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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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Stop Sprinting

On Saturday the Mets lost an oddly desultory affair to the Diamondbacks, 3-2. The ingredients were all there for yet another walk-on-air game: pregame honors for Gil Hodges, pleasant weather, a new statue to admire (haven’t seen it yet but can’t wait), and a big revved-up crowd eager to celebrate.

But having all the ingredients doesn’t ensure that the souffle won’t fall. The Mets and D’Backs ground along scoreless, which was equal parts heartening (Carlos Carrasco looks great!) and dis- (we can’t score a run against freaking Zac Gallen?), until Seth Lugo gave up a two-run homer to nonslugger Sergio Alcantara, followed by a run-scoring double by Ketel Marte. The Mets fought back with a two-run homer by Starling Marte, but it wasn’t enough, particularly not with Mark Melancon on the hill in the ninth. Melancon’s uniform seems to change every year, but the arsenal is the same cruel metronome — cutters on hitters’ hands and curves that dive out of the strike zone, generally with dispiriting effect.

It was one of those games that felt like a slow-moving avalanche that would eventually turn in the Mets’ favor — surely those Arizona outfielders would stop staggering under balls at the last moment to safely cradle them, and surely the Mets bats would discover their recent potency with this latest reliever — except then the hour was late and the avalanche somehow hadn’t happened and then the game was over and so that was definitely the case.

Blame? If I were determined to apportion some, I suppose I could craft an anguished paragraph about how Lugo has looked crummy in two out of his three most recent outings. I could offer you a pitch-by-pitch breakdown to decry how Pete Alonso came to the plate after a four-pitch walk and practically jumped out of his shoes at a pitch he couldn’t drive, producing a fatal double play.

Neither of those airings of grievances would be wrong — Lugo did indisputably look lousy and Pete was pretty obviously overeager. It’s more that it’s so early that I’m suspicious of the context — of any context. In April we’re filling in big patterns via extrapolation from a handful of dots, and a lot of those perceived patterns will be obviously just static by May. Joely Rodriguez looked awful in his first couple of Met outings but was effective today, stuck with the loss through no particular fault of his own. Alonso has been an RBI machine in the early going, even if he hit an empty chamber when needed today. Lugo has enough of a track record that he deserves more than to be discarded before Tax Day. Carrasco’s first two outings have been heartening, but let’s see him a few more times before we declare that he’s healthy and all is well.

It’s a marathon, yet we’re out here sprinting, sweating like sprinkler heads and gasping with our tongues hanging out of our mouths. I know that’s hard to resist when it’s a beautiful day and everyone around you is hooting and hollering. But it’s no way to finish the race. Pace yourself. Take water breaks. Stick with the pack. We’ve got a long way to go and a lot to see — and no idea what scenery lies ahead.

8 comments to Stop Sprinting

  • Eric

    Lugo is looking suspiciously like Gsellman at the hit-hard end of, not the promising beginning of, his Mets tenure.

  • eric1973

    I love(d) Lugo, but he did not just drop out of the sky this Opening Day. He used to be great, until last year. So he has a track record that is going, going…… hopefully not gone.

    Joely looked good yesterday. He did just drop out of the sky, so we shall see. Castro was no great shakes last year, so I’m willing to not jump to any conclusions just yet.

  • Enjoyed reading this. The writing is entertaining, summed up the game’s main points succinctly, and you’re right about the sprint, marathon, (and souffles.)

  • Steve

    I think we have seen the best of Seth Lugo and I don’t think we will see it again. One of GKR mentioned he was a few miles off his fastball this year. I also think that Buck is using him a bit more often than he has been in the past – due to the TJ injury. In any event, he will not be back next year.

    On the other hand, I expect Melancon to be wearing a different uniform within 100 days or so.

  • Greg Mitchell

    Meanwhile, Syracuse “team” is 1-9 and getting clobbered every single game. Lee, supposedly a nice prospect, is at .074. I know the future is in Binghamton, but yikes. Nogosek doing ok so maybe he can be a callup at some point but Mets will need to trade for a good reliever soon…..

  • eric1973

    Maybe a Met uniform, Steve!
    That 12 to 6 looked lethal, and we got a chance to see it firsthand.

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