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Jason Vargas dazzles, but the offense fizzles in LA

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To the surprise of just about everyone, Jason Vargas went toe-to-toe with Hyun-Jin Ryu

New York Mets v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

Coming into the game, if you had told someone that Jason Vargas would find himself in a pitcher’s duel with Major League Baseball’s ERA leader, Hyun-Jin Ryu, they would’ve rightfully called you a loon. In a shocking turn of events, that is actually what happened in the Mets’ 2-0 loss to the Dodgers.

Unfortunately, the one blemish on Vargas’ record just happened to be the one that decided the game as he gave up his first and only run two batters deep into his start. After a quiet top half of the first, things quickly began to look as if they would fall apart in a hurry as Chris Taylor laced a triple past J.D. Davis. It only got worse from there as Max Muncy immediately doubled to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead before they made an out. Vargas continued what looked to be an irreversible descent into catastrophe as he walked two of the next four hitters to load the bases with Russell Martin coming to the plate. Thankfully, Martin grounded out to Todd Frazier and allowed Jason Vargas to dance out of trouble.

For Jason Vargas, that first inning was the last time that a runner would reach third base as he only allowed five more Dodgers to reach base over his last six innings of work. Of those five, only one of them managed to get into scoring position. Overall, Vargas went seven innings for only the second time as a Met as he allowed one run on six hits, a walk, and struck out six.

The reason for that surprisingly spectacular start not earning a W for the pitcher or the club is none other than Hyun-Jin Ryu. While Vargas did just about everything right, Ryu did everything that Vargas did, and he did it better. Ryu went 7.2 innings, striking out six, while allowing fours hits and a walk that didn’t end up plating a run.

In the seventh, Wilson Ramos singled on a ball that ate-up Chris Taylor and was replaced with Amed Rosario after a fielder’s choice. Only a one run game at this point and with Ryu moving beyond 100 pitches, Dave Roberts wasted no time in getting Kenley Jansen into the game for a four-out save opportunity. With the closer coming in Mickey Callaway pulled J.D. Davis in and sent Dominic Smith out to try and bring that run home. Three pitches and a couple pickoff attempts later, Smith was walking back to the bench and the inning was over.

With Jason Vargas out of the game, Hector Santiago made his way in and things quickly starting go the Dodgers’ way. With one out, David Freese sent a ball to the wall down the line in right that Michael Conforto had bounce right off his tip and bobble out as he slammed into the wall. Only momentarily shaken up, Conforto rose to his feet and tossed the ball back in as Freese occupied second base. One batter later, Cody Bellinger laced a ball to the wall causing Conforto to bump the fence again, but this time he hung onto the ball to bring the Mets without an out of escaping. This was not meant to be as Enrique Hernandez sent a single to right field and brought home the game’s first run in almost seven full innings. After another single put men on first and third, Santiago was lifted for Drew Gagnon who was able to wriggle out of the inning without another run coming home.

As for the Mets, things came and went as they had for most of the night: quietly. Outside of Pete Alonso getting sent to first base on a ball that didn’t actually hit him, the Mets recorded their last three outs without a man reaching base to close the book on their 2-0 vanquishment.

The Mets leave Los Angeles having lost three of four games to the Dodgers and set course for Arizona as they send Zack Wheeler to the mound to take on Jon Duplantier and the Diamondbacks at 9:40 pm EDT.

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What’s WPA?

Big winners: Jason Vargas +17.7% WPA
Big losers: Amed Rosario -14.1% WPA, Adeiny Hechavarria -13.5% WPA, Todd Frazier -11.2% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +12.2% WPA
Total batter WPA: -62.0% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Pete Alonso’s seventh inning double, +12.3% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Chris Taylor’s first inning triple, -9.6% WPA