Jason Vargas joins A.J. Burnett in the double-digit runs club

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A.J. Burnett’s disastrous outing against the Cardinals on May 2 remains the gold standard for horrendous starts this season, but now he has company in the double-digit runs allowed club.

Jason Vargas coughed up 10 runs in 4.1 innings against the Diamondbacks yesterday, including serving up five homers. Arizona hitters went 10-for-22 (.455) with seven total extra-base hits, which works out to a nifty 1.227 slugging percentage (yes, slugging percentage, not OPS).

Burnett and Vargas are the only pitchers to allow double-digit runs in a game this season and remarkably they’ve both been pretty effective aside from their one blowup. In fact, Burnett has been downright dominant for the Pirates if you remove that one start, going 7-1 with a 2.04 ERA in his other 10 starts. Vargas can’t compete with that, but prior to yesterday he did have a solid 3.95 ERA in 15 starts after making 32 starts with a 4.25 ERA last season and 31 starts with a 3.78 ERA in 2010.

Pitchers allowing nine runs in a game this season has happened 15 times and there have also been 38 other instances of pitchers allowing eight runs in a game.

Mets invite Tim Tebow to spring training

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Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.

Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.

Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.