Let's start with praise for Dillon Gee, who made his best start of the season in the Mets' 3-1 win over the Yankees on Thursday night. And let's also praise the Mets' cast of castoffs and C-prospects, who took four straight games from the Yankees' cast of castoffs and C-prospects. (Tonight's cleanup hitters: John Buck for the Mets and Travis Hafner for the Yanks. Austerity is not just a word I have to look up in the dictionary a lot.)
Let's praise all tonight's Mets heroes: Marlon Byrd hit a long two-run home run to provide the Mets with all the runs they'd need, though John Buck added some insurance with an run-scoring infield single in the eighth. Bobby Parnell pitched a perfect ninth, as he continues his rise in the ranks of elite relievers. These Mets probably aren't as bad as they'd played coming into this series, and these Yankees probably aren't as good as they'd played. This week brought both teams' records a little closer to their true talents.
Gee began his night surrendering back-to-back hits to Brett Gardner and Robinson Cano. But the right-hander struck out Vernon Wells and Travis Hafner -- setting Hafner up for a changeup away with a series of inside fastballs and breaking balls, one of which saw Hafner pull an Ike Davis by swinging over a breaking ball that hit him in the leg -- and a soft ground ball from Lyle Overbay ended the Yankees' biggest threat of the game. Outside of a third-inning home run by Robinson Cano, who let's be honest would probably hit .800 against Gee given a full season of plate appearances, Gee shut down the Yankees offense with a live fastball, sneaking curveballs, and occasional help from the home plate umpire. He retired 15 straight Yankees after Cano's home run. Gee finished with 12 strikeouts and no walks in an effort to appease the FIP gods.
Terry Collins pulled Gee, who threw only 88 pitches, in the eighth inning with one out and none on because Collins must destroy the shoulder of one LOOGY per season to keep eternal life. Scott Rice is his victim this year; we thank him for his sacrifice. One also assumes Collins pulled Gee to end the struggling right-hander's night on a good note. (How do you feel about this? Do you approve of Collins' decision? What about Collins mentioning Gee as a candidate for the bullpen when Zack Wheeler is promoted -- was this a motivation tactic by the manager, or does Collins actually see his circulation-deficient righty as a legitimate bullpen candidate? Do you think such motivational tactics work? Discuss in the comments. Extra credit for complete sentences.)
And now love for the Mets' castoffs, who outplayed their Yankee counterparts this week. Marlon Byrd bashed a long two-run home run off Vidal Nuno. John Buck rolled an infield single down the third base line to bring home an extra run in the ninth. Juan Lagares didn't fall down in the outfield. (Why is he still in the majors? What good does this do anyone?) The Mets managed only four hits on the night, as did the Yankees, but the Mets' plate discipline paid off as they drew four walks, two of which came around to score. The Yankees drew none.
The Mets improved 22-29 on the season with the win, taking their fifth game in a row. The starting pitchers have improved, the bullpen has gotten some breathing room, and the Mets just took four games from the Yankees. And the Yankees, from this vantage point, are just detestable. Break up the Mets. Shut it down. Let's go home.
SB Nation Coverage
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Dillon Gee, +43.6%, Marlon Byrd, +9.4%
Big losers: Daniel Murphy -10.8%
Teh aw3s0mest play: Marlon Byrd home run in the second inning, +16.1%
Teh sux0rest play: Omar Quintanilla ground out in the second inning, -4.7%
Total pitcher WPA: +57.6%
Total batter WPA: -7.6%
GWRBI!: Marlon Byrd