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In Another Life We’d Be Snakes

Welp, that first West Coast trip is out of the way, and the Mets went 3-4, but 2-87 if you adjust the results by Depressed Met Fan Black Cloud Overhead Factor.

2-87 is obviously horrible, and in our spiritual standings the Mets are now 10,462 games out of first place.

3-4, on the other hand, is not horrendous for a week of playing on the other side of the continent in the middle of the night, and fans who make do with primitive stats such as wins and losses opened the paper (an obsolete physical medium) this morning to find the Mets in first place in the NL East by an entire half-game over the Nationals.

So what happened [1]? Jacob deGrom [2] was great, and Josh Collmenter [3] was very far from that. The Mets clubbed four homers off Collmenter: two by Curtis Granderson [4], one by Wilmer Flores [5] (whose Shortstop-O-Meter is currently reading EH MAYBE NOT SO BAD AFTER ALL), and one by Eric Campbell [6].

Campbell had one of those redemption games: In the first inning he goosed a double-play throw into the dirt at second base, turning two out and none on into a mess that cost deGrom two runs and the lead and sent the Twitterati (including this representative) marching on Sandy Alderson’s house with virtual pitchforks. So in the second Campbell hit a long home run into the seats to give the Mets back the lead and restore his own karmic balance. SNY’s cameras then caught Campbell apparently apologizing to deGrom for the lapse, with Jake grinning and life-is-granding his way through the exchange like he was selling another Ford.

Another good note from SNY: The Mets and Diamondbacks could be some unfortunate mother’s bizarrely different siblings. The Mets can pitch but can’t hit or field while the Diamondbacks can hit and field (particularly their annoyingly gazelle-like outfielders) but can’t pitch. Which started me down the road of a post sagely explaining that starting pitching is the foundation of everything, until I started poking around the expanded standings.

The Mets are 31-27 and have scored five runs more than they’ve surrendered; the D-Backs are 27-29 and have scored seven more runs than they’ve surrendered. The Mets are a half-game up in a division that’s scuffling along, while Arizona’s 4 1/2 out in a tougher slate. The only real difference between these two clubs is the quality of their neighbors; subtract that and they are essentially the same team. They’ve just taken different routes to getting to that same place.

The interesting question for the Mets is whether they get to be a different team soon. Travis d’Arnaud [7] should be back within a few days, displacing Kevin Plawecki [8], who’s shown enough to give you hopes about his future while thinking his present should still be in Las Vegas. Dilson Herrera [9] also looks close to returning, which should put the aforementioned Campbell out of a job, followed in a couple of weeks by Ruben Tejada [10]. Bobby Parnell [11] is due to return Wednesday despite not looking ready for duty, while the slightly less-unready-looking Vic Black [12] was activated and sent to Las Vegas, which struck some Mets fans smarter than me as a slightly shenanigansy prelude to a transaction that would do the opposite of what I just wrote. Whatever the case, one of them should soon replace someone, probably the not-yet-ready Jack Leathersich [13].

The point is that the Mets should look different in a week, and if d’Arnaud and Herrera are sound and Parnell/Black can improve on Leathersich’s body of work they should be better. That’s a lot of ifs, granted, but how many ifs were required to get us to being injured and profoundly weird and also in first place on June 9?