In every baseball season, there are games that will test a team’s resilience. After a rough loss, how will you bounce back? The 2019 Mets responded to that question in their own way: flat. A day after an epic meltdown by arguably the best pitcher on their staff, they received a wonderful performance by arguably their worst. But that doesn’t matter if you don’t hit.

Jason Vargas took on Hyun-Jin Ryu in Los Angeles for the finale of their four-game set, trying to salvage a split of the series and reclaim some dignity after blowing an 8-3 lead the night before. One could say that they ended up one-for-two. After the Mets went out in order in the top if the first, Vargas got off to his customary rocky start. Chris Taylor hit his second pitch of the night deep into the gap in left center. J.D. Davis gamely tried for a diving catch, but missed horribly and the ball went to the wall, Taylor ending up on third with a leadoff triple. Max Muncy drove him home instantly with another line drive, this one to the right-center field gap. After David Freese struck out, the lethal Cody Bellinger drew a walk. Enrique Hernandez sent a fly ball to deep center, corralled by Carlos Gomez. Muncy was nearly doubled off second, but Gomez’s inaccurate throw allowed him to go to third. Alex Verdugo drew a walk. With the bases loaded, the seasoned Met fan could sense that this game would get out of hand rather quickly, with the veteran catcher Russell Martin due up. It didn’t though, as Martin hit a bouncer to third to end the frame, the Mets lucky to be down only 1-0.

The game continued apace like this, the Mets unable to generate any sustained offense and Vargas able to wiggle out of whatever trouble found him. He walked the pitcher with one out in the second, but didn’t allow a run. He gave up two hits in the third, but got Verdugo to hit into a double play and didn’t allow a run. Martin singled leading off the fourth, but Vargas didn’t allow a run, nor did he allow one in the fifth, sixth or seventh. This would have been hailed as an outstanding performance if the Mets could win it. Instead, their offense could not solve Ryu. They garnered a walk and a single in the second and a base hit in the fifth. They missed a golden chance in the seventh when Pete Alonso led off with a double, but didn’t move from there. Wilson Ramos had a pinch single in the eighth with one out, but Amed Rosario followed that by grounding into a force play. That would be all for Ryu as LA manager Dave Roberts waved in his closer, Kanley Jansen, for a four-out save. Mets manager Mickey Callaway countered by sending up the lefty-hitting Dominic Smith for Davis. Smith was no match, striking out on three straight cutters. The Dodgers got their insurance in the bottom half. Freese boomed a double to right field with one out that Conforto somehow kept in the ballbpark, crashing into the wall. Bellinger hit another tracer to right that Conforto ran down. Of all the batted balls in the inning, the softest was the one that produced a run, Hernandez looping a base hit in front of Conforto. As was custom in this game, the Mets went down in order in the ninth.

New York will head to Arizona, where they have gotten well in the past. Here’s hoping this visit to the spa is restorative, with Zack Wheeler facing Jon Duplantier.

13 comments on “Gut Reaction: Dodgers 2, Mets 0 (5/30/19)

  • MattyMets

    Shame to waste a really good Vargas start. I knew we weren’t going to hit Ryu, but Vargas gave us a shot. I’m having trouble remembering the last time a Mets reliever pitched a clean inning.

    I’m not sure exactly why, because on paper this Diamondbacks lineup looks average at best, but they’ve been scoring a ton of runs. Hope the Mets pitching staff comes through in this series.

    • Metsense

      It was last Sunday Matt. You and I could properly manage the bullpen in that textbook game. The Mets we’re only up a run so that was easy. It’s in those games when the Mets have a lead of four runs that Callaway seems to have a real problem.

