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Same Shrug, Different Year

A year is a perfect amount of time to forget stuff you think it’s obvious you’ll remember.

Example: We go to LBI every year. For years we returned with lessons learned about what to bring next time, what not to bring, when to depart to avoid traffic and other tips. We never wrote them down, because they were fresh in the mind and surely we’d remember when late August came around again.

Yeah right. After about seven or eight years of making the same mistakes, we finally got home and immediately made a list. Problem solved long after it should have been. Maybe one day we’ll do the same thing for our annual spring party so we stop having too much of this and too little of that, just like last year and the year before that. Ask me in a year if we’ve managed it yet.

This talk of forgetfulness and lassitude brings us to the Mets, because this is about the time of year that two things inevitably spring to mind.

The first always comes out of nowhere — a sudden stab of regret that the last truly memorable game of the year may be behind us, that there is no stirring comeback or sterling pitching performance left on the shrinking schedule. It always pains me to think that the rest of the year may be a mix of plodding wins and dispiriting losses, all of them instantly disposable. The prospect of having the Mets yanked out of my life is bad enough without thinking that there may be little left to make me want them to stick around.

Remind me of this when Zack Wheeler is sitting on the bench and Aaron Harang is doing what even the Mariners got tired of watching Aaron Harang do. Aaron Harang, sweet Jesus. Why not just let Anthony Recker give it another go?

The second thought often comes right on the heels of the first — a grim certainty that the Mets are done, cooked and spent, destined to be speed bumps and roadkill for better teams preparing for October. Certainly that’s what they looked like tonight in Atlanta. Carlos Torres pitched, well, bravely until he ran out of gas and started getting whacked around. (This was immediately after Terry Collins let him bat with two outs and runners on the corners. I think Terry should return, but some of his on-field decisions should go whereever he sent that high-strung, overamped personality we were all warned about when he arrived.)* Daniel Murphy was stronger than dirt as usual, but it wasn’t enough. As for Travis d’Arnaud, he fought former Met Luis Ayala through a lengthy at-bat in the eighth. I was ready to anoint him a Met hero, but he popped out to second, and since the eighth is really the ninth with Craig Kimbrel out there, the rest was an exercise in pointlessness even by the Mets’ current low standards.

It was a better showing [1] than Monday’s disaster, but that’s not much praise. And one wonders how much praise there will be to offer until this strange see-saw of a season is over. Just like one wonders whether I’ll be startled by the same milestones a year from now.

* Unfair on further review. Torres was at 66 pitches, bullpen got clobbered cleaning up Matsuzaka’s latest mess yesterday.