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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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Bad Math

Well, if you want to view the glass as an eighth full, I suppose Seth Lugo solved the Mets’ bullpen-availability problem.

A night after watching Max Scherzer do maximum damage to the Braves, the Mets turned to David Peterson, who wasn’t nearly as flashy as his ace counterpart but was pretty damn good, ping-ponging between his fastball and his slider and leaving Atlanta off-balance and out of kilter. But Peterson’s pitch count was climbing, as it so often does, and a hard-earned 1-0 lead was looking even skinnier than that skinny vertical number would indicate as he tried to get through the fifth with a pitch count that neared 100 and then went over it.

Peterson was out there because the Mets had a bullpen problem looming ahead of them: no Edwin Diaz after being used three days in a row, and if sartorial clues count most likely no Adam Ottavino either. Which left … well, who, exactly? Drew Smith, whose early successes have been followed by too many failures? Seth Lugo, who’s become serially unreliable? Colin Holderman, who’s been good but one fears is living on borrowed time? Tommy Hunter, a likeable stalwart but one whose mileage and track record don’t inspire confidence?

No, Buck Showalter counted up the outs left to get and gambled that a tired Peterson was a better bet to reduce that number than turning to someone else and setting those tired-reliever dominoes falling.

Peterson didn’t get a lot of help when home-plate ump Andy Fletcher ruled strike three on Dansby Swanson was somehow a ball. (Before you rush to the barricades, Fletcher was at least consistently inconsistent, ringing up various other Braves on balls that didn’t look like strikes.) It looked like Peterson had escaped when Matt Olson clubbed a ball down the right-field line that somehow went just foul, but in fact the inevitable had merely been delayed. Olson got a pitch as much to his liking if not more so and smashed this one into a tree behind center field, its flight measured from the ground by a forlorn Brandon Nimmo.

Y’know what? I enjoyed that trick far more when Cliff Floyd was the one performing it.

That was Peterson’s last pitch; he departed down 2-1 and handed the ball off to Lugo, who was good for one inning and bad for another and so let the game get out of reach.

One game blah blah blah blah etc. etc. etc., but the Mets have a bullpen problem. There are exactly two reliable guys out there, with a bunch of journeymen who make you flinch and youngsters you fear are overdue to turn back into pumpkins. And somehow the thought of Trevor May riding to the rescue doesn’t make me feel like everything will be OK.

The Mets have a bullpen problem. I sure hope they solve it, because this team’s been a lot of fun to watch and I’d like to watch them for a chunk of the fall that in recent years has been open for other forms of entertainment.

But hey, while it may not be a solution, at least the two trustworthy guys should be rested for Wednesday afternoon.

4 comments to Bad Math

  • I agree with you on relief pitching but as the season progresses I’m becoming more concerned about our lack of power in the lineup. I’m actually not a huge fun of power baseball – part of the beauty of the game IMO is when men are on base, someone puts it in play, and everything starts moving like some strange, almost choreographed dance movement.

    But comparing us with, say, the Braves who right now have 7 people with double-digit HRs and we have 2. It’s just too easy to pitch around to a player where a mistake means a single or double vs a 3-run HR. We have players like Escobar and Dom who have shown power in the past but it’s not happening.

    On the plus side the lineup is good enough to be dangerous against “just OK” pitching. But I’m afraid we’ll struggle the rest of the year against top staffs.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    Bullpen problem??? Did you take a look at Today’s Lineup?