The Mets did not announce a replacement for Syndergaard, who spent time on the injured list twice last season. One possibility would be Chris Flexen, who took the loss in relief against the Cardinals Sunday. He entered the game in eighth inning, and fell behind Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong, who drove a 3-1 slider over the fence in left field for the go-ahead run. Flexen hung the pitch over the plate.
“One pitch away today,” Flexen said.
Vargas had been on a two-game roll. After throwing a shutout against the Giants, he lasted six innings in leveling the Yankees in the Bronx on Tuesday. Aside from the homer, he was healthy before feeling discomfort when pitching against Harrison Bader. It worsened after he took his final swing.
“My hamstring just cramped up really hard, and I couldn’t get rid of it,” he said.
Out went Vargas; in came Jacob deGrom, the National League’s reigning Cy Young Award winner who hit a home run earlier in the season. He inherited a 1-1 count and drew a walk. He ran the bases, as well, with his next start scheduled for Tuesday in Atlanta. He did not take the mound, however, as Wilmer Font came on in relief and threw three scoreless innings.
The Mets are searching for wins by any means necessary. Callaway offered fans a unique lineup card for Father’s Day. Dominic Smith, who typically occupies a spot in the middle of the batting order, led off the bottom of the first with a double off the wall to left field. He followed with a walk and later added a single.
“First time ever in my life leading off so it was different,” said Smith, who scored the Mets’ first run. “I wasn’t really a speed guy, but baseball is changing.”
There was a reintroduction, as well. Robinson Cano, playing second base for the first time since recovering from left quad tightness, batted fifth rather than his typical spot as the Mets’ third hitter. He had to test his quad in the third inning when he pulled a ball to right and proceeded to leg out a stand-up double. He proceeded to go from second to home on a single by Adeiny Hechavarria.