Getting shut out by Aaron Nola is one thing. Jason Vargas? No offense, Jason, but the New York Mets’ lefty started the series opener last night with a 6.00 ERA and a .288/.356/.500 line against in 21 innings pitched in five starts in the second half of the 2018 campaign.
He proceeded to toss six scoreless, striking out a season-high eight batters, and allowing only three hits.
“We were just chasing a lot of pitches down,” skipper Davey Martinez told reporters after the second consecutive shutout loss (which was the 13th shutout loss of the season).
“We need to get them up. We couldn’t do that. We had one opportunity, but we didn’t have [many] opportunities today, we just didn’t hit.”
Nationals’ hitters were 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position on the night with four left on base in what ended up a 3-0 loss.
Another loss to a left-handed starter left the Nationals 13-23 against left-handed starters this season. Why the struggles against southpaws?
“It’s more when we face the kind of guys that throw a good changeup left-handed,” Martinez said.
“We struggle against that. Like I said, with Vargas today, we just needed to get the ball up and get him in the strike zone and take our walks, we didn’t do that.”
Since he brought up walks, the Nationals took one combined in their back-to-back losses to the Phillies on Thursday and the Mets last night. That’s out of character for the team, right?
“We’ve got to stay in the strike zone,” the first-year manager explained. “Like I’ve said, when we’re really good, we stay in the middle of the field and we haven’t really done that.”
This afternoon, the Nationals are going up against right-hander Zack Wheeler, unbeaten in his last ten starts, with a 2.09 ERA and a .209/.266/.278 line against in 64 2⁄3 innings pitched over that stretch.