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Shutout, with a side of payback

The Mets have a bad habit of sleep walking through these series finales.

Philadelphia Phillies v New York Mets Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

In the final game of their series with the Phillies, the Mets never showed up in a 6-0 loss. Jason Vargas made a relatively cromulent start, but the bullpen stumbled, the offense was inert, and the defense made three errors. On the positive side, Jeff McNeil continued to torture the Phillies, hitting safely for the fourteenth time in sixteen games against Philadelphia, and Robinson Cano tallied three hits and a walk as he gradually rebounds from an early season funk.

Vargas stated the game off shakily. After striking out Andrew McCutchen leading off the game, J.T. Realmuto and Bryce Harper hit back-to-back doubles to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead. Vargas then walked Rhys Hoskins before being bailed out by a nice sliding play from Michael Conforto in right field and on a hot shot off the bat of Cesar Hernandez that went right to Amed Rosario.

Surprisingly, that was the only run Vargas would give up. He worked around an error in the second and a walk in the third, then recorded a clean fourth before running into more issues in the fifth. McCutchen singled with one out, and J.T. Realmuto was hit by a pitch to put two men on. Vargas managed to strike out Bryce Harper for the third time in the game, but was then replaced by Seth Lugo. In total, Vargas tossed 4.2 innings of one-run ball, striking out four, walking two, and allowing three hits. All in all, not a bad start for Vargas.

Lugo recorded the last out of the inning with no issue, keeping the game within reach.The Mets’ offense couldn’t capitalize against Phillies starter Vince Velasquez, however. They left two men on in the first, another two in the third, and yet another in the fifth. They didn’t have any more luck against the Philly bullpen, stranding another runner in the sixth and wasting another opportunity when Jeff McNeil ground into a double play in the seventh.

In the eighth, things went downhill in a hurry. Rhys Hoskins greeted Robert Gsellman rudely with a triple, and Maikel Franco followed that immediately with a single that stretched the Philly lead to 2-0. A Cesar Hernandez single and a sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third with one out, and two more singles scored two more Philly runs. By the time Gsellman struck out Realmuto to finally end the inning, the Phillies had a 4-0 lead.

After the Mets went quietly in the eighth, we reached the grudge match portion of the game when Jacob Rhame entered. After walking Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins came to the plate. On an up-and-in fastball, Hoskins got revenge for Rhame throwing at him in Tuesday’s game, sneaking a ball just over the wall in left field down the line. Hoskins took his time on the bases too, trotting around the bases in a leisurely 34 seconds. While that would usually be annoying, throwing at people is unequivocally stupid, so good on Hoskins for getting some payback without resorting to more guys getting pegged.

Anyway, the Mets were down 6-0 heading to the bottom of the ninth and went down in order, closing out their second shutout loss of the season. It was also their 14th game of the season with ten or more strikeouts, the most in the National League. The loss puts their record at 13-11 and 3-3 against the Phillies, putting Philadelphia and New York in a tie for first place in the National League East.

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Win Probability Added

What’s WPA?

Big winners: Jason Vargas, +11.4%
Big losers: Wilson Ramos, -22.9%; Robert Gsellman, -19.7%; Jeff McNeil, -17.7%
Total pitcher WPA: -0.7% WPA
Total batter WPA: -49.3% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Luis Guillorme singles leading off the seventh, +8.0% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Jeff McNeil grounds into a double play in the seventh, -15.8% WPA