Jason Vargas

Vargas tagged early in Royals loss to Cardinals

Suddenly, that big play at the deadline doesn’t look so amazing, does it?

When Dayton Moore went out and got Melky Cabrera and a trio of arms before the start of August, the proverbial push of the chips to the middle of the table, it signaled a point of no return for the Kansas City Royals. The bell cannot be un-rung.

And after dropping four of their last five, including the first two during the home half of the I-70 series, things are (again) becoming somewhat dire for the Blue Crew, as they’ve dropped into a tie for the second Wild Card spot with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Oh, where to begin in regard to what went wrong Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium? A vengeful god who also happens to be an Alex Gordon fan, angered that Ned Yost would sit him under the auspices of “But Dale Sveum’s gonna make him hit good again,” might’ve had something to do with it. The horseshoe might also have finally fallen out of Jason Vargas’ southernmost orifice.

Actually, I’m gonna go with that second one. If any higher power was an Alex Gordon fan, that deity would prove it by turning him into a viable hitter again.

In another rough outing, Vargas surrendered eight hits and six earned over 4.2 innings. He gave up homers to Yadier Molina and Randal Grichuk, then turned it over to Mike Minor and watched Jedd Gyorko immediately take him deep too.

(On the bright side: the guys the Royals traded for held up their end of the bargain! Brandon Maurer tossed a scoreless inning and Melky Cabrera collected a pair of hits.)

Nobody can deny that Vargas’ role of “Dutch kid plugging his fingers in the dam” during a turbulent first half was essential to keeping the Royals on the cusp of the postseason. But facts are facts, and the most indisputable ones are as follows:

  • He’s made it past the fifth once since the beginning of July.
  • He’s surrendered at least six earned runs in three of his last six appearances.
  • His ERA has jumped from 2.22 to 3.40.
  • His FIP has jumped to well above 4.00.

And that’s with a cursory glance at the numbers. If Vargas is going to regress—and it should be noted he hasn’t pitched this many innings since 2014—all the moves Dayton Moore made prior to Tuesday are moot anyway.

Molina’s ground ball single in the fifth was the straw the finally broke the camel’s back for Vargas, although little and less was going his way aside from a brief lead after Lord Cheslor Cuthbert’s bases-clearing double in the fourth.

Grichuk and Matt Carpenter tapped Neftali Feliz for the Red Birds last three runs in the seventh. Frankly, I’m not in or near the mood to discuss this further.

Tomorrow is a new day. Allegedly. In the second half of this home-and-home four-gamer, Trevor Cahill looks to continue his improvement, while Mike Leake has allowed three earned runs or fewer in eight of his last nine starts.

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