In the um-teenth million example of how we as a species possess little predictive power when it comes to sports, the starting pitching scene amongst the New York baseball landscape has been turned on its head this spring.
Both the Mets and Yankees are laden with top-tier arms, always providing the promise of Cy Young-worthy campaigns from the likes of Jacob deGrom, Luis Severino, and Noah Syndergaard.
But Severino has yet to make his 2019 debut as he struggles with injuries while deGrom and Syndergaard have battled plenty of inconsistencies this year.
So you take a look at the second tier of starting arms amongst the Mets and Yankees.
While Mets No. 3 arm Zack Wheeler wants to get paid like a top-end starter, he has yet to show that he could carry a rotation on his own.
In the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Yankees, he was rocked for five earned runs on 10 hits in 4.2 innings. He’s now 5-4 this year with a 4.87 ERA.
In the Bronx, JA Happ and James Paxton have ERA’s over 4.00 while Masahiro Tanaka has allowed at least four earned runs in each of his last three starts.
Domingo German, who was an early dark horse for the AL Cy Young Award, has imploded over his last three starts, possessing an 8.59 ERA.
All those big names, all those promising arms, and the best pitcher in New York has been… Jason Vargas?
Yes, Jason Vargas.
The Mets’ No. 5 starter has been surprisingly solid since Apr. 19 after a horrendous start to the year in which he held a 14.21 ERA over his first three starts.
In his last eight starts — which included a 20-day break due to a hamstring injury — Vargas has a sterling 2.20 ERA in 45 innings of work while opponents are batting just .215 against him. He limited the mighty Yankees to just three runs on Tuesday night in six innings of work; a solid follow up to his complete-game shutout of the San Francisco Giants on Jun. 5.
The 36-year-old southpaw has regained his control as his strikeouts to walk ratio jumped from a measly 0.75 over his first three starts to 3.36 since.
Vargas’ successful run hasn’t been matched by any other starting pitcher in New York and it hasn’t even been close:
Notable Mets, Yankees pitcher ERA’s since Apr. 19
Jason Vargas- 2.20
Jacob deGrom- 3.35
JA Happ- 3.48
Steven Matz- 3.50
Masahiro Tanaka- 3.71
Noah Syndergaard- 4.02
James Paxton- 4.15
CC Sabathia- 4.37
Domingo German- 4.41