Overreacting to a player’s success or failure is part of being a sports fan. Today, I’m curious which team’s cap New York Mets pitcher Jason Vargas is wearing when he goes into the Hall of Fame.
Keep your summers free for the next few years. Soon enough, current New York Mets pitcher Jason Vargas is going into the Hall of Fame and you’ll want to be there for the big speech. Even though baseball typically makes players wait five years after retirement to get on the ballot, they may make an exception for him. If we’re lucky, he wears a Mets cap into Cooperstown.
Ceasing my overreaction for just a moment, let’s all agree Vargas isn’t getting into Cooperstown just yet. As Mets fans joke about his status as the team’s ace—it’s still Jacob deGrom by the way—it’s still fun overacting to how well the biggest dud from 2018 has performed in 2019.
In the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader against the New York Yankees, Vargas stunned us again with another quality performance. Vargas gave up 3 runs in 6 innings, meeting the minimum required to earn a literal quality start. Though far from perfect, he again looked like the best pitcher on the Mets roster.
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Now 3-3 with a 3.68 ERA, Vargas has helped make up for the woes of last year. Even for parts of 2018, thoughts of designated him for assignment met in our heads at some point. Lately, the idea of even skipping him for a start is insane.
Vargas was anything but masterful against the Yankees in this start. He gave up 7 hits, walked a pair, and struck out only 3. However, it was one truly bad inning that ended his scoreless streak. The Yankees loaded the bases with nobody out in the third inning. Vargas somehow escaped by allowing three runs to score.
All things considered, the inning went well. The game could have gotten out of hand at this point. The Mets were up 6-0 at the start of the frame and Vargas managed to hold them in check even after getting knocked up against the ropes early.
After Zack Wheeler got clobbered in the first game, it was nice to see a Mets starter come through in the second. Plenty of credit should go to the offense. A three-run bomb by Pete Alonso in the first inning got the scoring started. Three more runs in the third inning chased Yankees starter James Paxton from the game before the inning was even complete.
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Of all the things we didn’t expect to see in 2019, competence from Vargas is at the top of the list.