Jason Vargas gets destroyed again in Mets disgrace
The Mets were no-hit into the seventh inning on Thursday — and that wasn’t even the worst part of their afternoon that saw them lose 11-0 to the Braves at Citi Field.
No, of greater concern is the performance of Jason Vargas, who was hit hard enough for a second straight start that he might be well-served to go back to pitching behind a protective screen.
And then there was Matt Harvey, called on to clean up Vargas’ mess in the fifth. Harvey, recently demoted to the bullpen, got out of the fifth and pitched a clean sixth before he imploded and surrendered five runs in the seventh.
After the three-game sweep by the Braves in Queens, the Mets have lost four of five and now sit 1½ games back of Atlanta in the NL East.
But Teheran’s dominance over the Mets’ lineup can’t be overstated.
The right-hander retired the first 11 Mets he faced until Yoenis Cespedes drew a two-out walk in the fourth. And no one came close to a hit until Asdrubal Cabrera broke up Teheran’s bid with a double to right with two outs in the seventh — and the Mets down by 11 runs. It was the second time in less than two weeks Teheran tossed seven scoreless innings versus the Mets.
Vargas, on the other hand, can barely finish an inning without being hit hard.
He opened the season on the disabled list after being sidelined for most of spring training with a non-displaced fracture of the hamate bone in his right (non-throwing) hand.
Then Vargas gave up nine runs in 3 2/3 innings in his first start of the year — and four of those runs came in the first inning in San Diego.
He wasn’t much better on Thursday — a day after manager Mickey Callaway blamed Vargas’ poor outing on his mechanics having been thrown off by throwing from behind the screen for so long.
Ozzie Albies reached on an infield single to start the game and was forced out on Freddie Freeman’s grounder to second for the second out. But Nick Markakis drilled a double to the right field corner on an 0-2 pitch to score Freeman from first and Kurt Suzuki followed by crushing a 1-2 pitch into the left field seats to give Atlanta a 3-0 lead.
Vargas managed to settle down until Ronald Acuna Jr. led off the fifth with a homer into the second deck in left to make it 4-0. Freeman followed with a walk before Markakis hit one out to right-center.
Vargas was finally pulled during the three-run fifth, following a single by Teheran. His numbers could have been even worse if Harvey didn’t strand the two runners left by Vargas.
The Mets offense was no help. In 21 previous outings against the Mets, right-hander Julio Teheran was 8-5 with a 2.44 ERA.
He baffled the Mets for 6 2/3 innings before Cabrera laced a double into the corner, Michael Conforto walked and Adrian Gonzalez reached on an infield single to load the bases for Amed Rosario.
But following a mound visit from pitching coach Chuck Hernandez, Teheran got Rosario to pop out to end the threat. He gave up two singles and a pair of walks in seven shutout innings.
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