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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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Go Figure, They Won

Jacob deGrom gets hit like Jacob deGrom never gets hit. Then Jacob deGrom leaves with an injury like Jacob deGrom does in our worst nightmares. Then the Mets, down by three in the third, turn to Michael Wacha, a lapsed starter the Mets resist turning to as a matter of course. Then the Mets run the bases without regard for doing it well.

Then the Mets win?

Yes, then the Mets win. They won Wednesday night’s game against the Phillies and won the Go Figure Cup, awarded annually to the team that has no earthly business winning a game they were so clearly destined to lose.

Destiny took a holiday for a change. The Mets have lost enough games they seemed moments from winning that it was about time they had one mysteriously float over from the ‘L’ column. And it’s not like they weren’t proactive about making it happen. Wacha hung in for four very solid innings, giving up only a solo homer to Jean Segura in the third, which made the Mets’ deficit 4-0 and the Mets’ likelihood of prevailing highly unlikely.

But this whole season has been unlikely, so why not keep watching and divine whatever good news there was to be discerned? Like Jake was gone not for the season but probably for no more than the five days until his next scheduled start because all that ailed him was a hamstring spasm. I sometimes get those sitting at my desk typing, but I don’t use my legs nearly as much as Jake does. Jake’s Cy Young chances may wind up falling outside the razor-thin margin for error, given that his ERA shot up above 2 during his two uncharacteristic non-deGrominant innings, but if he doesn’t win it, we can dismiss the awarding of a Cy as rather silly in a sixty-game sprint.

And if he does somehow win it despite an earned run average of 2.09 (gasp!) with no more than two starts remaining, we’ll change our tune without missing a beat and revert to singing the praises of the wisdom of the BBWAA.

Besides, no matter what happens with the Cy, we’ve already captured the Go Figure Cup. Go figure, Wacha was fine after Segura crushed him, and so were Justin Wilson, Miguel Castro and the recently less cringe-inducing Edwin Diaz for an inning apiece after Wacha left. Go figure, J.D. Davis, playing this strange position wherein he bats several times a game yet doesn’t trot out to the field at all, homered and drove in three runs. J.D. going deep may not sound worthy of going figuring, but Mr. Davis had not hit one out since August 18, or nearly a month before, for those of you who no longer bother with niceties like calendars.

One of the runs J.D. drove in, the one that tied the game at four in the eighth, scored via the seemingly disinterested feet of Michael Conforto. Michael had walked with two out. J.D. doubled to center. Michael only sort of ran from first because he didn’t seem aware that there were two out. What should have been a fairly easy tally became uncomfortably close at the plate. It was still a run, but it was a little too typical of how the Mets have run themselves out of innings of late.

There’d be more of that in the ninth: more scoring, more running without thinking the process through. The good part was built on Robinson Cano converting a Hector Neris quick pitch into a single up the middle; pinch-runner Amed Rosario taking second on a Neris balk; and Andrés Giménez taking advantage of Joe Girardi’s decision to intentionally walk Jeff McNeil to instead take on the rookie. Giménez responded with the tie-breaking single, as Rosario sped home without incident from second. The abhorrent part came during the succeeding at-bat, as Jake Marisnick struck out; the ball got away just a little from catcher Andrew Knapp; Giménez took off prematurely from his base; Knapp threw to second; McNeil took off from third; and McNeil got himself tagged out attempting to dive into home by second baseman Scott Kingery, who rushed in with the ball to end the inning.

Yet the Mets didn’t suffer for their foibles and misfortunes. Davis got to Zack Wheeler, Cano and Giménez got to Neris (as does every Met, eventually) and Diaz in particular got the ball over the plate in mostly unhittable fashion, recording three swinging strikeouts that rendered a single somewhere in between shockingly harmless.

Mets 5 Phillies 4. Go figure. Mets still sort of in the playoff picture. They’re two-and-a-half out of a playoff spot with eleven to play and three teams between them and the team they have to reach. Go figure that if you are so inclined. Or just be thankful for small favors and spasms that aren’t fatal.

12 comments to Go Figure, They Won

  • Dave

    The Mets run the bases like Stevie Wonder.

    Until we forget that Michael Wacha was ever a Met, which many of us will, we will recognize last night as his best performance in blue and orange. Averages 4 innings per start, comes in and pitches 4 innings in relief. I detect a pattern.

  • Seth

    Sometimes they win, despite their best efforts.

  • Henry J Lenz

    They may be nearly eliminated already for a Wild Card. St Loo, Cinn, and Brewskis play each other and someone has to win. Same with Rockies and SF.

  • Andrew

    Best part for me was seeing Diaz pitch like the Diaz the Mets thought they acquired a couple of years ago.

  • mikeL

    shockingly harmless single indeed.
    was on phone with GF cranky feeling off an absurdist volley of expletives – not because i’ve been very invested in these strange-season games – but just for the hell of it because diaz was pitching and i expected a homer and a walk-off. and another poor base running induced loss.
    go figure indeed. likely just a few more mets games to go. and then a postseason with cutouts and presumably garlands. it will be hard to latch on to another team for this one. so a half-hearty LGM and maybe just maybe more of these unexpected outcomes to keep things interesting

  • mikeL

    sorry folks, the comment editor is not working for me after many tries.

    was *crankily reeling*

  • eric1973

    Jake vs. Wheeler last nite reminded me of Seaver vs. Koosman after the trade.

    Boy, this 2020 season must really be getting to me.

  • eric1973

    So glad they gave R.A. that ovation, probably a standing one, after he was taken out of the game. Nelson/Murphy/Kiner always said that Met fans were the most knowledgeable fans in baseball.

    And speaking of attending Division Clinchers, I had to be there in 1988, as the game was not on Channel 9, and my neighborhood did not yet have Cable.

    Before Cable TV, when the Mets were still in it, they would put additional games on Channel 9, down the stretch. Now that might have only been in 1973, but I remember it like it was yesterday, and it was like a combination of every holiday wrapped into one.

    And as Ralph Kiner said when signing off of Kiner’s Korner, “And if you can’t make it out to the ballpark, we’ll see you right back out there.”

    • Doc vs the Cubs, July 27, 1984, on SportsChannel the year before we had cable. Home from college for a relatively brief summer break, I just assumed it would switch to Channel 9 for the common good, based on the precedent you cite.

      Alas, it was a new era.

      I thought it telling that for David Wright’s farewell in 2018 a game originally slated for Channel 11 was simulcast on SNY because SNY built a day of programming around it (and though it’s the same production, the game inevitability feels lesser of when aired on PIX-11).

  • open the gates

    Ooh! Ooh! It’s the Travis Taijeron game! I say the Taijeron game because it really was THE Taijeron game, kind of like The Taylor Teagarden Game, The Chip Ambres Game, The Claudell Washington Game, The Andrew Brown Game, the Collin Cowgill Game… there’s gotta be a subcategory of games that were won on hits by heretofore barely-known, interestingly-named Mets who subsequently vanished as quickly as they arrived. (OK, Andrew Brown’s name is kind of pedestrian, and we kind of knew who Claudell was coming in, but you know what I mean…)

  • eric1973

    Greg, a quick perusal of the ticket stubs shows that I was at that Mets-Cubs Friday Nite 1984 game you referenced.

    Mets and Gooden (8Ks) won 2-1, giving the Mets a 4 1/2 game lead, in first place.

    16 minute rain delay at the start, I wrote, and RBI’s by Foster and Backman. 51,102 in the stands.

    It was the year of ‘Cub-Busters,’ but we couldn’t overcome Rick Sutcliffe’s 18-1 record with the Cubs after they got him in a trade during the season.