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Rambling On After San Diego

Dillon Gee [1] didn’t look so hot, but neither did Craig Kimbrel [2], and Craig Kimbrel is a big deal. Plus Kimbrel only pitches ninth innings, usually. Gee pitches firsts, seconds, maybe a couple more…

Usually Gee pitches fifths and then some. Usually he’s in a five-man rotation. Usuallys are hard to gauge some nights.

Kimbrel, I hear, hasn’t been such a big deal kind of pitcher since going to San Diego. Nor did he appear to be one when I awoke in the middle of the ninth inning Wednesday to see him do his no longer automatically impressive thing. The game that was out of hand when I nodded off was creeping back into fingernail territory. Kimbrel wasn’t retiring the Mets with ease. There was a semblance of a rally unfurling. It didn’t seem worth stirring from the couch for, but before I knew it, I was up on my feet.

I had to go to the bathroom, which explains the feet part. But when I returned, I stood in front of the TV like something was about to happen. Maybe the Mets were going to pull one of their patented Kimbrel Klobberings out of their old kit bag. They stuck it to him in Atlanta that one time [3], I seem to recall.

Anyway, I stayed on my feet long enough to see the Mets scratch the surface of possibility. They had made a 7-0 game 7-3; they had loaded the bases with two out; they had made the former Brave relief ace squirm; and they had Lucas Duda [4] — their threat — up to conceivably tie the game, or at least keep it going. Gary Cohen, probably intending to stoke hope, announced Duda was 1-for-11 in his career versus Kimbrel, but that one was a home run.

Yes, I thought, but those other ten were outs.

The twelfth at-bat was also. When it was, I got off my feet and back to the couch for the postgame coverage, which, in its Bobby Ojedaless state, put me out like a light.

Or a Met.

The game was long gone before the ninth. I was long gone before the fifth, despite my own insufficient last-minute rally. Gee, who you might remember from the pre-Syndergaard era, was a starting pitcher again because if five pitchers are good, six must be incredible.

Or not. Dillon was rusty or off his game or the victim of the gaping defensive void at third base. What he wasn’t was a spectacular endorsement of six-man rotations.

Maybe it’ll work eventually. Maybe it’ll be quickly shuffled [5] into the deck of Met trivia Hideo Nomo [6] disappeared into the last time [7] the Mets tried this unorthodox maneuver. That was seventeen years ago. It was such a good idea, the Mets decided to keep it under wraps until now.

While we’re taking the measure of the easy targets — superfluous starters, out-of-position infielders — let’s not forget the Mets didn’t score until they were losing by seven. Nothing clicked. So what the hell, mark this one down as a team defeat [8], a systemic failure, a sleep-inducing effort whose end teased a little but satisfied not at all.

One third of the season is now over. The Mets are on pace to win 87 games. Do with that what you will. The 1962 Mets were on pace to win 48 games after a third of a season and won 40. The 1969 Mets were on pace to win 87 games after a third of a season and won 100. The 2005 Mets were on pace to win 84 games after a third of a season and won 83. I guesstimated the 2015 Mets would win 84 games this year. They are exceeding my guesstimations through a third of a season, so I should be ecstatic.

Instead, I’m still a little groggy.