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Off Again

This win-one/lose-one pattern the Mets have settled into is, if nothing else, steadying. You can set your watch by it, assuming you still wear a watch. Even adjusting for rainouts, you know what’s coming. If it’s the second game on a Tuesday — and the first game on a Tuesday was a loss — then it must be a win [1]. If it’s a Wednesday following that second Tuesday game, it must be a loss.

Wednesday was, in fact, a loss [2]. Funny, we thought Jeurys Familia [3] was just as predictable after 52 consecutive regular-season saves. Something had to give. Yadier Molina [4] (natch), Kolten Wong [5] and the twelve Mets batters who didn’t drive in their teammates who stood waiting in scoring position ensured the ninth would give the game to the Cardinals.

Familia took the loss, but don’t be too hard on the fella. He hadn’t blown one of these babies in almost exactly a year. He was due. Only two relievers had ever successfully played 52 Pickup before. Even allowing for parentheticals (Jeurys gave up a four-run lead to Los Angeles earlier this year and there were those three World Series saves that didn’t get converted), it was a helluva streak. Familia has done his job.

Not everybody has, 100 on-again, off-again games in. The Mets are consistently inconsistent. The last dozen contests in which they’ve won one, lost one, won one, lost one and so on and so forth make for a pretty telling microcosm. This is a 53-47 team that is markedly better than it looks when it looks bad and likely less imposing than we’d like to believe when it looks good…which it does every other game.

But not that good. Except when Yoenis Cespedes [6] gets ahold of one, as he did versus Adam Wainwright [7] in the culmination of an epic seventh-inning at-bat. Yo put us ahead, 4-3, after the Mets didn’t hit nearly enough, but Logan Verrett [8] pitched just well enough. Verrett had one tough inning, a three-run third, but otherwise didn’t look bad.

Met looks can be alternately deceiving and confirming, so who knows? The standings say the Mets are in contention, if not in command. The calendar says the Mets are on the clock (which they can set via their stubborn .500 tendencies). The trade deadline lurks Monday. Last year, as if you didn’t know, it brought Cespedes. If the Mets could go out and get him again, that would be fantastic, but it’s also fantasy. As Terry Collins has suggested, it would be swell if the players already here could play like the players they are.

Maybe that’s exactly what they’re doing.

I hope you’ll join me at Hoboken’s Little City Books, Monday night, August 8, for some Mets discussion, featuring my book Amazin’ Again. Full details here [9].