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Jason Vargas shuts out the Giants

There’s no shame in being beaten by the best.

MLB: San Francisco Giants at New York Mets Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

It sure was nice of the Giants to play a completely non-competitive game of baseball while the Warriors were playing in the NBA Finals. If you were torn between who you should watch tonight, the Giants made the choice easy.

All you really needed to see of this game was the first inning. The Giants wasted a leadoff double, and the Mets got what would be the game winning run across the plate. It was like picking up a book in a bookstore, reading the first page and realizing it’s about a middle-aged white dude going through a divorce because he cheated on his wife. There’s no reason to finish that book, and there was no reason to continue watching this game.

That is unless you’re really into the Jason Vargas renaissance for some reason. Vargas threw a complete game shutout, the second against the Giants this year. The first came at the hands of German Márquez. If you remember, the Giants only had one such outing from a pitcher last year, and that came from the efforts of Chris Stratton.

Vargas may have gotten off to an atrocious start (10 runs in his first 6 1/3 innings), but he’s been much better recently. His last time out, he held the Dodgers to one run in seven innings, so it’s not just the Giants offense making him look good.

But it’s still pretty remarkable that Vargas even stays on a big-league roster. The fastest pitch he threw tonight was 86.7 mph, and it’s not like he’s only has a really nasty curveball or changeup. He threw 62 fastballs out of 117 pitches, but the changeup made his fastballs play up.

To the Giants’ credit, they got the leadoff runner on in five innings including the ninth, but they never managed to advance him. The only time the Giants had a runner at second base was when Joe Panik led off the game with a double. Tip your cap, I suppose. There’s no shame in being beaten by the best.

Meanwhile, Tyler Beede had the kind of start that we’ve come to expect from him. His stuff was impressive the first time through the order. He got tagged for a run in the first three innings, but the stuff looked better than the results. Then, things fell apart in a hurry. His ability to hit the strike zone evaporated entirely in the fourth inning. He gave up a home run to Michael Conforto and walked two batters to begin the inning, and then when he finally threw a strike, it was right down the middle where Amed Rosario could put the Mets up 5-0.

Javier López made the observation that Beede was jumping toward the plate and that was causing him to pull the ball down and out of the zone. You could see his release point lower as the game went on. Beede’s second inning was his best frame and he kept his release point up.

But Beede couldn’t find a consistent release point and it floated around as he lunged to the plate. Here are his release points in the fourth inning.

Through 17 2/3 innings, Beede has an 8.15 ERA. He’s striking out over a batter an inning, but he’s also walking nearly as many. I’m not really sure what needs to happen for Beede. He’s overqualified for Triple-A, but he hasn’t put things together in the majors. I don’t even know if I was glad to see Bochy let him go as long as he could. On one hand, I think more time against major league hitting is exactly what he needs, but on the other, isn’t the strain of failing damaging on his psyche? If he’s having trouble maintaining his release point isn’t that something he could work on in Sacramento?

It’s a shame that Beede has struggled so much because every time he goes out, he shows off why he could be a solid starter, but those glimmers are surrounded by dingers and walks and more dingers.

The good news is that Trevor Gott is back, and he’s still excellent. He struck out the first two batters he faced on eight pitches. Those were Carlos Gomez and Jason Vargas, but it still counts. The only baserunner he allowed was on a weakly hit grounder. It might not matter a whole lot that the Giants have their quietly dominant seventh inning guy back. They haven’t had a lot of leads for him to protect, but he’s been fun to watch.

The worst parts of the New York baseball influence have been on display throughout the series. Last night, some dolt asked Madison Bumgarner if he’d like to play for the Yankees even though Bruce Bochy had reached 1,000 victories and the game didn’t even feature the Yankees.

Tonight, the fans booed Robinson Canó for limping down the first base line. Earlier in the year, fans booed Canó for not hustling even though Canó has never hustled and he’s on track to reach the Hall of Fame. A small part of how good he’s been has been how durable he is, and that’s certainly linked to how rarely he goes max effort when he doesn’t have to. But to appease his new hometown fans, Canó ran out a grounder and naturally blew out his quad.

This was Canó’s first game back and it was obvious from the way he ran that he wasn’t feeling his best, but Mets fans booed him anyway. Imagine the sheer callousness required to boo someone who’s hurt when (A) the team has the lead and (B) it’s in a game that doesn’t matter.