The blog for Mets fans
who like to read


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.

Got something to say? Leave a comment, or email us at (Sorry, but we have no interest in ads, sponsored content or guest posts.)

Need our RSS feed? It's here.

Visit our Facebook page, or drop by the personal pages for Greg and Jason.

Or follow us on Twitter: Here's Greg, and here's Jason.

When the Gut Rules the Mind

What a way to get a game going!
A two run homer from Lindor!!
A three-run homer from Conforto!!!
In the first inning!!!!
The first-place Mets are ahead of the last-place Pirates, 5-0!!!!!

Which is where a Mets fan of tenure turned from dispensing exclamation points to issuing question marks. The way this Mets fan of tenure saw it, there were four possible scenarios facing us over the next eight innings.

Would it be…

1) A Mets romp, building on the early good vibrations worthy of a late-‘70s orange soda commercial, with more and more runs scoring and the absence of a starting pitcher no more than a technicality, even once Aaron Loup finished his limited engagement as a two-inning starter and transitioned seamlessly into an opener of Busch Light?

Maybe. But probably not.

2) A little disconcerting but ultimately fine, like a game I remember against the Pirates right around this time of year in 2006, when the first-place Mets also posted five runs in the bottom of the first, but then not only stopped hitting, but stopped scoring, yet it was OK because the last-place Pirates then weren’t having any better a season than they are now?

Maybe. But probably not.

3) Very disconcerting but ultimately exhilarating, à la one of those games that almost gets away — the lead may even temporarily change hands — yet some Met sets it right in the bottom of the ninth, and there’s a congregation shouting “HALLELUJAH!” at home plate or a jersey-tearing summer jam at first base, or perhaps both in celebration of the one that was deliriously snatched back?

Maybe. But probably not.

4) The first-place Mets blowing a 5-0 lead and losing to the last-place Pirates, 6-5, because the Mets demonstrated minimal pitching and absolutely no hitting after the first, while the Pirates forgot they were dead, buried at sea and not in the Mets’ class?

The fourth, it turned out.
Exactly the fourth.
I mean on the bleeping nose.

While I considered the first, second and third scenarios as legitimate possibilities, straining in particular to believe the third was our destiny when Luis Guillorme led off the bottom of the ninth with a single to spark our potential comeback-as-destiny rally, I felt in my Metsian gut that we were gonna lose the way we lost. Not because “the Mets suck!” or because “we always lose!” but…I don’t know. Yet my gut knew. Michael Conforto wasn’t across the plate in the first with the fifth Met run when, on the advice of my gut, I was moved to publicly all but predict something like this was coming (and if you doubt my reluctant prescience, here’s my receipt).

Thus, the fun of the first — with Loup nice and loose, Francisco Lindor ablaze (he’d add two more base hits to his total) and Conforto homering for the first time since approximately 1963 — evaporated into stone-cold Sunday afternoon somnambulance. The Pirates, led by their defiant starter Chase de Jong sticking it out for five and their sudden slugger Rodolfo Castro going deep twice, made the comeback and didn’t deal in givebacks. Guillorme did get that leadoff single, but Brandon Nimmo grounded into a double play, and Lindor couldn’t arrange the drama necessary to turn the beat around. In between Loup and the losing, there was little dependable Met pitching of which to speak. The glaringest culprit was Edwin Diaz in the ninth not getting the fifth of five outs Luis Rojas requested after Diaz took over for Miguel Castro in the eighth. Diaz wasn’t 24 hours’ removed from his nearly immaculate Saturday night inning (10 pitches, 9 strikes, 3 outs). It’s hard to pin this loss on Edwin, even if he was, in fact, pinned with the loss.

Jerad Eickhoff, Jeurys Familia and Castro weren’t much help. Nor was whichever rainout pushed Jacob deGrom from his scheduled Sunday start into the All-Star break abyss. Kumar Rocker simply wasn’t drafted, developed, promoted and inserted soon enough. Regardless of whoever was available; wasn’t available; or could have been leaned on a little with a quartet of off days in the offing, let us not ignore that the Mets did no scoring from the second inning on. Not a load of hitting, either.

