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Ill Conceived Mets Outfield Provides Win

This was about as bad a mix as you could get for the Mets. Jason Vargas, a fly ball pitcher, was starting in Wrigley. To make matters worse, the Mets opted to make this the day they broke out the Dominic SmithMichael ConfortoJeff McNeil outfield alignment.

On the outfield alignment, while it was a bad decision to play those three players out of position, they played well out there making all the plays. That includes those hit to the ivy:

It would get better later.

While the outfield got off to a good start the Mets didn’t. For a second day in a row, the Mets scored a run while ending a rally by hitting into a bases loaded double play. Today, that cake courtesy of Smith.

In the bottom of the second, the Mets paid for the transgression by losing the lead right away in the bottom of the second.

The trouble started when Vargas walked the leadoff batter Javier Baez, and it got worse when J.D. Davis completely botched a routine ball at third. After David Bote reached on the error, he stole second putting runners at second and third with one out.

On the stolen base, Tomas Nido made a terrible throw and almost hit a ducking Vargas in the face. It was one of two stolen bases the Phillies had with both throws being poor. It just must be something to do with being a Mets catcher.

The Cubs plated their first run without a hit on an RBI groundout. The second came on a Yu Darvish RBI single giving the Cubs a 2-1 lead. It was the seventh hit of Darvish’s career, and he would be 2-for-2 off Vargas.

While the Mets lost the lead, they remain a resilient team as evidenced by McNeil hitting a two run homer to give the Mets a lead in the top of the third:

That lead lasted until the bottom of the fifth when Addison Russell hit a go-ahead two run homer. Things then get dicey when the lineup flipped over. Kris Bryant doubled, and in a weird course of events Anthony Rizzo struck out.

Initially, Rizzo was seemingly ruled not to swing, but for some reason, he also wasn’t awarded first on a ball that hit him. That’s when Vargas flipped, and he actually got the third base umpire (who upon further review ruled dead ball and not no swing) and home plate umpire to get everything squared away. In the end, Rizzo was ruled to have struck out.

After the delay, Vargas was at 104 pitches, so Mickey Callaway brought in Brooks Pounders to face Baez. Pounders got the Mets out of the jam and put himself in line for the win.

With Vargas departing, he has now had 10 straight starts allowing three earned or less. The problem is he’s only pitched 5+ innings in only half those starts putting pressure on a bad bullpen. Fortunately, the Mets were up to the task shutting out the Cubs for 4.1 innings.

The Mets would even take a late lead in this game and hold onto it. The outfield would again be the driving force.

In the sixth, Conforto hit his 15th homer of the year to tie the score at 4-4. Then in the seventh, McNeil did what he needed to do to get the lead hitting a two out RBI single scoring Adeiny Hechavarria.

On the play, McNeil was thrown out trying to go to second. On the one hand, it seemed like Hechavarria was scoring anyway. On the other, the play killed the chance of the lead growing with Pete Alonso due up.

This put the game in Seth Lugo‘s hands. After an 11 pitch seventh, he came back out for the eighth. Things didn’t go as smooth.

Willson Contreras hit a two out single to left. McNeil, who had replaced Smith in left when Juan Lagares came into the game for defense, appeared to deke Rizzo. Deke or no deke, Rizzo cannot be heading to third in that spot. He got into a rundown thereby ending the rally and the Cubs last chance to tie the game.

The reason is Edwin Diaz looked like Diaz again. Maybe it was his working with Phil Regan, or maybe it was some rest or just some luck. Whatever the case, it was great seeing the Mets bullpen do it’s job again and put the Mets back in the win column.

Game Notes: As noted by MMO‘s Michael Mayer, Lugo has a 0.38 ERA over his last 23.2 innings pitched. The Mets have no finalists in the All Star voting.

0 thoughts on “Ill Conceived Mets Outfield Provides Win”

  1. Oldbackstop says:

    (eyeroll) Your working Vargas and JD again for passive-aggreesive paddle whaps.

