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Zack in the New York Groove

If the Mets do indeed follow through on that hardy perennial threat every manager makes in August, implementation of a six-man rotation, we won’t necessarily have to be cognizant of the identity of a given game’s starting pitcher as it progresses. We’ll pick up on the vibe and instinctively match the moundsman to the occasion.

Things are going well for the Mets, though you sense they should be going better. Noah Syndergaard must be pitching.

Things might be going well for the Mets, yet you sense they’re about to fall apart. Steven Matz must be pitching.

Things are going better than you might have guessed for the Mets, though you understand there is no guarantee they will hold together. Corey Oswalt must be pitching.

Things are going terribly for the Mets. Jason Vargas must be pitching.

Things are going great for the Mets — except for the hitting. Jacob deGrom must be pitching.

And then there will be those days or nights when everything’s simply peachy. That’s when Georgia native Zack Wheeler [1] must be pitching.

Zack has emerged as that coffee-sipping dog in the THIS IS FINE [2] meme, except when Wheeler pitches, nothing has gone to blazes. The 2018 season, so hellish so often, turns serene when it’s his turn to throw. Things go great and stay great.

The latest evidence of Wheeler’s calming effect on a franchise otherwise swirling in a constant state of turmoil came Friday night in Miami as our own Commander Cody steered our generally lost planet airmen to victory. It was his fifth start in a row that was victorious for all concerned, himself included. There was no drama. There was no tension. There was just Zack in command for seven innings of four-hit, one-walk, eight-K ball. The only blemish was a two-run homer given up with two out in the seventh to pesky Miguel Rojas. The unwelcome activation of the Marlins’ loopy jumping fish contraption [3] cut the Mets’ lead to 4-2, but the score never got any closer. Zack finished out the seventh, handed matters off to the bullpen and collected a 6-2 win [4] for his superb efforts.

Overall, it was a triumph of the somnambulant, an amiably dull game you didn’t mind lacking bite once the Mets established an edge and Wheeler maintained it so masterfully. Good teams fly plenty of efficient 6-2 wins under the radar in the course of a year. Our team is entitled to one. The offensive star for the Mets was Austin Jackson [5], pretty much the offensive star of every Mets game lately. Austin Jackson is a .472 hitter since joining our ranks. Maintain that pace, pal, and you can stick around. Even if you can’t, you’ve become a swell August pick-me-up after we wondered why you were picked up in late July. Besides, unless Dom Smith is taking reps in center, it’s not like Jackson is blocking anybody on the depth chart.

Also chipping in three hits Friday was Amed Rosario [6]. I could swear Amed Rosario was scaling the heights a couple of weeks ago, ready to ascend to the next level of young stardom. Alas, a slump ensued, square one was revisited and we are left to hope anew that this might be the start of something big. So the kid is not an out-of-the-box supernova. Maybe it just means he’s built to last rather than fade away. When you’ve won four out of six, you can convince yourself of anything.

Hey, we’ve won four out of six. We lead the Marlins by three games. We will leave Miami not in last place. That’s a little something to relish amid the joyless prairie that 2018 flattened out into months ago. Sure, maybe a slightly higher draft pick is slipping away, but with victories so infrequent, I’ll take my chances with a potentially pyrrhic one.