My gut having courteously prepared me for the nominal Worst Loss of the Season, I wasn’t nearly as disturbed by the least optimal outcome as I would have been had it come out of nowhere. Nope, my gut was on target. I hope it took SNY up on its offer of betting $415 to win $100 or whatever it is Gary Apple goes on about in the postgame show as he touts the network’s wholesome gambling sponsor.

The Mets are still in first place. They are still the first-place Mets as baseball pauses and they will still be the first-place Mets when baseball again presses play. They don’t emit unbeatable first-place vibes most recently evinced in these parts in 2006 and there’s not really that slam bang tang reminiscent of gin and vermouth and 1984 when you step back and consider their lofty status. Nevertheless, here they are: first, and by more than a hair. We’ve got that to sate us for the four-day void, which, if we think of it as one big rainout, we’ll make it through as if it’s just another week on our perpetually soggy calendar. Once the break is over, we’ve got another series on deck with these last-place Pirates, who are not to be taken lightly, just as the first-place business isn’t to be taken as a given.

We’ve got a good team. Greatness they need to work on.

24 comments to When the Gut Rules the Mind

  • open the gates

    So there are two possible ways the Mets can come back after the All Star break:

    1) Use this horrific loss as a wake up call, and pummel the putrid Pirates into the next century.

    2) This horrific loss consists of the air going out of the balloon, and they get swept by the putrid Pirates, leading to the usual plummet through the dog days of August into a meaningless September.

    I’m pretty sure that these Mets will go with number 1. But I’m not sure enough.

    And by the way – next time they DFA Eickhoff, let him stay DFA’d. Maybe some team in Greenland needs a starting pitcher.

  • Seth

    I too, was prepared early for this loss, after watching the Mets squander one scoring chance after another. As they continued to try and give this game back, I was convinced they’d eventually succeed. It’s not because “we always lose,” it was the way they were playing. And yeah, it wasn’t totally Diaz’s fault, but he is the closer. He even has trumpets or something…

  • greensleeves

    I’ve been meaning to ask–just what is a wholesome gambling sponsor? And why are they shoving this provisional gateway drug down the throats of an audience that (in some ways) already suffers from too many addictions? I know this is not the traditional forum for such debate, but I’m seriously curious.

  • eric1973

    Diaz is a dead ringer for Vlad the Impaler (Google it. You’ll see).

    I just wish he had half his killer instinct.

  • Dave

    I picked a hell of a first game since 2019 to attend. Last time before today my wife and I were at Citi was in November of that year to watch hurling. Today wanted to make me (you can fill in the rest).

  • Eric

    Frustrating loss, more so with the Phillies beating a division leader.

    Compensation for a frustrating loss: Kumar Rocker, maybe with a chip on his shoulder, likely on a fast track to MLB. Let’s get Rocker working alongside deGrom while he’s still peak deGrom.

    Not that Rojas would use a bullpen game in the play-offs or a late regular season game with a postseason berth on the line, but I hope in a similar situation — tight game, bullpen at its limit — with higher stakes, deGrom would deign to pitch 1 inning in relief on 1 day short rest knowing full rest is ahead.

    With present circumstances, though, I accept that giving achy 33-year-old deGrom a long uninterrupted break is more important than saving a mid-season game that’s run out of relievers. (Even if the crosstown ace did just throw a 129 pitch CG 1-0 shutout.)

    I’ll say for now today’s loss and the 2-2 series split will be better in the long run for reminding the Mets they’re not good enough to take any team or themselves for granted.

  • open the gates

    I guess one needs to be a Met fan of a certain vintage to appreciate the irony of the Mets using their #1 pick on a pitcher named Rocker. Maybe next year they’ll be a young hurler named Clemens in the draft. Or an infielder named Utley. Or Rose.

  • dmg

    honestly did not get bringing castro in for a second inning of work after he’d barely escaped the seventh.
    at that point i muttered rojas is TRYING to lose this game.

  • Kevin from Flushing

    I’m with you. At 5-0 my mind immediately went to a hockey game that my college needed to win to keep their playoff hopes alive. Luckily they were playing the worst team in the league. Not even 10 seconds into the game we had scored a goal, and the entire team smiled and relaxed. “We got this.”

    We went on to lose 2-1.

