finally cresting .500, which Mickey Callaway seems to think will unlock qualities as yet unseen in them, but ended with all of us wondering if mediocrity is even attainable this season.

More on that in a minute, but first, the gory details. The day began with the Mets doing nothing in the first-to-arrive bottom of the ninth, like a meal eaten backwards — think of it as pine-tar upside-down cake. They then sent Edwin Diaz out for the 10th in hopes that a night’s sleep would have revitalized his arsenal and erased his bad luck. Neither hope was fulfilled — Diaz got unlucky on a Yairo Munoz leadoff single, then left a four-seam fastball up to Paul DeJong, who doesn’t need help brutalizing anyone in a Met uniform. The Mets had lost, and 40-odd minutes later they went back out for the nightcap.

Which followed the same heart-yanked-out-and-displayed-to-you narrative as its predecessor. Steven Matz threw one bad pitch, but the Mets erased a three-run deficit on Matz’s solo homer, a Pete Alonso fielder’s choice and a two-run single by Wilson Ramos. With the seventh inning in the books, the Mets had a one-run lead.

There’s a difference of opinion in official Met circles about whether Seth Lugo can appear on consecutive days. We’ll leave that to stew about some other day; the relevant point is he didn’t enter the game, Jeurys Familia did, and a couple of minutes after that the game was tied and a couple of minutes after that the game was lost. Familia has a 6.91 ERA, a three-year contract, and a lot that needs fixing.

So what’s broken with Familia? Hell if I know. Hell if I know what’s wrong with Diaz. My suspicion is that a lot of these Met maladies have to do with sliders refusing to slide in 2019 — the homers stuck on Familia’s ledger by DeJong (inevitably) and Dexter Fowler came on sliders, and you could ask Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler about the state of their sliders and get some interesting answers. But what’s happening with the ball and whether or not it was deliberate isn’t going to help the 2019 Mets, or our sanity.

For now, we’re left with the unpleasant reminder that nothing is more painful than a bad bullpen. There are lots of ways to be a lousy team, but that one’s the worst, because it corrodes the joy of baseball. If your team grabs a lead, you feel like you’re being set up for a joke. Instead of trading high-fives, you hunker down and wait for the gut punch. You’re Charlie Brown with the football, Sisyphus with the boulder, or one of too many Met relievers with the ball and the responsibility.

Which brings us back to the question of .500. Putting aside how laudable a goal it is — Tom Seaver had something pointed to say about that once upon a time — when the Mets finish up with the Cardinals they will play their next 19 games against the Braves, Cubs, Phillies and Yankees, bringing them to the All-Star break.

Those four clubs have a collective winning percentage of .572. You never know in baseball, but those 19 games may provide a decisive verdict about who, exactly, the 2019 Mets are and what’s possible for them.

Come get us, Brodie Van Wagenen crowed in the winter. Now it’s summer, the team he constructed is a mess, and four pretty good baseball clubs are about to answer his invitation.

13 comments to Edwin, Jeurys and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

  • LeClerc

    Again quoting Steve Serby:

    Not a bullpen – a pig pen.

  • Jacobs27

    Tough, tough to watch.

    I take some solace, or at least amusement in learning that Charlie Brown was a left-handed pitcher for Cleveland in 1897. 7.77 ERA — he’d fit right in in our ‘pen…

  • john Kelly

    Great article, you really tap in the heart and soul of this lovable and unpredictable team! Prediction, they go 12&7 and turn their season around!!

  • mikeL

    feels like ths off-season was about unloading (and uploading) a bunch of jason bays first – and constructing a viable team somewhere after…

    to paraphrase mickey : familia’s our high stakes guy for 3 yearzzzzz….

    given how fast d’arneaud was released famlia shouldn’t be on the active roster…and good golly did the mets actually print up diaz GAME OVER shirts friday night. and why were they not thrown onto the field with the boos?

    if sliders aren’t sliding why do pitchers keep throwing ’em?
    maybe it’s time for all major league pitchers to learn how to throw the knuckle…an ideal time given the surface of this year’s ball?

    might cut down on homers – or at least force hitters to supply lat-wrenching, knock the skin-off-the-ball power.

