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Vargas shellacked, offense absent as Braves rout Mets

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The Mets were thoroughly humiliated as Atlanta swept them.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at New York Mets Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Whatever sense of relief the Mets and their fans felt once the team recieved good news on Jacob deGrom’s MRI Thursday morning was only a brief reprieve from the doom and malaise felt Wednesday night, as their exploits Thursday afternoon did exactly nothing to keep the good vibes going. The team was completely embarrased by the Braves, who finished off a decisive three-game sweep.

Lose 11-0

Jason Vargas took the hill for the Mets with the hope that things would go better for him in his second outing than they did in his first start, when he got lit up for nine runs in San Diego. Unfortunately, they did not. Vargas got hit around right from the start, allowing three runs in the first inning, two of which came on a Kurt Suzuki homer.

That was all Atlanta really needed, because the Mets once again had no answer for Julio Teheran. Right from the start, it looked like there was a chance the Mets could be no-hit this afternoon, and as the game went on, it was looking more and more like a legitimate possibility. The Mets couldn’t even manage a baserunner until Yoenis Cespedes walked with two outs in the fourth, but Teheran got out of the fourth still without allowing a hit.

And as if things weren’t bad enough at that point, Vargas got tagged again in the fifth. Ronald Acuna Jr. led off by putting a ball into orbit, and then two batters later, Nick Markakis followed with a two-run shot of his own. The Braves were up 6-0 at that point, and things were only just beginning to get ugly.

Matt Harvey came on in relief, and was able to finish off the fifth without issue, and retired the side in order in the sixth. But in the seventh, things fell apart quickly for Harvey, as they have so much over the past few seasons. He walked three batters and gave up three hits, including Albies’s second dinger of the game. Harvey was charged with five runs in the inning, raising his season ERA to 7.00. The Braves led 11-0.

The Mets were still without a hit in the seventh inning, when Asdrubal Cabrera finally broke the spell with a two-out double. It was just their second hit in their previous 14 innings to that point. The Mets would actually load the bases in that seventh inning with another hit and a walk, but they didn’t score.

New York got two more baserunners in the ninth, when Brandon Nimmo walked and Juan Lagares singled, but that was it for the offense. The Mets mustered just three hits and were shutout for the second consecutive game; the first time they’ve been shutout in back-to-back games since May 2015. They scored just two runs in the entire series with the Braves, and were outhit 41-15 in the series, with nine of those 15 hits coming in the first game.

The team’s offense has gone completely dormant of late, and the pitching beyond the top two in the rotation isn’t helping. They’re now 17-12 on the season and 1.5 games behind the Braves for first place. Every team will go through its down periods, of course, but right now the Mets look like they have a ton of issues to adress if they want to avoid free-falling out of the race early in the year. They’re just 6-11 in their last 17 games.

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Win Probability Added

What’s WPA?

Big winners: Yoenis Cespedes, +0.4 WPA
Big losers: Jason Vargas, -28.5 WPA, Jose Reyes -4.6 WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Yoenis Cespedes walks in the fourth inning, +1.3% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Kurt Suzuki homers in the first inning, -16.5% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -28.9 WPA
Total batter WPA: -21.1 WPA
GWRBI!: Kurt Suzuki