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Long Island…DUCK!

Monday wasn’t a good day for Mets pitchers hailing from Long Island. Long Island’s own Marcus Stroman [1] (LIOMS), heretofore rehabbing his torn calf and presumed to be returning to the Mets’ disturbingly depleted rotation soon, announced in the afternoon he was opting out [2] of 2020 due to his family’s COVID-19 concerns. Come nightfall, Long Island’s own Steven Matz [3] (LIOSM) opted out of competitive pitching versus the Washington Nationals, giving up eight earned runs in four-and-a-third innings, a harrowing echo of last week when he was strafed for five earned runs in three innings in D.C.

Maybe somebody should check on Frank Viola from East Meadow, Pete Harnisch from Commack, Hank Webb from Farmingdale, Ray Searage from Freeport, John Lannan from Long Beach, Paul Gibson from Southampton and John Pacella, who was born in Brooklyn but graduated from Connetquot High School in Bohemia (no word whether his mortarboard fell off [4] as he accepted his diploma). Like Stroman, none will be pitching the rest of this season. Like Matz, all would be advised not to.

I can’t blame Stroman of Medford for taking a good, long look around Major League Baseball not to mention the country it’s played in and taking a pandemic pass. If he calculated the declaration of his decision for it to coincide with the accrual of enough service time for him to qualify for free agency, well, gosh, whoever heard of a baseball team manipulating a player’s calendar to gain a financial advantage? I liked Stroman fine when he pitched for the Mets, which was eleven starts last year and none at all since. I don’t know in retrospect that I loved giving two pitching prospects to the Blue Jays for what turned out to be a grand total of eleven starts, but that slight sum couldn’t have been foreseen entering 2020. Nothing much could have been foreseen entering 2020.

Matz of Stony Brook is a sympathetic figure, too. Always comes across as polite and sincere. His Tru32 foundation admirably supports first responders. He has a sandwich named after him at a deli in East Setauket and we all remember his grandpa going nuts at his smash debut. Once upon a time, Steven could hit as well as he could pitch. Now he doesn’t get to hit at all and his ERA should only be somebody’s slugging percentage. Based on his last two starts, it might be the Nats’ versus Matz.

The most dynamic pitcher the Mets offered up versus the defending world champs [5], albeit as a ninth-inning human sacrifice, was Luis Guillorme [6]. He’s not from Long Island and he’s not a pitcher. Well, he is now. One bullpen-preserving frame hurled (because a ten-man relief corps apparently isn’t enormous enough to survive a blowout), one earned run average of 0.00. Andrés Giménez may have Luis’s path to playing time blocked in the infield, but no way Guillorme doesn’t rate the call over Paul Sewald the next night we’re en route to a 16-4 rout [7].

This, therefore, is what 2020 has come to. Seventeen games in, we’ve had a position player pitch, yet our National League franchise hasn’t had a pitcher hit.

Guillorme’s catcher was Ali Sanchez [8], who came in to relieve subdued birthday celebrant Wilson Ramos when the score was a million to nothing or whatever it was by then. Sanchez became the fifteenth new Met of the year [9], which is almost as many runs as the Washingtonians walloped. We doff our mask to Met No. 1,106 for coming into our world under the bleakest of circumstances and presumably coming back for more.

And, hey, since it wasn’t close anyway, why not a hat tip amid the offensive onslaught from the other side to modestly beloved alumnus Asdrubal Cabrera [10], who went 4-for-4 with two homers, two doubles and five runs batted in? Asdrubal was a Met longer than Marcus, not as long as Steven. For a spell he was one of my favorites, thus I can’t get utterly sore that he has apparently taken the ex-Met Met-killer baton from Adeiny Hechavarria, who took it from Daniel Murphy, who took it from Justin Turner. All of them in recent years have come back to Citi Field to rake against the Mets and each of them has socked balls into Long Island Sound. The splash was loud enough to wake the Stromans and the Matzes all the way out in Suffolk County.