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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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Motherly Advice

Well, Mama told me there’d be days like these.

My mother also knows baseball and has a head for business. So she told me some other things too.

For example, she told me that days like these are a lot more likely if you’ve got cheapjack owners who can’t or won’t pay to put the best product on the field, who think it’s sensible to send a live-armed young fireballer off to the free-agent market to sign with a division rival, and try to convince you that it’s a perfectly sound plan to replace that live-armed young fireballer with reclamation projects who have solid resumes but questionable futures.

And she told me that, yes, injuries happen — but that I shouldn’t be surprised when they happen to guys who throw 100, UCLs being the thin reeds that they are, and that a wise business owner makes plans for those injuries, so that you’re not looking at, say, putting Corey Oswalt or Walker Lockett in your rotation in a year when you can contend for a playoff spot. (No, really, she said those names. I was eight years old and it was 1977, so I didn’t know whom she was talking about, but turn the clock ahead 43 years and I see what she meant.)

Zack Wheeler is in Philadelphia, and Noah Syndergaard is sitting somewhere glowering at the scar on his elbow, and Marcus Stroman is dealing with a torn calf, so the Mets’ rotation is the peerless Jacob deGrom, the promising but perilous Steven Matz … and then wishing those two guys were around.

Rick Porcello won a Cy Young award in 2016 with the Red Sox, using a potent sinker to get batters to beat balls into the ground and keeping them honest with a four-seam fastball, change-up, slider and curve. 2019, though, was a disaster — Porcello put his four-seamer front and center, and while he struck out a lot of guys, he also gave up a ton of home runs. His hard-hit percentage was the worst of his career, translating to a 5.52 ERA and a new employer.

The Mets thought they could get Porcello to go back to what worked a couple of years ago, but on Sunday night he threw too many four-seamers and sliders up in the zone, and the results were ugly: fifty-six pitches, two innings, six earned runs. Maybe Porcello will make the adjustment (though being a groundball pitcher in front of Robinson Cano isn’t necessarily a recipe for success), but it’s easier said that done — and Porcello has been plying his trade in the big leagues since 2009, meaning there’s a lot of mileage on that arm.

With Porcello excused further punishment, Corey Oswalt was brought on to take a beating, and somehow made you miss Porcello — Austin Riley hit a ball so far that J.D. Davis wound up fielding a very confused flight attendant whose 747 continued on with a ragged hole in the fuselage. (The flight attendant went just over the tip of J.D.’s glove and bounced off the warning track. She’s fine.) When LaGuardia Air Traffic Control requested that Oswalt be relieved so planes no longer had to be diverted to JFK, Paul Sewald made his 2020 debut and did the kind of things Paul Sewald has been doing since 2017. Hunter Strickland managed not to be terrible, but by then the Braves were tired of running the bases, so let’s not get too excited about a brief flare-up of Stricklandian competence.

Insult to injury: ESPN used its junior varsity broadcast crew, and while I’ll reluctantly admit Chipper Jones is a not bad color guy, Jon Sciambi and Rick Sutcliffe could find offseason work breaking terrorists at a CIA black site.


Seriously, I’m listening to Matt Vasgersian and A-Rod now and they sound like a Vin Scully/Gary Cohen supergroup.

I could say that getting the tar beat out of you 14-1 is better than looking out the window and wondering why there’s no baseball when it’s spring, and you know what? That’s true. That’s true and let’s not forget it because of one bad night. But losing by 13 isn’t better than a whole lot else, and as I type this the Mets are on caravan of buses somewhere on I-84, heading for Boston and wondering if Michael Wacha’s any better repaired than Porcello.

I hope nobody let Oswalt drive.

10 comments to Motherly Advice

  • Lenny65

    You hate to wildly overreact after one start but yikes, we already had lots of guys who could have delivered that.

  • Dave

    Well, the Wilpons could have just penciled Corey Oswalt or Walker Lockett into the rotation from the get go to save that much more money. So theoretically could be even worse.

    This great lineup just got outscored 19-4 by a division rival we’re playing 10% of this year’s schedule against. Not sure the Mets are going to benefit from expanded playoffs. Also not sure that last year’s 86 wins are going to look “the manager needs to be fired” bad in retrospect.

  • open the gates

    deGrom and Matz and here come the bats…

    Memo to A-Rod: please get on with it and buy the team already. Today would be nice. Call it an early birthday present for J-Lo.

  • Daniel Hall

    The best about this game was that no dog took a rocket ball off the snout.

    I don’t know what we’re complaining about. Porcello was every bit as good as we’d have guessed. The lineup is in mid-summer form. The defense is … uh… well, they put nine guys out there every inning.

    Honestly though, I love Jeff McNeil to bits, but he looked like Murph on a bad day and then some…

  • Seth

    I’m not sure what was more absurd, the cardboard dogs in the stands, or the cardboard dogs on the field…

  • RobSF

    At least we’re not being ravaged by Covid-19. Maybe being near Corona Queens helps.

    Let’s give Porcello a little break. Two flyballs to JD should’ve been caught (his positioning and jumps were off), and McNeil will tighten up his IF play. Are the balls a little juiced?

    To be a little melodramatic, I thought the Mets lost their chance in the first inning. Two men on base, one out, 3-0 to Ces and he swings at ball 4 twice. At that point, Newcomb can’t get it over the plate. No reason to help out a wild pitcher who has a history of inconsistency. Bases loaded with one out in the first inning. Who knows?

    • Daniel Hall

      “Are the balls a little juiced?” – I mean, you saw the METS bat, didn’t you?

      That first inning was indeed a piss directly into the wind. The first five(?) were either hit or at 3-0? Come on, boys! You gotta do better than Ces scaring off the flies in that scenario!

  • Jacobs27

    I have a bad feeling about this.

    The bats will eventually wake up and perform reasonably, I assume. But the pitching staff and the defense look like serious liabilities. About as likely to improve in the near future as the pandemic.

    Yes, at least it’s Mets baseball.

  • Seth

    If 2020 baseball was a pitch, it would look like Dr. Fauci’s…

  • eric1973

    Good one, Seth!

    Wish they’d had cardboard announcers as well!