  • Metsense

    Gut reaction the good teams figure out how to push a run over when a pitcher is dealing. The Dodgers capitalized on a defensive gaff and pushed a run over against Vargas who was dealing. The Mets couldn’t figure out how to push the run over when Alfonso led off with a double. This is the difference between a contender and a pretender.
    I read another article that the manager and the players felt they were competitive against the Dodgers. This delusional attitude is festering on this team. First off, the object is to win not just compete. A split would be competing but losing a series is still losing. This delusional attitude is spouted the manager and echoed by players. A change of attitude is needed or maybe just a change of manager.

  • Eraff

    Tough Series loss…4 decently pitched games.

    I don’t see a Managerial Move yet….once you fire the Manager, the focus moves to “Management”. 6 games Out with a slug of injuries and a bit of a Hamstrung Roster and Bullpen—this is not yet a “Bench Management Problem”. That’s not an endorsement of Mickey. I’m just being realistic.

    The big measures and Moves ahead involve whether they are in/out for 2019—and then measuring and moving Players for 2019 race, or 2020 Drawing Board.

  • Michael

    Never thought I would say it or see it but Vargas has been more consistent than the other four. I think that it was mentioned that his era over the last 6 games is around 2.5. I’ll take that any day.

  • TJ

    Callaway felt the Mets had little chance against Ryu, which is why he went to his “tier 1” pen arms on Wednesday, despite the lead.

    Vargas’s effort was nice to see, and not necessarily wasted. He did spare a tired pen some innings, and maybe the other starters were paying attention to a guy getting out quality hitters without “stuff”. As the other article pointed out, it’s time for the big boy starters to step up, as this team can’t compete without their expected performances. If the 6 back falls to 10 back, it will be a very ugly summer in Flushing.

    • Brian Joura

      I’m not in the “Fire Callaway” camp.

      But if he comes out and says that the next day’s pitcher is more important than the score or the previous usage in determining who he uses from his bullpen – not only will I join that camp, I’ll drive the f’ing wagon.

      • Metsense

        I would not want a manager that concedes the next day’s game either. for example , When hug McGraw beat Sandy Koufax 1-0 it was a unlikely outcome but you have to believe

        • TJ

          I don’t think a manager is conceding the next day’s game by paying attention to the matchup. Nor do I think he is conceding the next day’s game by aggressively trying to win the current game with his best players.

          Acknowledging a reduced likelihood of winning is not a concession of defeat.

          And with all that said, I do agree that Overall Callaway has done a poor job of managing his pen. Hopefully the bats will wake up in Arizona, score ton, and give Santiago, Gagnon, and Font plenty of innings.

  • TexasGusCC

    I understand now why Hershiser kept wondering why the Mets didn’t use Santiago more. It seems that the soft tossers give the Dodgers problems. You can bet MLB took notice of that.

    Don’t have much to say about the series overall, other than the Mets best themselves much more than the other teams beat them. I agree with BVW that this is a pretty talented roster, albeit faulty in some areas. They should be better than under .500.

    I read on Metsblog how BVW wants to rebuild the farm system in this draft. Good luck Brodie. Maybe not being an idiot in the first place would have been nice…

    • Bugsy

      I don’t think its a matter of “wanting” to rebuild the farm system , but more that he needs to rebuild it.
      He traded two top prospects for Cano and Diaz, and the system was pretty thin already.

      But semantics aside, whether he wants to or has to, the real issues are:

      1. How well they draft
      2. Whether or not they can develop prospects into good players
      3. Do they have the patience to hold on to their best prospects.

    • Chris F

      This team is about a .500 win per centage talent team. Of course that depends on NL East teams, but from the present landscape, 80-83 wins seems like the right place. I do not see enough talent on the team at multiple places doing multiple things to make this team a serious contender for anything, unless the whole NL collapsed beneath them (much like the Nats). As I see it, most fans project the best possible outcome for a player (like deGrom, Syndergaard, Conforto, Rosario etc) and not a realistic outcome. Again, we hear incessantly about 4 or 5 “aces” as starters, when really there is only 1 in deGrom, and thats even a stretch.

    • Name

      Santiago struggled in his partial inning last noght…

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