  • Dave

    Sorry mikeL…as cathartic as DFA’ing Familia sounds, it’s as likely to happen aa the Mets signing me to replace him (my slider sometimes falls flat too, and I’m only throwing a toy that one of my cats plays fetch with). Mr Familia, or as I like to think of him, this generation’s Armando Benitez, is in the first half season of 3 years, $30M. Brodie isn’t admitting how horrible a mistake that was this fast, and the Wilpons sure as hell aren’t paying him the rest of that money to go pitch somewhere else, even if that somewhere else would be the Somerset Patriots. We are stuck.

    I do love the knuckleball idea though.

  • Chris

    I hope Thor sucks one in DeJongs ear..,then they have a good hard fight to knock the pussy out if this team. They suck.

  • This mediocre at best team wouldn’t be so galling if it seemed that ownership was giving an honest effort. Everyone doesn’t win every year after all. But it all smacks of the M. Donald Grant/Lorinda de Roulet years: they’re not really “in the game” but each year they try to snow the fans on how competitive they’ll be. They’ll win 80 games this year and finish 4th, and then this off season they’ll make some second level big move (a once big-name 32-year-old outfielder, perhaps, who might hit 250/20/65) and try to sell us on how THIS is the year.

  • Greg Mitchell

    Mets just purchases a reliever to solve their mess with a career era of 8.92. And his name is “Pounders.” Perfect. Checking to see if they sent McNeil along in the trade. Meanwhile, your weekly Hansel Robles update (can we trade Diaz or Cano for him and also get Kelenc back?):

    “Hansel Robles struck out one batter in a scoreless ninth inning to earn a save against the Rays on Saturday.

    “He has notched 10 saves since taking over the closer role from Cody Allen, who was designated for assignment by the Angels earlier in the day. Robles has a 3.24 ERA with 32 strikeouts in 33 1/3 innings. He has plenty of leash and should hang onto the ninth-inning job for the foreseeable future.”

  • Frank Cioffi

    Look, it’s still just mid-June. There are some good players on the team right now–McNeil, Alonso, Hechevaria, Conforto, Ramos–and some decent pitchers among the starters. The bullpen is the glaring weak point, but Callaway’s strategy of stretching out his starters seems a good plan. There is time to recover. There is time enough to win some games still. If the Mets would work on clearly fixable things (I’m thinking of their awful fielding, for example), that would go a long way to getting this team over .500. But the next three weeks are going to be the litmus test, I fear, and the good players will have to get better still, while the mediocre group needs to somehow imagine what life was like when they were their best selves. Most were actually pretty good. How to inspire them in this way? I fear that MC has not yet found the answer. But he needs to be looking for it! And maybe, just maybe, the Mets can turn their season around. I’m not betting on it, but I won’t bet against the boys in blue and orange, either!

  • Ken K. in NJ

    Everybody please calm down. Chris Flexen is back!!

  • mikeL

    on this too-close-but-a-win-is-a-win win:

    that jeff mcneil…he’s no lucas duda (or…or…)

    old-school 5-tool skills
    thank you jeff. you may have saved the season for one more day.

  • mikeL

    …and how many games end on THAT play nowadays?

  • Daniel Hall

    The 2019 ball is a travesty. Without a doubt the current fail of a commissioner, Rob Numbfred, has his dirty paws in this disaster. bla bla home runs … bla bla excitement … bla bla keep the attention of damn millenials…

    To make everybody feel better… I have some statistical tables here that suggest that Familia can be expected to live another 54 years, on average. Which means that the Mets would have been better off by paying him roughly $1,800 per day for the rest of his life to NOT come to the ballpark, then nominate some random weirdo in the leftfield stands on his third beer to pitch the top of the eighth on any given day.

    Yeah, true, it didn’t make me feel better either…