It’s a point that arrives in every season. The game where…
…your head and heart aren’t really in it.
…you have a feeling that comeback you’re dreaming of is going to remain just a dream.
…the loss, when it comes, feels both foreordained and like a herald of more to come.
Turns out that point arrives in shortened little improv seasons too.
The Mets lost  to the Phillies on Friday night, 5-3. Rick Porcello , who’s pretty much been terrible all season, pitched quite well. Everything I just wrote about Porcello could also be written about his opponent, Jake Arrieta. If there was any novelty to this game, it was the sight of two former Cy Young  Award winners reduced to whittling away at their sky-high ERAs, like finding a pair of rich-guy sports cars under the rotted-out, flapping remnants of tarps in the corner of some particularly motley junkyard.
Jared Hughes  surrendered the go-ahead run on a sharp little grounder by Roman Quinn  off the hand of a diving Andres Gimenez  — not an error but one of those plays you’d like to see made that wasn’t. Another run came in on a throw Dom Smith couldn’t handle at first. Brad Brach  hit a batter with the bases loaded. Michael Conforto  hit a two-run homer, continuing his remarkable season, but the Mets’ chances evaporated in the eighth, when Rhys Hoskins  dove to snag a line drive off the bat of Robinson Cano  that was ticketed for the right-field corner. The Mets were down two with runners on first and second and one out when Hoskins made the play; instead of being down one with a gimme run on third, they were in the same situation with two out. That play, for all intents and purposes, was the ballgame.
Afterwards, Luis Rojas  told the media via Zoom that “there’s some mistakes we have got to minimize in the amount of games we have left. We have 21 games left. We are not thinking time is running out or anything like that, but we do have to play clean baseball. We have to play good baseball.”
Managers are paid to say obvious, vaguely dopey things after losses like this one. Often, they don’t really believe those things and nobody who knows the game and the media rituals around it expects them to. But yes, time is running out. Yes, the Mets are definitely thinking that and some associated things like it. Yes, the Mets have to play clean/good baseball. But for most of this curtailed season they haven’t done that, and there’s nothing obvious to make you think that’s about to change.