The Orioles are one of the few teams that are having an even more depressing season than the Mets, sitting at 35-84. Jason Vargas is on the mound against the much-better-but-still-boring-and-bad Andrew Cashner. As a cherry on top of this shitty game sundae, Gary Cohen is on vacation for this series, with Wayne Randazzo taking over play-by-play duties.
At this point, the Mets should be paying us for watching this crap.
At the same time, maybe not, because baseball is a wonderful, weird, wacky game that you can’t predict. So of course, Andrew Cashner vs Jason Vargas turned into a pitcher’s duel. Vargas gave up singles to the first two batters he faced, but Jonathan Villar was thrown out stretching for two and Renato Nunez was erased on a double play. Cashner, meanwhile, set the first nine Mets down in order. Both teams faced the minimum through three innings, locked in a scoreless tie.
Jeff McNeil got the Mets’ first hit with one out in the fourth, but was stranded at first. In the bottom half, the Orioles also broke through, with a walk, double, and sacrifice fly giving them a 1-0 lead. The Mets replied right away, however, putting the first two men on in the top of the fifth and ultimately scoring runs on RBI singles from Kevin Plawecki and Amed Rosario to take a 2-1 lead.
Vargas worked around a single in the bottom of the fifth to preserve his new lead, which was significant as it gave him a chance to record an out in the sixth inning for the first time this year. He got that out, but then immediately surrendered a game-tying home run to Adam Jones. A walk and a double play ended the inning and gave Vargas his first quality start of the year, but the game was once again tied.
Ironically, with Jacob deGrom getting run support, Vargas was now receiving the deGrom treatment. The offense failed to provide him any help (two runs against Andrew Cashner and the Orioles is pretty pathetic), and the bullpen immediately imploded once Vargas was out of the game. Bobby Wahl gave up a home run to Chris Davis in the seventh and set the Orioles up for another run with two walks. Paul Sewald followed that up by giving up a two-run home run to Tim Beckham in the eighth. The Mets headed to the ninth down 6-2.
This is the Orioles, of course, so the game wouldn’t end without at least a bit of dysfunction. Miguel Castro entered and allowed a leadoff triple to Brandon Nimmo, then threw the ball away on an infield single by Todd Frazier that allowed Nimmo to score and put the game-tying run on deck. Buck Showalter had seen enough, and he brought in Mychal Givens, who promptly shut down the Mets rally with a strikeout, pop out and check-swing groundout.
The 6-3 loss drops the Mets to 50-67, putting them on an extremely nice 69-win pace. Zack Wheeler takes the mound against the Baltimore ace, Dylan Bundy (owner of a 4.70 ERA), this evening to conclude the two-game set.
Thoughts from the Game
The only real takeaway from this game is that the Mets bullpen is still Bad. The pile of right-handed relievers they traded for over the past two years along with the handful they developed internally are largely unimpressive. Further exacerbating this, the team still hasn’t promoted the other potential relievers still in the minors – most notably, Eric Hanhold, Adonis Uceta and Stephen Villines. Don’t expect the team to spend to fix this issue in the offseason, however. Instead, prepare for a full season of Bobby Wahl, Jacob Rhame and Paul Sewald running ERAs in the 4s on a very bad Mets team.
Boring game aside, bear with me for a personal anecdote. My building on the Columbia campus has a door man named Jay. Jay is generally a cool dude. We all like Jay. Today I found out his last name is Vargas. My building is literally staffed by Jason Vargas. I don’t know how to look him in the eyes anymore.
Other Mets News
Jay Bruce began a rehab assignment with St. Lucie, going 0-for-2 with a walk and a strikeout. He’s expected to split time between first and the outfield during his rehab and do the same if and when he returns to the major leagues. That’s time that should be going to Peter Alonso of course, but the Mets are never not going to play the struggling veteran with a $13 million per year contract.
Photo credit: Tommy Gilligan – USA Today Sports