Rockies 11 Mets 3
Let’s get something clear: Jason Vargas did not pitch well. However, he did not pitch nearly as poorly as the boxscore would indicate.
Here’s the ugly line:
3 1/3 IP | 10 H | 2 BB | 2 HR | 2 K | 9 ER
Firstly, Joe Smith gave up a grand slam when he came on in relief, so three of the runs you can’t really blame him. Yes, Vargas could have let in all those runs too, but, not necessarily.
Secondly, the Mets played poor defense behind him. If you watched the game you might have thrown a beer can at the TV screen after Carlos Delgado’s feet got stuck in cement on a ground ball about a foot to his left in the second inning.
Thirdly, the home plate umpire was not giving Vargas the benefit of the doubt on anything. For example, with the bases loaded in the second, at least two pitches to Todd Helton should have been called strikes — including ball four — but were not. The 10-year veteran hitter always gets the advantage on close calls against the inexperienced and struggling pitcher. There were several other calls here and there that could have been called strikes, weren’t, and in the end hurt Vargas.
Finally, Vargas was hit by some tough luck — plain and simple. David Wright knocked down a few balls but couldn’t finish the deal. Vargas deflected a line drive that would have been an easy out had he not touched it. Carlos Gomez made an error in the outfield. Anything that could go wrong, did go wrong.
All that aside, Vargas still didn’t do all that great — he did give up two homers in two innings, after all — but with a little luck, and a few calls going his way, he might have eeked through. In other words, I’m not convinced he’s not ready for prime time — I want to see him pitch closer to sea level, and with the Mets playing good defense behind him, first. Remember, he’s only 24 years old, and Tom Glavine was 10-12 with a 4.02 ERA at the same age.
We could go into the details of this debacle, but why bother? Vargas and Smith gave up a boatload of runs early in the game, the Mets went into the tank as usual, and there you have it.
Kaz Matsui was 4-for-4 by the fifth inning (5-for-5 for the game). Carlos Delgado and Ramon Castro combined to match that within the same time frame, while Carlos Beltran had grounded out to the right side three times (Beltran went 4-for-4 on groundball outs to the right side for the game).
Todd Helton has walked five times so far in the series. The Mets as a team have walked once (Tom Glavine drew the lone base on balls).
Scott Schoeneweis had an unbelievably effective outing, allowing no runs in the eighth inning. Willie Randolph should really start using this guy in tight situations (NOT!).
Also in the eighth, Damion Easley threw away a tailor-made DP grounder. Had Ruben Gotay done that, he’d have a plane ticket to New Orleans waiting for him after the game. In contrast, Easley will likely be in the starting lineup tomorrow.
John Maine goes against Josh Fogg in an 8:05 PM start. Whether we’ll see fireworks from the Mets’ offense reamins to be seen.