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Jason Vargas - Turns It Around

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  • Jason Vargas - Turns It Around

    Mets Unable to Overcome Vargas' Struggles

    Lefty allows seven runs in 2 1/3 innings as New York's 3-game win streak ends



    by ANTHONY DiCOMO MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

    DENVER -- Acquiring Jason Vargas this offseason, the Mets believed, would give their rotation depth. So far, it has provided only headaches.

    Vargas' season-long struggles continued Tuesday at Coors Field, where he allowed seven runs and recorded seven outs in a 10-8 loss to the Rockies. On a drizzly night that began with an 80-minute rain delay, Vargas became the first Mets pitcher since Bartolo Colon in 2014 to serve up three consecutive homers, allowing back-to-back-to-back shots in the third inning to Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story and Ian Desmond.

    All told, the Rockies sent a dozen batters to the plate in the third, scoring six times off Vargas and Hansel Robles. While the Mets' own offensive output would have seemed luxurious merely one week ago, it was nothing compared to the Rockies' onslaught.

    "When you come into Coors Field, you tell your pitchers, 'Don't worry about what happens here,' and you move on," manager Mickey Callaway said. "You come in here, you battle all you can and you forget about it. You can't let what happens here put you in a tailspin."

    Snapping a three-game winning streak was the least of New York's worries. Coming off three of his best outings of the season, Vargas submitted arguably his worst, allowing five batted balls of at least 97 mph. By comparison, Vargas generated just five swinging strikes.

    His nightmare of a season began in Spring Training, when the left-hander fractured a bone in his glove hand. Slow to recover from that injury, Vargas did not debut until April 28, allowing nine runs to the Padres -- one of baseball's worst offenses -- that day.

    At the time, the Mets chalked up Vargas' struggles to his injury, which forced him to pitch from behind an L screen during live bullpen sessions and simulated games. But even as Vargas logged more innings, his issues continued. Six runs to the Braves on May 3. Five to the Brewers on May 26. Even recently, in posting a 3.00 ERA over a three-start stretch, Vargas lasted just five innings in each of those games.

    "The start of the season was obviously a disaster," Vargas said. "Tonight definitely gets magnified because of the things that happened earlier in the season. It's frustrating, no doubt about it. It's not something that I'm accustomed to, and not something that I want to get accustomed to."

    At least for now, Vargas' rotation spot appears secure, with Noah Syndergaard on the disabled list. But once Syndergaard returns -- he began throwing off flat ground this week, and could return to a mound in the coming days -- it will be difficult for the Mets to justify starting Vargas over Seth Lugo, who is enjoying a standout season jumping between the bullpen and rotation.

    "It's frustrating," Vargas said. "You get rolling in a good direction, and then you have something like this happen."

    Drew's Sig

  • #2
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    • #3
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      • #4
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        • #5
          There could not have been another pitcher whose season...front and back could have been so diametrically opposite. That was Vargas last season;

          ......................GS......W - L...QS......ERA......whip......Hr/9

          4/7 - 6/30......16........12-3....12.......2.22.......1.12......0.71

          7/5 - 10/1......16.........6-8......4........6.66.......1.61......2.21

          Vargas is an old man in baseball terms, and when he was signed for 2 yrs. 16 M plus an opt. he had 1400 IP on his arm. The age and wear and tear ( 101 IP in first half of 2017 after throwing 55 innings combined 2015-16), may have accounted for his 2nd half collapse.

          This season a broken bone in his glove hand put him on the DL for the season opening. His first start was 4/28, through his first 9 start before going back on the DL, he never exceeded 5.0 IP or reached 90 PC. After 5 weeks he once again pitched with no apparent improvement 3 GS 9.2 IP and 10 ER allowed. That totaled 12 starts with an ERA of 8.75 and a whip of 1.84. The only positive in a perverse manner was he threw only 47 innings.

          Since that point he has made 4 starts; 3 W, 2 QS, an ERA of 1.99 and whip of 1.01. With 70 IP and 5-6 more starts, it is the light workload that I am counting on for a good season from Vargas is 2019. The 6 M is gone, but maybe we can get value from the remaining 10 million left on his contract. He'll still be an old man of 36, but I'd take 5-6 IP every 5th day and if deG, Wheels and maybe Syndergaard are all right Vargas might contribute to a post season team. Worst case he holds up his end and has value next July to help another team with a nice return for the Mets.

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          • #6
            maybe he was pitching hurt in the 2nd half, and didn't disclose injuries until after he signed...when you are a soft tossing lefty, how would people really notice a dip in velocity because you are hurt?

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            • yogi8
              yogi8 commented
              Editing a comment
              Player in his walk year, sure it's possible. Missing 6-8 starts wouldn't have netted him 2 yrs - 16M. Would the Royals care...A team that was in contention for a WC until mid August, and a pitcher who gave them nothing in the 2 prior years...cynically not a damn.
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