It's amazing how one 1-11 stretch can ruin an entire 162-game season.Before the All-Star break, the Mets were a mere 4.5 games behind the first-place Nationals in the NL East. Now, they're 12.5 games out. They have also fallen 9 games back of a wildcard berth. Just like that, after a span of 2 short weeks, a large measure of hope has been drained from the 2012 season.This past week, the Mets had a relatively successful west coast road trip, going 6-5. They took 3 out of 4 from a tough Giants team (but predictably lost 2 of 3 from an awful Padres team). Still, you'd take that 9 out of 10 times.However, following the 12-game stretch that occurred after the All-Star break (which included an 0-6 homestand), playing just a few games over .500 won't cut it anymore. The Mets need to get on a nice, long winning streak, or at least a stretch of games where they are a good 5-7 games over .500, or else the dog days of August are going to be a tougher slog than usual.This season was always a rebuilding year, whether the front office used those words or not. The word "rebuilding" can be box office poison for a sports franchise, especially one located in New York. Playing the kind of competitive baseball the Mets did in the first half sure made this season fun. But those 12 little games may have inexorably changed the complexion of the season.It was always about the future, but playing meaningful games in the present was nice while it lasted.