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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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Finally Feasting in Philly

It may be too much to ask the Mets to play nine perfectly appetizing innings, so be grateful for the half-innings you don’t want to send back to the kitchen as underdone or overcooked. On Saturday, you could dine out on a three-course meal of them.

The Top of the 1st — Baserunners! Hits! Breaks! RUNS! FOUR OF THEM! Drinks! Music! Instead of moping over how they haven’t scored recently and therefore will never score again, our beloved Metsies scored four times to start their night at Citizens Bank Park. Pete Alonso drove in one that should’ve been two except his ball bounced over the fence. Michael Conforto drove in two instead of one when Andrew McCutchen let a sinking liner get by him. Things evened out for a change. Everybody between two-hitter Francisco Lindor and seven-hitter Dom Smith got on. James McCann McDampened the mood by grounding into an inning-ending double play, but c’mon, four runs in the first! How greedy should we be?

I would’ve preferred lots of greed. McCann’s GIDP gave me a bad feeling. We had Zack Wheeler on the ropes. I’ve seen enough of Wheeler to believe he’s a “get ’em early or you won’t get rid of him” pitcher. And he was. Zack gave up nothing to his old teammates and their new workplace proximity associates. Meanwhile, Taijuan Walker was “OK”. That’s in quotes because that’s how Walker himself put it. And he was very OK: 6 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, or exactly what Wheeler gave up over seven innings, except it looked better on Wheeler because Wheeler recovered to persevere from a four-run hole, whereas Walker allowed a four-run lead to melt into a 4-4 tie.

The Bottom of the 7th — Aaron Loup is pitching. With one out, he walks McCutchen. Matt Joyce grounds to Lindor the shortstop who’s playing extra second base or whatever one would term positions that didn’t exist before clever shifting wrecked standard defensive diagrams. However it’s labeled, Joyce’s grounder shapes up as perhaps a double play ball or at least a simple putout at first. Lindor takes the ambitious route, chasing down McCutchen to no apparent avail before rushing a throw to first to try to nab Joyce.

Does that sound like it ended the inning? Well, it did. Lindor’s wily aggressiveness must have spooked the hell out of second base umpire Jose Navas, because he ruled McCutchen had run astray from the baseline and was out despite not being tagged or forced. Replays showed pretty convincingly that McCutchen stayed on the straight and narrow in his path to the bag and in no way should have been ruled out. Meanwhile, Joyce, who was initially called safe by Andy Fletcher — another umpire who must’ve been glued to his phone despite being at a baseball game — was actually out. Lindor knew it right away (he jogged off the field despite two Phillie runners briefly seeming to have legitimate claims to their bases) and an official second look confirmed it.

That was strange. Probably as strange as Conforto’s elbow getting in the way of a strike a few weeks ago and being told he could go to first base with a walkoff RBI. But no stranger than the Mets losing their three previous games by scores of 2-1, 1-0 and 2-1, the middle of them with deGrom on the mound and the last of them because a strikeout morphed into two opposition runs. So, again, breaks!

We didn’t necessarily order them, but we’ll take them if they’re compliments of the fates.

The Top of the 9th — Conforto goes deep to give the Mets a 5-4 lead. It’s about frigging time any Met hit any home runs at Citizens Bank Band Box. It’s where they usually spank the ball until it screams that it’s learned its lesson and it will get over the wall ASAP. This was their fifth game of 2021 in Philadelphia, yet only their second homer there. Nice time to get sluggy, Michael.

Dessert is included with our three-course meal. You really had to try the Mussless, Fussless Bottom of the 9th, assuming you had no dietary restrictions. It’s made with a revamped blend of Sugar, which tastes surprisingly sweet these days.

Edwin Diaz indeed closed out the 5-4 win. It was indeed a 5-4 win. The Mets seemed determined to blow this game, but maybe a touch more determined not to. As a result, they own a share of first place in the National League East, which doesn’t mean much because a) it’s very early May; and b) they and their co-frontrunners are under .500; yet c) it’s better than a share of last place. Plus, nobody pretended they were about to throw hands.

If you require a little acid reflux, seeing as how you can’t possibly be used to digesting good Met news, Mets are sort of dropping like flies. Sort of. Luis Guillorme’s IL stint stemmed from himself taking BP Friday. Brandon Nimmo and J.D. Davis had to exit Saturday’s game in tandem from hand and finger things that reportedly didn’t kill them (so maybe it will make them stronger). There was also that business about nearly blowing the game, partly because Walker was only OK and partly because Wheeler wouldn’t let them score after the first.

But they didn’t blow it. “OK” from the starter led to A-OK from the bullpen, with Loup, Trevor May and Diaz continuing to not let games get away, an increasingly standard accomplishment we don’t dare take as the norm but it kind of is lately. We got 80% of our runs in a batch at the beginning and the final 20% via one powerful stroke toward the end. We surely got our breaks (sorry, Cutch). We even have a newly hired hitting consultant named Donnie Stevenson, if Alonso’s and Conforto’s postgame description of their approach coach is to be believed. I assume he was brought on board by special assistant to the GM Jonathan Tuttle.

Tuttle? Why, I just had dinner with the man!

15 comments to Finally Feasting in Philly

  • Daniel Hall

    With position players falling over left and right – anybody got John Mayberry jr.’s number? That .164/.227/.318 bat looks like it should fit right in on most nights!

  • Michael in CT

    Has Diaz turned a corner? He’s looking really good.

    • Seth

      If he keeps turning the corner, eventually he’ll end up back in the same place.

    • Daniel Hall

      One game later, I can firmly tell you: No.

      • Matt in Richmond

        He has been lights out for a year and a half. Look around the league at the state of the closer position. With the possible exception of Josh Hader there isn’t anyone I’d rather have right now. Last night he never should have been put in that game in the first place. He had a stiff back and we we’re sending him out back to back nights with a 4 run lead?

        • Daniel Hall

          Boom-Boom Diaz is scorched earth territory for me. He could have 20 saves in a row without as much as a runner reaching scoring position, and I would still get wet eyes as soon as I see him in the pen. That’s my problem, I’ll admit.

          I agree that he shouldn’t have been out there. Given with what was available I would have gone with Familia instead. OR…

          I also would not have batted Taijuan Walker for May, with Nido assumed healthy on the bench. Either use Nido (do away with the cobwebs first), or throw away the at-bat with May, then use him for the ninth. With these Mets, I sometimes think they settled on their pitching order at 9am, regardless of what happens by 9pm. May had a good inning, he looked well enough to have two.

  • Dave

    Donnie Stevenson is previously best known for helping Sidd Finch fine tune his fastball by breathing through his elbows, and he coached him on his unique interpretation of the Haydn Horn Concerto in D Major, which he controversially played in G sharp minor.

    I look forward to what Stevenson does with Mets hitters.

  • eric1973

    Sounds like this “Donnie Stevenson” maybe ought to be the manager!

    See what happens when you play up to your talent, boys? Destiny is never a battle plan for victory, remember that.

  • Seth

    I am hoping SNY continues to show graphics of Wheeler’s career with the Mets, and how great he’s been with the divisional rival Phillies. That just never gets old.

  • Dan

    Slight correction: Dom had a HR in game 2 of the season.

  • Bob

    Nice to see our Mets answer yesterday in 1st inning–1 more hit would have knocked Wheeler out of game–but even bigger was Conforto’s HR in 9th–HUGE!
    Let’s hope this will be spark to get Mets going on right track before a very tough 4-game3 series VS Cards in St. Louis.

    How is it I’ve hated Molina of Cards for DECADES–it seems?

    Let’s Go Mets!

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