A Surprising Split -May 30, 2018-

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That’s baseball, Suzyn.

After a week of bullpen implosions and heartbreaking losses, the last guy Met fans wanted to see on the mound was Jason Vargas. On short rest no less. A lefty with an ERA of over 10 pitching against the Braves is literally a recipe for disaster. Not to mention, Atlanta was sending Met-killer Julio Teheran to the mound.

But, you know what? That’s why they play the games.

Vargas went 5 innings and kept the Braves off the scoreboard. He gave up 2 hits and just 1 walk. He struck out 2. When you think you have this game figured out, Vargas shuts the Braves down. Insane.

The Mets would need to piece together the final 12 outs with a patchwork bullpen. Just look at all the roster moves that went down before first pitch.

5/30/18 New York Mets transferred CF Juan Lagaresfrom the 10-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list. Tear of the left big toe plantar plate.
5/30/18 New York Mets designated LHP P.J. Conlon for assignment.
5/30/18 New York Mets optioned RHP Jacob Rhame to Las Vegas 51s.
5/30/18 New York Mets optioned 3B Phillip Evans to Las Vegas 51s.
5/30/18 New York Mets selected the contract of RHP Scott Copeland from Binghamton Rumble Ponies.
5/30/18 New York Mets selected the contract of RHP Tim Peterson from Las Vegas 51s.
5/30/18 New York Mets recalled LHP Buddy Baumannfrom Las Vegas 51s.

More on that in a minute. Let’s talk about the Met offense. The Amazin’s would strike in the top of the 4th for the first tally of the game. Jay Bruce led off with a double, and came home on Adrian Gonzalez’ ground-rule double. 1-0. Up to that point, Teheran had a 22 inning scoreless streak against New York.

The first man out of the bullpen for the Mets was Tim Peterson in the bottom of the 6th. He was thrown directly into the fire. Albies. Freeman. Markakis. 1-2-3 inning. Wow.

Brandon Nimmo gave the Mets a little breathing room when he singled home Amed Rosario who reached on a 2 out triple. 2-0. Nimmo was then picked off, after he fell victim to Julio Teheran’s brilliant move.

Tim Peterson would give that run right back in the bottom of the 7th. Johan Camargo hit a solo homerun, which made the score 2-1. I’m glad I don’t need to hear that name again for a while. Peterson escaped without allowing any further damage. 6 more outs. Jun well done, Tim.

New York added a much needed insurance run in the 8th. Jose Bautista doubled. Jay Bruce was intentionally walked. Kevin Plawecki was walked unintentionally and the bases were loaded. Adrian Gonzalez singled home Bautista and the Mets had a 3-1 advantage.

Fitting. Two players Atlanta dropped coming back to bite them late in the game.

In the spring, Mickey Callaway talked about using relievers where they were needed and not having a set closer. He employed that strategy by inserting Jeurys Familia in the 8th to face the top of the Braves order.

Ender Inciarte led off by grounding out. Freeman and Albies followed with back-to-back singles and it felt like deja vù. Nick Markakis was up and hit a rocket up the middle. Luckily, we have Amed Rosario.

Double play! Inning over.

Amed Rosario was feeling it because he hit a one out double in the top of the 9th. A man who is quickly becoming a fan favorite, Brandon Nimmo, followed with a double of his own and the Mets were leading 4-1.

Enter Robert Gsellman. There would be no blown lead tonight as Gsellman retired the Braves in order. Somehow, the Mets have salvaged a series split.

So, many fans were wondering why Callaway took Vargas out after only 65 pitches, and put someone making his debut in to face Albies, Freeman and Markakis. After the game it was revealed that Vargas said he was tired. Again, he was pitching on short rest. And again, this is Jason Vargas we are talking about. Take your five innings and run.

Jason Vargas was great, but I honestly don’t know what to make of him. Sure, he didn’t have a spring training, but he has been awful aside from this start and the first game in the Miami series. I’m not jumping out the window yet, but this was a fantastic outing.

Tim Peterson was impressive. A 20th round pick in 2012, Peterson finally made his debut at 27 years of age. He got through the heart of Atlanta’s order which is no small feat.

How about Amed Rosario? He seems to be getting better each and every game. Don’t look now, but Amed is hitting .265 after this game in which he had 2 extra base hits.

Brandon Nimmo has been tremendous and he must continue to play everyday. Please don’t bury him because of an ill advised decision to sign Jay Bruce this off-season. Oh, Conforto must play everyday as well.

It’s tough to view this road trip in a positive light. They easily could have went 7-1. Instead they settle for 3-5. You know what? It could have been worse. They fought.

The Mets will now return home and take on the Chicago Cubs. Seth Lugo will make his 2018 debut as a starting pitcher in the series opener.


 

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