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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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This Is Looking Like a Problem

The quickest way a team can demoralize its fanbase? OK, actually it’s to have an arsonist bullpen that routinely sets fire to victories so that they burn down into defeats.

But the second quickest way? It’s to routinely get great starting pitching and have it undone by an absolute lack of hitting. Which is something the Mets have offered us way too often of late.

Chris Bassitt was the latest victim, undone by a single bad pitch that led to a 2-0 Padres lead and a 2-1 Padres victory. Manny Machado‘s home run erased the fact that Bassitt struck out 11; ultimately, it also erased the Mets’ 1.5 game lead over the Terminator-like Atlanta Braves, now just half a game back after spanking the hapless Angels.

Half a game back as in could be half a game ahead tomorrow, but we’ll leave that bit of angst for a future post.

OK, I know what you’re wondering why I haven’t addressed yet. Yes, home-plate umpire Jim Wolf missed an 0-2 pitch on Machado that was clearly inside the strike zone. Instead of being out, Machado got another pitch — one he turned into a souvenir.

But these things happen. Bassitt missed his target by more than a foot, crossing up the umpire, and was philosophical about what had happened in postgame interviews: “It’s part of the game. It’s OK that he missed it, I just gotta make a much better pitch the pitch after that. That was a terrible pitch.”

The accountability is welcome, but more to the point, a guy who makes one bad pitch while fanning 11 shouldn’t be on the losing side of the equation. If that happens, the raised eyebrow shouldn’t be directed at the home-plate ump, or God, or anyone except his teammates — the ones apparently going to the plate holding their bats upside down.

The Mets put the leadoff runner aboard in six of nine innings, but said table-setting led to a run exactly once — a ninth-inning flurry that was more impotent pique than righteous uprising. It was a quietly infuriating night, emphasis on both qualifiers.

There have been too many of those double barrels — quiet bats, infuriating lack of results, great starting pitching gone by the boards.

All is not lost, of course. The Mets are still in first place, however tenuous their hold on said perch may have become. The team will almost certainly look different by Aug. 2, and in ways that involve more than importing various Pittsburgh Pirates. The players who remain after Aug. 2 will (presumably) revert to the mean and start putting up numbers more in keeping with what adorns the backs of their baseball cards.

But it would be nice if these things happened soonest. Because what’s happening now isn’t cutting it. It’s … well, quietly infuriating pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it?

7 comments to This Is Looking Like a Problem

  • Eric

    Looking ahead 1.5-2 weeks to when deGrom should be back, it defeats the purpose of fielding 2 aces and a good deep staff if the Mets starters are deGrom’ed every game.

    The offense is the opposite of what it was in the first half (game number, not all-star break) of the season.

    The offense wasting good pitching and creating no room for error feels like the 2015 pre-Cespedes/Conforto/Wright/Uribe/Johnson offense, the one with Mayberry batting clean-up and Collins touting Eric Campbell’s hard-hit rate.

    You didn’t mention the controversy over Showalter choosing to allow Nido to bat in the 9th with the tying run on 3rd with 2 outs instead of pinch-hitting McNeil. The decision made more sense when I looked up McNeil’s game log for his July numbers: .176/.276/.216, 2 RBIs in 51 ABs. Might as well bat Nido, who’s delivered his share of clutch hits, and give McNeil the full night off.

    What also stood out to me from allowing Nido to bat with the game on the line was the choice not to use the newly acquired bat. Rogers is left-handed. Apparently the organization has decided that designated hitter Vogelbach shouldn’t hit against lefties.

    • Lenny65

      From what I’ve read, Vogelbach CAN’T hit lefties, like at all. Kills righties, useless vs. lefties, that’s the book on him. I really hate it when they go into snooze mode. They’re getting starting pitching to DIE for, and it’s all for nothing. If they go into this horrible Subway Series and lay a big fat egg I’m going to be furious. And there’s no one or two guys to single out, it’s a team-wide hitting freeze. Ugh.

  • Ken K. in NJ

    Nimmo’s not getting on base, Alsonso’s not hitting home runs, Lindor’s not driving in runs, McNeil has dropped below 300, Escobar’s loud outs are now quiet outs, Guillorme’s breakout season now features 11 GIDPs, the DH spot is actually enhanced by the addition of a 213 career hitter, and the Catchers are worse hitters than the Mets pitchers would have been.

    One only hopes Cespedes/Uribe/Johnson-like help is on the way.

    • Lenny65

      I realize that it probably won’t stay like this, but does it have to happen now, with the Y*****s on the way? If they lose two to them, we’ll never hear the end of it. They have to win at least one of them, no ifs, ands or buts. Otherwise it’ll be non-stop “Mets aren’t ready for high caliber competition” for weeks on end.

  • Seth

    So yeah, everything Met from the last 5 years (no hitting) will change after the trade deadline, I’m sure. Help is on the way.

    36 years and counting…

  • eric1973

    No real problem at all.

    With the 3 Wildcards, we are a virtual shoo-in to get in.

    So no crocodile gnashing of teeth, please, as the regular season means nothing for us from here on in. We Met fans can remain on autopilot til the seedings come out.


  • Eric

    As few runs as the Mets have scored of late, how many of those runs have been “Manfred Man” ghost runners or gifts from bad defenses?