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Jason Vargas struggles in the City of Angels, as Mets fall to Dodgers

Can we get Vargy back?

MLB: New York Mets at Los Angeles Dodgers Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Jason Vargas had been pitching well recently, but reverted back to his earlier season form and was hit hard by the Dodgers in the Mets’ 11-4 loss.

The Dodgers countered with their own lefty starter in Rich Hill, but it was the lefties in the Mets lineup who did the damage against the southpaw. Jay Bruce got the scoring started in the second when he blasted a two-run home run, and then Michael Conforto matched him the next inning with a two-run shot of his own.

Despite being handed a four-run lead, Jason Vargas’s strong start went downhill quickly. It started in the bottom of the third when Austin Barnes cut into the lead with a two-run blast of his own. Vargas somehow got out of the inning without further damage but the Dodgers teed off in the fourth.

David Freese led off with a home run and then two rockets set up second and third with nobody out. Barnes hit a pop up in foul territory that landed at Bruce’s feet, which gave him another life. He then hit a grounder that Frazier booted and the game was tied. A squeeze play helped the Mets get the runner at home and the first out of the inning. That was it for Vargas, who lasted only 3.1 innings.

Tyler Bashlor came in relief and got a ground ball after Barnes stole third. Frazier elected to try and get a double play on the slow hit ball. He did not get the double play and could’ve had the runner at home, but instead the Dodgers took the lead.

Eric Hanhold followed Bashlor out of the pen to make his major league debut, and despite facing the heart of the Los Angeles lineup, he escaped the inning unscathed. Hanhold picked up his first strikeout when he got Chris Taylor to end the fifth and keep the Mets within a run.

Daniel Zamora and Paul Sewald also held the Dodgers in check but Corey Oswalt was absolutely pummeled in the seventh inning. He allowed three doubles, a single, a walk, and a wild pitch that led to a run and was lifted from the game without recording an out. Jacob Rhame finally got out of the inning but not before two more runs scored. Jay Bruce threw to the wrong base which did not help matters but it was just another bad play on a night where there were plenty of them.

The Mets had their opportunities, but both Austin Jackson and Wilmer Flores had tough nights with runners on. Jackson was batting second in the order and has not looked good at the plate recently. Meanwhile, last night’s hero Brandon Nimmo was batting down in the eighth position, where he notched a couple strikeouts, but he did get a double off the lefty Hill.

The Mets put a rally together in the ninth when they loaded the bases with no outd. The Dodgers turned to ambidextrous pitcher Pat Venditte to get the next three batters out. He changed hands to face Jeff McNeil, Jose Reyes, and Michael Conforto but had no issues getting out of the jam.

Overall this was a feared but predictable outcome with Vargas facing the Dodgers. The Mets certainly did not do themselves any favors by playing sloppy baseball in the field, but hopefully they can turn it around tomorrow with Zack Wheeler on the mound.

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What’s WPA?

Big winners: Jay Bruce +12%, Amed Rosario 10.6%
Big losers: Jason Vargas -32%, Corey Oswalt -19.3%, Wilmer Flores -11.3%
Teh aw3s0mest play: Jay Bruce home run in second
Teh sux0rest play: Chris Taylor double in fourth
Total pitcher WPA: -42.7%
Total batter WPA: -2.8%
GWRBI!: Brian Dozier