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Vargas, Mets trounced by the Marlins to start second half

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Jason Vargas, who had posted an impressive 3.77 ERA in the first half, surrendered back-to-back home runs in a four-run third inning for the Marlins.

New York Mets v Miami Marlins Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Mets lost 8-4 to the Miami Marlins in their first game back from the All-Star break. Jason Vargas had a start that was very reminiscent of some of his outings in early April and the Mets’ pair of two-run innings was not enough to overcome the deficit.

Things started off well enough for Vargas and the Mets, as he cruised through the first two innings and was handed a lead in the top of the third. Amed Rosario singled up the middle to lead off the inning—the first hit of the game from either team. Vargas was then asked to bunt and did so poorly, dribbling one too close to the plate for Jorge Alfaro to snag and throw to second to start a double play. Nonetheless, the Mets loaded the bases when Jeff McNeil singled and then stole second on an errant pickoff attempt and Caleb Smith issued back-to-back walks to J.D. Davis and Pete Alonso. Wilson Ramos then delivered with one of his patented ground ball singles with runners in scoring position, plating two runs to put the Mets ahead 2-0.

That lead did not last long, as Vargas had a blowup inning in the bottom of the frame. Alfaro singled to lead off the inning and then after J.T. Riddle was retired on a fly out, he promptly stole second base. Vargas then gave up a hit to the pitcher Smith who had been 2-for-21 coming into the night. Alfaro then scored on a sacrifice fly by Migel Rojas to plate the Marlins’ first run. Seemingly sensitive to the stolen base after allowing Riddle to swipe a bag, Vargas threw over to first base many times during Curtis Granderson’s at-bat. Granderson rewarded Vargas by lifting the burden of runners on base and hitting a two-run homer to put the Marlins in front. Garrett Cooper immediately followed with a solo shot to make the score 4-2.

Meanwhile, although Smith was a bit erratic, walking five batters in total over his six innings of work, he settled in and held the Mets at two runs through six innings. Vargas settled in somewhat as well, but gave up a walk and a double to start the sixth inning, which added a run for the Marlins and forced Vargas’ exit. Robert Gsellman came in the game to relieve Vargas and not only did he not strand his inherited runner, he gave up yet another home run—this one a no-doubter, two-run shot by Brian Anderson that put the Marlins ahead 7-2. Gsellman finished the inning, but not before having to work around a hit batsman and a base hit by Riddle.

Jarlin Garcia and Elieser Hernandez each tossed a 1-2-3 inning for the Marlins. Meanwhile, Chris Mazza, fresh back from the minor leagues after having been called up shortly before the game, had a nice and easy first inning of work but surrendered a run in the eighth on an Anderson walk and a Starlin Castro triple that stretched the Marlins’ lead to six runs. The Mets managed a mini-rally against Adam Conley in the ninth. Robinson Cano singled to lead off the inning and Todd Frazier followed with a two-run homer to make the score 8-4. However, Conley retired the next three batters in order—two of them via the strikeout—to secure the victory for the Marlins. The Mets begin their second half by falling to eleven games under .500.

Noah Syndergaard faces off against rookie Zac Gallan, as the Mets look to even the series in Miami.

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What’s WPA?

Big winners: Wilson Ramos, +23.2% WPA
Big losers: Jason Vargas, -38.5% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -41.7% WPA
Total batter WPA: -8.3% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Wilson Ramos’ two-RBI single, +20.1% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Curtis Granderson’s go-ahead two-run homer, -25.9% WPA