I have a mental block about New York Mets left-hander Jason Vargas, who we’ve been hearing a lot about already in this young 2019 season.

My issue is that every time I hear his name, I think Claudio Vargas.

The major source of my Vargas problem, I think, is that Claudio racked up a lot of innings for my Yahoo! fantasy team back in 2004 … for the Montreal Expos.

And that really exacerbates the Jason Vargas situation for me, because … Jason Vargas leads to Claudio Vargas leads to the Montreal Expos leads to all sorts of memories of my formative baseball years in the 1980s.

2004 Topps Claudio Vargas

So I thought it might be therapeutic to take a look back at that 2004 Expos team, which just so happens to be the last Expos team (so far, at least).

But I’m going to narrow in a bit more — since I’m writing this on Tax Day in the United States, I wondered … what were the Expos up to the last time they played on April 15?

As it turns out, Montreal was in the midst of a putrid run that left them 5-19 at the end of April 2004, ten-and-a-half games out of first place and virtually assured to become the Washington Nationals in 2005 (or to move somewhere).

Before that could happen, though, the Expos where “hosting” the Florida Marlins at Estadio Hiram Bithorn in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Yeah, the Expos played 22 home games in each of 2003 and 2004 in P.R. because … well, because they were as good as gone from Montreal, I suppose, and because Puerto Rico was one of the cities in the running to land the team.

Anyway, on that April day 15 full years ago, Zach Day became the Expos’ last Tax Day starter, with center fielder Peter Bergeron their last Tax Day leadoff hitter.

On the hill for the defending World Series champion Marlins (!) was Carl Pavano (another of my fantasy arms, FWIW).

Day did a reasonable job that, um, day, giving up three earned runs over seven innings before yielding to Chad Bentz.

The problem was the Expos bats, which managed just three hits (one by Bergeron and two by Jamey Carroll, including a fourth-inning triple).

Jose Vidro also coaxed a couple of walks, but otherwise, the Montreal basepaths remained empty, and they lost by that 3-0 score.

After Bentz pitched the eighth, Chad Cordero came on to finish out the loss, giving up two hits but no other runs.

He was the last Montreal Expo to pitch on April 15.

(Incidentally, Chad Fox relieved Pavano in the eighth for the Marlins — only an Armando Benitez save op in the ninth ruined the All-Chad relief corps for the day).

And the last Expos Tax Day batter?

1997 Bowman Orlando Cabrera

That was Orlando Cabrera, who hit into a double play in the bottom of the ninth after Vidro’s one-out walk.

For what it’s worth, Cabrera always makes me think of Francisco Cabrera and his 1992 heroics for the Atlanta Braves.

But I guess that’s a rabbit hole for another day.

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