Jason Vargas turned in his best outing of the season, tossing five two-hit innings as the Mets extended their winning streak to four games with a 2-0 win over the Marlins on Monday night at Citi Field.
Things you should know about tonight's game...
1) Vargas (1-3) came into the game having allowed 34 baserunners in 12 1/3 innings over his first three starts. The 35-year-old retired the first nine batters and 13 of 14. He walked one and struck out seven while lowering his ERA from 13.86 to 9.87. He was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the fifth after tossing a season-high 86 pitches -- 51 for strikes.
2) Asdrubal Cabrera had two hits, including an RBI double in the third that scored Amed Rosario with the game's first run. New York took advantage of an error at third by Martin Pardo to add to their lead in the seventh on Wilmer Flores' pinch-hit RBI single. Michael Conforto singled twice in four at-bats.
3) The Marlins loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth against Paul Sewald and Jerry Blevins, but AJ Ramos struck out Derek Dietrich to end the threat. Ramos pitched a scoreless seventh before handing the ball off to Seth Lugo, who worked around a two-out triple by Starlin Castro to keep the Marlins off the board. Brandon Nimmo made a diving catch to rob Brian Anderson of an RBI single to end the frame.
4) Jeurys Familia allowed one hit in a scoreless ninth to earn his 13th save in 16 opportunities. He is unscored upon in seven of his last eight appearances and 19 of 22 overall.
Michael Avallone, SNY.tv | Twitter |
It took a lot longer than Jason Vargas or the Mets wanted, but he finally showed some of the veteran savvy that earned him an All-Star nod last year and a two-year contract from the club in the offseason. Granted, he was facing the lowest-scoring team in the National League, but he looked very, very good on the mound.
Having gone 13 days in between starts after an almost unfathomably horrific first three outings, Vargas looked like the pitcher New York expected they'd be getting. He won't have many scoreless starts -- that's not the type of pitcher he is -- but if he ever was going to do it, tonight was the night. He mixed up his pitches well, painted the corners and his changeup, which had been completely missing in his first three starts, was devastating. That truly was the key for Vargas tonight. The pitch completely befuddled the Marlins, many of which are youngsters who were jumping out of their shoes trying to hit the offering that dropped out of sight as it crossed the plate.
All in all, a nice win and a nice little streak that has pushed the Mets back to five games over .500. The offense continues to sputter, which can't be ignored at this point. But when the pitching is performing as it has during this winning streak, it masks a lot of deficiencies that exist. The Mets are still playing with a razor-thin margin for error on too many nights, but it's imperative they come away with at least one win out of these two remaining games against the Marlins before beginning a 12-game stretch against the Brewers, Braves and Cubs.
Highlights from tonight's game...
News and notes...
The Mets have won four straight and six of eight overall. They improved to 12-11 at Citi Field and 5-1 on the homestand. The pitching has a 1.50 ERA during the winning streak, including a 3-0, 2.35 ledger from the starters.
New York is 4-0 against Miami, who they swept at Marlins Park from April 9-11. The Mets have limited the Marlins to eight earned runs in 36 innings (2.00 ERA).
Vargas was the Marlins' second-round pick in the 2004 draft. He went 6-7 with a 5.25 ERA in 29 games (18 starts) with the Fish in 2005-2006.
Conforto is hitting .333 (13-for-39) with four extra-base hits and seven RBIs in his last 10 games.
Lugo has not allowed a run in a career-high 14 innings dating back to May 1. He has a 1.91 ERA in 17 relief appearances this season.
New York's bullpen has tossed 13 consecutive scoreless innings over its last four games.
The Mets (24-19) will be aiming for their fifth straight win as they face the Marlins (17-30) on Tuesday night at Citi Field at 7 p.m. on SNY.
Zack Wheeler (2-3, 5.92 ERA, 38 Ks, 1.55 WHIP) looks for a bounce-back outing after he was charged with six runs in four innings of a 12-1 loss to the Blue Jays last Wednesday. The 27-year-old has surrendered 15 runs on 21 hits -- including four homers -- in 16 innings over his last three starts. Wheeler improved to 3-1 with a 2.15 ERA in eight career starts against Miami after he limited the Marlins to one run and two hits in seven frames during his season debut on April 11 at Marlins Park.
Caleb Smith (2-5, 4.22 ERA, 57 Ks, 1.29 WHIP) takes the mound looking to snap a personal two-game losing streak after surrendering four runs in three innings against the Dodgers last Thursday. After posting a 6.89 ERA in his first four starts of the season, the 26-year-old has allowed eight runs in 27 innings (2.67 ERA) while holding opponents to a .170 average in five outings. Smith was charged with three runs over five innings during a no-decision in his only career start against the Mets on April 10.