    — JD did what we hoped he would do, draw bbs regularly as he has elsewhere. He also had a hit, so he was on base 3 times in four at bats. You are being deliberately obtuse on JD. His OBP has been rising, ,340, and his OPS is .800.The error you crow about is his second in seven weeks, after stumbling out of the gate and killing his defensive metrics.

    Vargas has given up low runs every outing, and has been given an average of *72* pitches.

    Where would the IP/GS stats be for…..anyone! Any starter getting pulled ever 72 pitches?

    Early in the year you went on and on about how Vargas couldn’t be trusted through the lineup more than twice.Batters are hitting .191 against him the 3+ time around.

    Lets look at Thor. 6th inning ERA climf the mid 5s. 7th to mid 6s. 8th to 13.50

    Who should be getting the opporrunity to oith plate, MD? Vargas or Thor? Set aside the mancrush and look at the numbers.
    Callaway, I think, looked at the easy going Vargas as a weekly opportunity to flash his pinch hitting skills ans creed of resting position players. He, obviously, wasn’t risking the wrath of deGrom or Thor by pulling them with 72 pitches. Callaway is their bitch, as demonstrated by his insane statements about handling Jake the Snakes last blowout.

    You premise bitch about the outfield falls under the category “I hope noone was reading what I wrote this winter.

    McNeil had the athletiscm to play center, sez you. Whoo hoo. Right is easier than CF. Dom has played left before and adquately. And Conforto plays there plenty.

    Depite this…following YOUR repeated advice, you call it ill conceived.

    You are remarkable.

    One finally thought. You were bombarding some quite viciously.

    WHO ARE THE TWO METS EXCEEDING PRESEASON EXOECTATIONS?

    So, Alonso….well huge things were expected him, and he lived them up. That leaves with Vargas and Frazier….ouchie for you

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Davis is a -0.2 WAR. That’s not good no matter how much you want to make him sound good. And before you go off on your typical rant, he’s -0.9 for his career.

      Vargas can’t go five innings routinely. You can try to excuse it all you want, but he’s not going deep because he’s not good enough.

      And let’s look at Thor, who has a 3.60 FIP, which is 26th best in the majors. That means he’s pitching like a number one starter. He’s not the guy you want to pinpoint.

      You call me remarkable, but it’s only because I don’t fall for nonsense lazy narrative, nor do I substitute opinion for facts.

      I will continue to use facts to make points. It’s why I’m usually right like I’ve been on almost everything this season.

      But you go ahead attacking players like deGrom trying to get a rise out of me because I won’t say Vargas is super fantastic in pitching fewer than five innings.

  2. Oldbackstop says:

    Ws mean less than nothing.

    And a good thing for you because the dread, cant- even- be- fifth vargas is now:

    Vargas 22-13
    Jake the Shake:14-15

    1. metsdaddy says:

      So now, you’re going to use team record in starts to make a case for Vargas and against deGrom?

  3. Blair M. Schirmer says:

    Every time McNeil does something splendid at the plate I’m reminded that the Mets took on Robby Cano to supplant him. That’s some spectacular FO judgment, right there.

    Interesting, though, to see McNeil get thrown out at 2nd, thinking the throw was going to the plate. Second Met I’ve seen get caught doing that in the last few days. Runner coming in from 3rd, batter rounds first after a hit to the OF, thinks the ball is going to the plate even though a cutoff man is right in line with the throw, ball IS in fact cut off, and the batter is thrown out at 2nd. Is this a teamwide lack of situational awareness, poor judgment, bad luck, a 1B coach windmilling the player towards second base (film doesn’t include the 1B coach on these plays)…?

    It might well be nothing, but twice in a few days when it should have been obvious the throw was going to the cutoff man who was in view of the batter gave me pause.

    –Thanks for the game writeups, MD. Always enjoy them and they’re always sharp and informative. I’m often working through the evening and miss some or most of the game, and it’s a great way to catch up. Cheers,

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Disarcina and Sherlock have been terrible, and I don’t know why it was Eiland and Hernandez and not them who were scapegoated.

    2. metsdaddy says:

      Thank you for the kind words.

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