Monday night was a frustrating but still enjoyable experience, because we had the pleasure of watching Jacob deGrom. Watching the best of the Mets’ three-ish homegrown aces is a reminder of the sort of potential this team had and still has. Tuesday, we got Jason Vargas, a reminder of why that potential has been and will continue to be squandered. At least Brandon Nimmo was in the lineup – batting eighth.
This episode of the Jason Vargas experience got off to a pretty good start, as the left-hander was perfect through the first two innings. Because his name isn’t Jacob deGrom, the Mets offense scored for him too, with Jay Bruce hitting a two-run home run in the second, and Michael Conforto adding a two-run bomb of his own in the third. Entering the bottom of the third, the Mets had a 4-0 lead.
Then, the cracks started to appear. Vargas walked Chris Taylor leading off the inning, then allowed a two-run home run to Austin Barnes. He worked around another two singles from Rich Hill (the pitcher) and Manny Machado, but the Met lead was cut to two. A home run from David Freese leading off the bottom of the fourth cut that lead to one, and the Dodgers followed that with a single and a double to put the go-ahead run in scoring position.
At this point, the New York defense wanted to prove to deGrom that they’re not just terrible behind him, they’re terrible behind every pitcher. Todd Frazier botched a ground ball off the bat of Austin Barnes, allowing Enrique Hernandez to score and tie the game. Two batters later, Tyler Bashlor replaced Jason Vargas, and he allowed the Dodgers to take the lead with a steal of third and an RBI groundout from Brian Dozier. L.A. led 5-4.
Eric Hanhold worked around some serious traffic in the fifth in his first major league appearance, and he and Daniel Zamora combined for a perfect sixth. Corey Oswalt took over for the seventh, and the Dodgers proceeded to blow the doors off. Three doubles, a wild pitch that allowed Manny Machado to score from second and a handful of walks and singles put the Mets in an 11-4 hole. They managed to load the bases in the top of the ninth with no outs, but amphibious ambidextrous reliever Pat Venditte shut down the rally, and the Mets failed to score.
The loss drops the Mets to 62-76, snaps their three-game win streak and ends a recent string of successful starts from Jason Vargas (real shocker on that last one). Zack Wheeler takes on Hyun-Jin Ryu this evening in the series finale.
Thoughts from the Game
Austin Jackson is really, really bad. Everyone except Met management knew this when he was signed, but at this point he’s batting second everyday while Jeff McNeil and/or Brandon Nimmo bat eighth or ride the bench. It’s patently absurd, and an insult to the younger players who are clearly superior and are a core part of the team’s future. Even a barely above-average OPS+ isn’t worth forfeiting the development of players who actually need it, and there’s no justification whatsoever for his place on the team at this point, let alone his prominence on it.
Jason Vargas is also bad, but that’s less revelatory. Hopefully the Mets get creative with him next year (hoping for a cut is wishing for a miracle), perhaps as a bullpen arm or in some sort of pseudo-Rays arrangement at the back of the rotation. He’ll probably just get shoehorned into a starting spot, however, simply because he’s a veteran making real money.
Other Mets News
No major happenings for the Mets today. Still maybe committing pseudo-insurance fraud with David Wright. Still not planning to end their service time farce with Peter Alonso. So it goes.
Photo credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea – USA Today Sports