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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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Trap Game

I suppose I should have seen it coming — a beat-up team coming home (or at least to its hometown) after a bonkers throwdown in Philadelphia that had to have left everyone involved down to their last dregs of adrenaline. The Mets didn’t look like they had anything in the tank Monday night against the Yankees, and the Yankees — despite multiple soap operas’ worth of recent troubles — looked like their scouting report had said as much. Domingo German and his relief corps were relentless in attacking the strike zone, turning the Mets’ vaunted patience against them and keeping them off-balance from first pitch until final out.

The offense managed a single good moment: Daniel Vogelbach‘s swat into the bleachers just after Yanks’ second baseman Oswaldo Cabrera pulled a Castillo, bumping into his own right fielder and giving the Mets a free runner that Vogelbach was quick to cash. But even that’s reaching for a comparison. Luis Castillo‘s infamous muff ended a ballgame, turning a nail-biter of a win into a dagger-in-the-heart loss, a moment I stew about on some sleepless nights. Cabrera’s misplay? It just let the Mets smear some lipstick on a pig.

Max Scherzer also ran into the kind of game that had started to feel inevitable: He hasn’t looked quite his indomitable self the last three starts, with his location just a touch off and everything else oh so slightly miscalibrated as a result. He kept the Mets in the game, of course — Scherzer’s off-nights are evenings plenty of pitchers would kill for — but lost a heavyweight rematch against Aaron Judge and was tormented by Andrew Benintendi, the former Red Sock who joins a long list of guys who will always look out of uniform in pinstripes.

Scherzer entered the night with a career record of 199-99, a number that makes my OCD spike just looking at it. The wrong number turned over, as it did for the Mets. It happens — exhaustion doesn’t care if it’s your crosstown rivals on the other side of a bleary-eyed bus ride — and frankly it’s a testament to this year’s club that we’re all a bit surprised that it did. The 2022 Mets have pulled so many long-eared creatures out of so many pieces of headgear that a double-take seems warranted on nights when a hat turns out just to be a hat.

(From the Paranoia Department: I was convinced this was all my fault, so I ran the numbers from each of your chroniclers’ last 10 recaps. Turns out I’m 6-4, which isn’t as bad as I’d guessed. But Mr. Prince? The man’s 9-1!)

5 comments to Trap Game

  • Eric

    Scherzer’s dead arm in last year’s playoffs loom. Now a year older, Scherzer’s reduced effectiveness over his last 3 starts indicates he needs extra rest.

    But the Braves’ unrelenting pursuit and the injuries among and extra rest needed by his fellow starting pitchers, such as deGrom being pushed back, won’t allow Scherzer that extra rest. The same can be said for the position players, like Alonso, who are flagging or playing hurt.

    The Braves may or may not win the division but their pursuit itself can disallow much-needed rest and wear down the older, hurting Mets so that even if the Mets hang onto the division, they’ll be too fatigued to rise to the competition in the play-offs.

  • eric1973

    My own Metsie-Sense tells me it was time that Sugar was on the verge of blowing one anyway, and since it would have been last night, it is just as well he did not get that chance.

    He will be fine tonight, however. :)

  • Curt Emanuel

    A win tonight and split would make this an OK stretch – 5-5 road trip and 7-6 overall for one of the toughest stretches of games I can recall seeing, outside of the postseason.

    In the glass 1/4 full category, Lucchesi has started a rehab assignment at A-ball.

    In the glass 3/4 empty, I haven’t figured out deGrom’s start being pushed back. Supposedly he had an issue during the warmup before his LAST start? Wondering if that was mis-reported as it makes no sense to me.

    Not sure I’ll ever trust his arm not to fall off during a season again but making his regular rotation start and going 100 pitches 5-6 times in a row would be a start.

    • mikeL

      tough indeed! after that sunday slog it was announced that the mets had taken 3 of 4. couldn’t believe it at first, as it was so draining just from the couch.
      yea bumping jake (who looked merely human last start)to bring in a recently(?) hurt walker gives me the willies.
      glass half full is the season post dodgers.

  • Seth

    Well, look at it this way: if Max wins his next start, he’ll be 200-100, which should make our sense of symmetry happy.