The bane of the East Coast baseball fan, the midweek late night West Coast start time, had avoided our drowsy chaperoning for more than five months, but every season will eventually find a reason to literally keep you awake when you should probably go to sleep. Maybe not a good reason, depending on how you view prying your eyelids open as a Tuesday becomes a Wednesday and the Mets revert to being the Mets, but the completists among us remain determined to stay awake.
Determination isn’t always good enough. Around midnight, with the Mets trailing the Dodgers, 5-4, I drifted off. Admittedly, like the Mets versus the Dodgers, I didn’t fight off my foe very effectively. I gave into a nap. The Mets apparently gave into whatever usually gets the best of them in Los Angeles because when I awoke around one o’clock, the Mets were trailing the Dodgers, 11-4.
What was wrong with Corey Oswalt and Jacob Rhame, perpetrators of the six-run seventh through which I sawed wood? Damned if I know. I’ll just take it on faith that it wasn’t their or our night. Oswalt could use some more consistent work, probably, but he had to be ousted from the rotation to the far reaches of the bullpen to provide stability for Jason Vargas, Tuesday night’s starting pitcher who never saw Wednesday morning Eastern Time. VARGY from the adorable Little League uniforms was one of the best kids you could ask to pitch. Vargas in plain ol’ road grays was again the guy whose ERA is too high to pass for a section number at Citi Field.
Rhame may just have residual vertigo from all the times he’s been down and up in 2018. Standard-issue option action aside, Jacob has three times out of five been the Mets’ choice for 26th man on those occasions when the roster temporarily expanded because of makeup doubleheaders and the like. In other words, when it’s Rhames, it’s poured.
Predictably, Rhame was the designated extra fellow for the resumption of the suspended game in Chicago last week and then got to stick around as Kevin Plawecki tore himself away from the Mets for a few days, having made some ridiculous excuse (oh right, his first child was being born). By September 1, it apparently wasn’t worth the trouble to option Rhame again, so he continued to be available to expand five-run deficits into the seven-run variety while New York nods off.
Earlier — not long after Rich Hill straightened himself out from feeding a couple of gopher balls to Mets batters, which he seems to do every start against us — history came trotting in from the visitors bullpen, succeeding Tyler Bashlor, who initially succeeded Vargas. History technically wore No. 70, but its true numerical significance could be found in the sighting of the 55th Met of the season, the first time there’s ever been one. Eric Hanhold ’s maiden entry into a 2018 Mets game (not to mention Major League Baseball) meant we’ve officially had more personnel traffic this year than in any other year, most notably 1967, when there were 54 Mets losing 101 times. Nobody stopped the game to authenticate the 24-year-old righthander we received last season from Milwaukee in exchange for turncoat Neil Walker, but Hanhold did OK for himself, regardless, throwing a scoreless inning-and-a-third, setting the stage for brief adequate outings from Daniel Zamora and Paul Sewald, leading to the wholly inadequate activity rendered by Oswalt and Rhame.
Exceptions certainly exist, but when you fall asleep with the Mets having used five pitchers and you stir to find them on their seventh, it’s probably a sign that the game was not worth waking up for .