The Mets made more transactions than scored runs in Cincinnati on Tuesday, and all of that amounted to a 7-2 loss to a team that had eight wins.
Before the game started, Matt Harvey was traded for Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco, which allowed Mesoraco to join the team fairly quickly. To make room for him, Anthony Swarzak was placed on the 60-day DL. Todd Frazier was also placed on the DL with a hamstring strain, which meant that Jose Reyes got the start at third. With Frazier out and Reyes and Tomas Nido in, this lineup did not scream offensive juggernaut when the game started.
Offensive troubles aside, the pitching did not help matters. Jason Vargas has been bad, at best, this year and absolutely useless as a starting pitcher at worst. This start was somewhere in between. He loaded the bases in the first without recording an out. Eugenio Suarez put the Reds on the board with a two-run single but somehow Vargas escaped the inning without further damage.
Trouble nearly found him in the second when Tucker Barnhart tripled to lead off the inning but he was still there when the second ended. At this point you might be thinking that perhaps Vargas turned a corner and settled down, and I am sorry to tell you that you couldn’t be more mistaken. With one out Joey Votto walked, which is still ok because there is no shame in walking Votto. However that walk brought up Suarez again and again he delivered. He smoked a double to right and Votto hustled home. There was a play at the plate but Nido could not handle the throw and Votto was safe. Not good but then with two outs Vargas walked Adam Duvall and then gave up a hit to Barnhart to make it 4-0 Reds. The Reds have some hitters but nobody would mistake them for the ‘27 Yankees, and yet Vargas had issues keeping them off the board. This does not bode well. If he cannot keep the Cincinnati Reds off the board then how is he going to compete against some of the tougher opponents in the National League?
Vargas lasted one more inning and departed after giving up four runs, six hits, and walking two. Meanwhile Reds starter Luis Castillo was shutting down the Met offense. Amed Rosario finally got the first hit off of him in the fifth inning, but since Vargas was awful and had to come out, Rosario was double switched out. Wilmer Flores came in the sixth with Seth Lugo.
The sixth was not Mickey Callaway’s finest hour. Flores initially made him look smart when he took Castillo deep to put the Mets on the board. Castillo was pulled a couple of batters later and lefty Amir Garrett was brought in. He issued back-to-back walks to Jay Bruce and Adrian Gonzalez and Gonzalez’s walk forced in a run to cut the lead 4-2.
That brings up the pitcher’s spot in the order since Seth Lugo was double switched in. Lugo was presumably brought in for length since Paul Sewald and Robert Gsellman both pitched multiple innings the night before and again Callaway had to go to the bullpen early in this one. You could let Lugo bat since there was two outs and still plenty of ballgame left to make up two runs against a shaky Reds bullpen. You could also pinch hit one of the righties on the bench like Juan Lagares or even Mesoraco but nope up strolls Brandon Nimmo who can not hit lefties. He strikes out and the rally is over.
With Lugo out of the game the bullpen had to be pieced together. A.J. Ramos was the next one to enter. He gave up a couple of hits but no runs in the bottom of the sixth and stayed on for the seventh. He gave up a leadoff double to Scott Schebler and was done for the evening. Jerry Blevins was brought in to face Votto. He gave up a very long fly ball which allowed Schebler to tag up and run to third.
Enter Hansel Robles who put the game out of reach before recording an out. The next batters: single, home run, walk, single, sacrifice bunt. Robles hurt himself on the sacrifice and left the game.
In comes Paul Sewald who had to do some heavy lifting the night before. With one pitch he got Billy Hamilton to fly out to finally put an end to the inning four pitchers later. In the top of the eighth Asdrubal Cabrera and Yoenis Cespedes got on base with nobody out. Jay Bruce then struck out and Adrian Gonzalez grounded into a double play to end any hope of a comeback.
Sewald stayed in to pitch the bottom of the inning and at one point Gsellman was also warming. This was not ideal since they both pitched multiple innings the night before and there is a day game to close out the series. Not a lot of time to rest for two of the more reliable pieces in the bullpen.
Sewald was again solid and kept the Reds off the board. Mesoraco did pinch hit in the ninth and got a nice hand from the crowd but he struck out and the Mets never really threatened to come back.
The combination of bad pitching from Vargas and Robles, a depleted lineup with players who should not be in the majors, add to it a dash of questionable managing by Callaway, and it all adds up to a blowout loss to the worst team in the league.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: None
Big losers: Jason Vargas -20.5%, Brandon Nimmo -10.7%
Teh aw3s0mest play: Adrian Gonzalez walk in sixth
Teh sux0rest play: Eugenio Suarez double in third
Total pitcher WPA: -25.5%
Total batter WPA: -24.5%
GWRBI!: Eugenio Suarez