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Where Did Everybody Go?

The Mets entered their series against the Nationals with a clear shot at the top spot in their division and exited it scrambling for positioning in the Wild Card race. They scored four runs in the first three innings on Monday, two in the last inning on Wednesday and none in the intervening twenty-three. One starting pitcher was overwhelmed by the running game. Another starting pitcher was undermined by the rain. A third was no match for his opponent. Elbow spurs have been revealed as present in two valuable arms. The lineup on any given night is not only dull, it is unfamiliar, stocked primarily with relative strangers and contingency additions who simply don’t inspire a midsummer’s passion. Next up: four contests against the consensus best team in baseball.

It wasn’t long ago that a Met season teetered on the brink only to straighten up and soar to the stars [1], leading one to conclude you can’t give up, no matter how tempting doing so seems.

Though, boy, after getting swept three by the Nationals [2] and losing four in a row overall, it sure seems tempting.

Nah, can’t think like that. Eighty-five games remain. A playoff spot is still within reach. Ebb tide is bound to be followed by high, valleys by peaks, eighteen losses in thirty games by…well, there are no guarantees, but opportunity lies ahead.

As do the Cubs. Had to play ’em sooner or later. What the hell, we’re on a four-game winning streak against them. So let’s go get ’em, Neil and Asdrubal and James and Alejandro and René!

Seriously, sometimes I wonder who these guys are. I root for them, even if a year ago I was no more than mildly aware of their existence. Turnover and attrition are part of baseball, but some years are more jarring than others in that regard. I look at the Mets who are Mets now and I have to ask, whatever became of the Mets who were Mets for so long?

***

Anybody here seen our old friend Daniel?
Can you tell us where he’s gone?
He missed a lot of grounders and threw to the wrong base
But in the batting race he’s listed number one

Anybody here seen our old friend Jose?
Can you tell us where he’s gone?
His career got rocky when he moved to Colorado
They say Jose’s playing third in Binghamton

Anybody here seen our old friend David?
Can you tell us where he’s gone?
He’s got stenosis and a herniated neck disk
He can’t help us chase down first-place Washington

Didn’t you love these guys when with us?
Didn’t they drive in a couple occasionally?
Maybe even three?
Some day soon, we’ll score that many

Anybody here seen our old friend Lucas?
He was someone we’d all like
I hear he’s weeks from beginning baseball activities
Though reportedly he’s pedaling his stationary bike