CINCINNATI -- When the Mets acquired Jason Vargas in February, they believed they were bringing stability to their rotation. Scroll-like injury histories had cast uncertainty over most other members of the Mets' rotation, prompting the team to sign a player with enough durability to glue things together.Vargas, however, has provided
CINCINNATI -- When the Mets acquired Jason Vargas in February, they believed they were bringing stability to their rotation. Scroll-like injury histories had cast uncertainty over most other members of the Mets' rotation, prompting the team to sign a player with enough durability to glue things together.
Vargas, however, has provided nothing of the sort. The four runs Vargas allowed in four innings Tuesday represented his best start of the season. The first four Reds to face Vargas reached base, and the Mets never recovered in a 7-2 loss at Great American Ball Park.
In three starts, Vargas is 0-3 with a 13.86 ERA, a 2.68 WHIP and nearly as many walks as strikeouts.
"I'm just not making that quality pitch," Vargas said. "It's frustrating to not make those pitches. I'll just keep going to work on them, and keep going out there and grinding."
Most of the damage against him Tuesday came courtesy of Eugenio Suarez, who singled home two runs in the first inning and doubled in another in the third. A Tucker Barnhart RBI hit later that inning gave the Reds a four-run advantage, which seemed like plenty as Reds starter Luis Castillo retired the first 14 batters he faced to open the game.
Although Castillo eventually cracked for a pair of runs, including a Wilmer Flores solo homer, the Reds added three runs off AJ Ramos and Hansel Robles in the seventh. Again it was Suarez in the middle of things, singling home a run before Scooter Gennett whacked a two-run homer.
By that point, Vargas had long since departed, with plenty of time to chew on his latest poor outing. Despite the left-hander's results, however, manager Mickey Callaway said Vargas will remain in the Mets' rotation.
"I know he was hard on himself after the game, saying that's unacceptable," Callaway said. "But he'll get there. He's definitely not there yet."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Rally stalls: After Flores homered in the sixth inning, the Mets, trailing by three, loaded the bases on a two-out single and a pair of walks. Adrian Gonzalez followed with a third consecutive free pass to force in a run against Reds left-hander Amir Garrett, who remained on the mound as pinch-hitter Brandon Nimmo, also a lefty, stepped to the plate.
Callaway chose to use Nimmo versus Garrett rather than Juan Lagares against David Hernandez, a right-hander who was warm in the bullpen. It didn't work; Nimmo struck out swinging to end the inning.
FROM THE TRAINER'S ROOM
Things did not go well from the jump for Robles, who faced five batters and allowed an RBI single, a two-run homer, a walk, a single and a sacrifice bunt. At that point, the Mets' training staff paid Robles a visit on the mound to examine his right knee. Following a brief conversation, he walked off alongside a trainer. Robles underwent an X-ray after the game, the results of which the Mets did not immediately release.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
As Devin Mesoraco stepped to the plate as a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning, he received an extended round of applause from Reds fans at Great American Ball Park. The Mets had traded for Mesoraco earlier in the day, welcoming him into their clubhouse barely more than an hour before first pitch.
Facing former teammate Austin Brice, Mesoraco went down looking on five pitches.
"I was pretty well-versed in what he had," Mesoraco said, laughing, when asked if he consulted a scouting report on Brice before the at-bat.
HE SAID IT
"You just have to keep doing what you've done to get yourself this far into a career. It's doing the work in between and then having that translate out there." -- Vargas, on what he must do between starts
One of several Mets pitchers clinging to rotation spots is Zack Wheeler, who will seek rapid improvement when he starts the team's series finale Wednesday in Cincinnati. Last time out, Wheeler allowed eight runs in six innings. He'll oppose right-hander Sal Romano in a 12:35 p.m. ET game at Great American Ball Park.