  • Matt T

    A well worn trope but I’m trotting it out nonetheless. I have to believe that if told during the preseason that at the break we would be 7 over .500 & have a 3.5 game division lead damn near all of us would have taken it, particularly if told how many games were lost to injury. Yesterday stunk, but over 162 you’re going to get a few of those & we really haven’t so far this year. When we’ve had the lead we’ve held it almost every time. If you want to see something truly horrific look across town to what happened to the Yankees AGAIN.

    In the meantime almost all our key players are picking it up at the plate including Lindor sliding into the break carrying an OPS of .851 over his last 44 games. The biggest offensive vulnerability I see right now is to left handed pitching & JD Davis should help with that. And it sounds like everything is proceeding nicely with Carasco’s rehab. What a boon adding him to the mix would be.

    All in all there are many reasons to be excited about the prospects for a second half playoff chase. Certainly more than any Mets team for the last 15 years or so at this point in the season. Should be fun!!

  • Eric

    Matt T,

    Add to the fun that the wild cards will likely both go west, so it’s a full-on old-fashioned division race. 1 ticket only.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    Doubly ironic that the Mets #1 pick is a pitcher named Rocker, but this time one with the first name of Kumar. There’s a 7 Train cross-reference in there somewhere.

    • chuck

      Everybody, it gets even better.

      The Honorable Andrew Hurwitz (the father of Jon Hurwitz, the screenwriter of the Harold and Kumar movies), now a Justice in the Ninth Circuit Court, was a law clerk for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Potter Stewart.

      On October 10, 1973, he wrote a memo to Justice Stewart that was misquoted by both Bob Woodward (in “The Brethren”) and George Will (in “Men at Work”).

      The memo was passed around the bench and pocketed by Associate Justice and pack rat Harry Blackmun, and released to the public five years after his death.

      The memo says

      RESIGNED !!

      METS 2
      REDS 0”

      Woodward got it wrong, and Will just copied him.

      Woodward wrote “Kranepool flies to right. Agnew resigns.”

      Ed Kranepool actually singled to left, batting in the first two runs for the Mets, and later grounded out to second. He never flew to right. Dave Smith of Retrosheet ( helped me with this, and I had an email conversation with both Justice Hurwitz and Terrance Perris, another of Stewart’s clerks.

      And for whatever it may be worth, Kalpen Suresh Modi (Kal Penn), who played Kumar, is presumably fond of Sunnyside.

  • eric1973

    Great Stuff, Chuck!


  • Steve

    If there’s one area Luis needs to work on it’s bullpen management. Every time I look up, he’s got a pitcher throwing 25 pitches, and usually it’s a guy who got hit the day before getting a quick redemption outing.

    Obviously, Diaz pitched amazingly the day before, but he never should have been out there for a 2nd inning with that in mind, after having thrown (I think) 18 pitches in the 8th.

    All in all, Luis could have constructed a better bullpen game and used Smith earlier if nothing else.

  • Eric


    The obvious patch is deGrom pitching in with 1 inning, maybe even 2 innings.

    My 1st guess disagreement with Rojas was giving Eickhoff the 5th inning. I thought that was pushing their luck. That was the spot for Smith to give an inning or 2. The bullpen gameplan wrecker was Familia giving up the 2-run HR and not pitching deeper. Castro struggling again hurt, but Familia could have saved the gameplan in between Eickhoff and Castro with a clean outing.

    With Diaz, big picture, I was okay with challenging him to close out the game under unusual conditions for future reference. As in postseason reference when he may be needed to pitch back to back days with a higher pitch count and more than 1 inning. Diaz failed this time, but it provides a data point to improve with.

  • eric1973

    Hey Seth, I was going to say the famous Harry Chiti, but all indications are his real name is Harry!

  • Seth

    The best baseball news ever arrived today — Manfred announced that the 7-inning 78%-header and extra-innings free runner will not continue. Unclear when exactly it will stop, but I am a happy camper (sorry, Keith)!

  • Eric

    The rest of this season is status quo. If the players want 7-inning doubleheader games and extra-inning ghost runners long term, maybe Manfred is just setting up some bargaining positions, alongside universal DH, for the looming CBA negotiations.

    . . . Friday seems awfully far away. Let’s go already.

  • […] first-place Mets look like a bunch of shambling oafs last Sunday to send us into the break miffed and muttering. And then the outcome of Friday’s game made that wretched loss look like a walk in the park. […]