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The Honeymoon Is Over

In what I suppose one could say is a sign of relative normalcy, I’m disgusted by the Mets and want them to go away.

No! Not really go away! But … well, sort of. Because I was so happy to have three hours of solace a night, and instead the last two nights the Mets have brought me three-plus hours of angst, frustration and finally out-and-out anger.

Don’t Drink Out of a Glass Because You Might Bite Through It anger.

Don’t Touch the Remote Because It Will Be Tempting to Hurl It anger.

It’s all fairly familiar, and I could go for the easy COVID “Nature Is Healing” joke here. Except I feel variously blistered and chafed and thoroughly irritable.

Wednesday night’s sloggy mess was long enough without extending it further in memory, so let’s just say that it sucked, and if you really want to revisit [1] exactly how it sucked, Greg can supply all the masochism you apparently need. Thursday night was different in some ways but agonizingly the same in every way that ultimately mattered. On Wednesday the Mets hit except when it mattered; on Thursday they barely hit at all. On Wednesday Jacob deGrom [2] was blameless except for his choice of employers; on Thursday Steven Matz [3] was betrayed by poor location on key pitches, particularly to Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez [4], whom I’d like never to think about again after what he did to us in this series.

In the seventh the Mets had the tying run on second with nobody out; Wilson Ramos [5] grounded out, Brandon Nimmo [6] struck out and Amed Rosario [7] grounded out. In the eighth the Mets had the tying run on third with one out; Michael Conforto [8] struck out. In the ninth … except oh wait, the bottom of the ninth only theoretically mattered because in the top of the ninth Edwin Diaz [9] came in. He gave up two walks and a single, fanned Rafael Devers [10], then hit Jose Peraza [11] to force in an insurance run the Red Sox turned out not to need [12].

Except wait — Diaz actually hit Peraza twice in the at-bat. No, I’m not kidding, and no, this is not another absurd 2020 wrinkle Rob Manfred decided might be the thing to make the kids stop with the texting and the TikTok and watch baseball. The first time, Diaz hit Peraza in the thumb, except he swung through the pitch so it was merely a very painful strike. Not to worry — he managed to do it again. I’d ask how that’s possible, except if you’d spun that scenario for me and asked me what Met it had happened to, I’d have looked at you unhappily and guessed it was Diaz.

Diaz was arguably unlucky in failing to lock down the season’s second game against Atlanta, when Marcell Ozuna [13] hit a pretty good pitch (albeit a carbon copy of one Diaz had used earlier) for an opposite-field home run. But this night was on him. If there was a silver lining — and it’s an awfully faint one — after the game Luis Rojas [14] did not offer some earnestly dim-bulb Mickey Callaway [15] horseshit about Proven Veterans™ and their knowing the game; instead, he said that wasn’t the Diaz the Mets had seen in summer camp and suggested his struggles were as much about controlling his emotions on the mound as command and mechanics. That’s not the usual baseball omerta, which is refreshing; so is the possibility that Diaz won’t get another scholarship year as closer based on what he did in some arriviste minor league two seasons ago.

(Oh wait, though. If you’d asked me the hit-a-guy-twice question, the other pitcher I would have picked would have been Paul Sewald [16]. Sewald came in after Diaz was excused further duty, and if this were a regulation July I really think I might have turned off the TV and read about it in the morning. So of course, baseball being baseball, Sewald recorded a strikeout and a flyout to exit unscathed. Will wonders never cease?)

If I squint and try to reason with the foaming-at-the-mouth WFAN caller in my head, I can see that the Mets aren’t actually far off — some bad luck here, some pressing at the plate there, some rust, some roles that need to be sorted. A couple of at-bats go differently over the last two days, and they just swept the Red Sox and we’re talking about revenge against the Braves.

But they didn’t do any of that. The honeymoon’s over and the apartment’s too small and our significant other is doing That Thing We Hate again, and we keep looking into the sink filled with dishes someone else should have done and wondering, with a sinking feeling that suggests we already know the answer, if this is going to work.