Vargas Is Starting Tonight, Gio Still Available
After a tough end of their road trip, which included losing two out of three to the Phillies, the Mets have returned home, and they look like a completely different team. It could be the pitchers being more comfortable in warmer weather. It could be Todd Frazier and Luis Guillorme vastly improving the defense the past few days. Maybe, it is just being home after spending all that time on the road.
At the same time, we are watching a Phillies team go through some turmoil. Bryce Harper was ejected Monday, and he came back yesterday to go 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. Jake Arrieta went full blown Jon Niese and pointed fingers at everyone while berating his team. Jean Segura, Scott Kingery, David Robertson and Odubel Herrera are all on the Injured List.
The Phillies are a literally wounded team, and the Mets took advantage of that fact by winning the first two games of this series in decisive fashion. The Mets can really make an early season statement by sweeping the Phillies. With that potentially toxic clubhouse mix and an overmatched manager like Gabe Kapler, who knows what impact a sweep in this fashion could have on this Phillies team.
As the Mets near in for the kill, they are going to start . . . Jason Vargas tonight.
So far this year, Vargas is 1-0 with a 9.58 ERA, 2.323 WHIP, and a 0.86 BB/K. That’s right, he’s actually walked more batters than he has struck out. Batters are hitting .362/.444/.660 off of him. He’s only pitched 9.1 innings total in his three starts.
Now, it is fair to point out this is a small sample size, and we shouldn’t draw conclusions from small sample sizes. By that token, Vargas has been bad for a while. Since the 2017 All Star break, Vargas has a 6.25 ERA, 1.543 WHIP, and a 2.08 K/BB. Batters are teeing off on him hitting .288/.357/.516. Essentially, Vargas on the mound makes each batter look like Michael Conforto.
Looking at the Phillies team right now, they are angry with the Mets. Juan Lagares was running in the sixth inning of what was then an 8-0 game. In the ninth, Jacob Rhame delivered two pitches in and high to Rhys Hoskins. The Phillies are angry with the Mets, and they are justifiably so.
The absolute worst thing the Mets could do right now is to give the Phillies some life. You cannot throw out a batting practice pitcher like Vargas to allow them to put their issues behind them as they hit hard ball after hard ball after hard ball off of him. You cannot have them picking up their heads a bit and feeling like they delivered an ounce of revenge to the Mets.
Really, this is inexcusable for the Mets. There is no way Vargas should be pitching in this game, especially when the Mets could have signed Gio Gonzalez and plugged him right into their rotation. That’s not to say Gonzalez is anything great, but the five innings he is likely to give you is much more credible than the maybe four innings Vargas is going to give you.
The only hope here is if Vargas is predictably shelled by the Phillies, the Mets can have their offense keep them in the game and eventually win it, and then after the game, Brodie Van Wagenen realizes he cannot keep his former client around any longer, even if he is due $10 million this year, and that he needs to stop fielding a roster which punts every fifth game.