Despite a reportedly balky right elbow and a rough start in Philadephia his last time out, Dillon Gee made a good start against the Washington Nationals this afternoon at Citi Field. With four strikeouts and three walks in six innings, Gee wasn’t exactly dominant, but he was certainly effective.
With the start, Gee now has a 2.47 ERA over his last six starts, with 40 strikeouts and 7 walks in 40.1 innings of work. He’s been throwing as hard as he did last year—something he wasn’t doing early this season—and has gone from a 6.34 ERA on May 23 to a 4.60 ERA today. Along with Jeremy Hefner, Gee’s steady performance over the past few weeks has helped mitigate the loss of Jon Niese and the Mets’ overall inability to score runs.
Today, though, scoring runs wasn’t a major problem. The best teams in baseball this year average about five runs per game, which is the number of runs the Mets plated against the Nationals this afternoon. With Taylor Jordan making his big league debut for Washington, the Mets hit well and took advantage of the Nationals’ defensive miscues to give Dillon Gee and the Mets’ bullpen a comfortable lead.
The Nationals scored first in the top of the fourth on a two-out single by Kurt Suzuki that scored Roger Bernadina. But they didn’t score again in the game, and it didn’t take the Mets very long to answer with a run of their own.
With runners on the corners and one out in the bottom of the fourth, John Buck hit a hard single through the left side of the infield to tie the game. It was just the second run driven in by Buck in the month of June.
The Mets then took the lead in the bottom of the fifth after Daniel Murphy led off with a single and moved to second on a ground out by David Wright. Up stepped Marlon Byrd, who hit a grounder to third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who booted it. As the ball popped in the general direction of shortstop Ian Desmond, Murphy broke for third. Desmond tried to throw him out, but his throw hit Murphy and trickled a few feet away. Murphy turned the corner and reached home plate safely to give the Mets the lead. I’d like to think that play was what the Nationals were going for when they coined the term "Natitude."
After a Josh Satin single—more on him later—that moved Byrd to third, Davey Johnson turned to Craig Stammen to take over for his starting pitcher. Kirk Nieuwenhuis doubled the Mets’ lead agaist him with a sacrifice fly before John Buck made an out to end the inning.
The Mets tacked on two more runs in the sixth, and it was Omar Quintanilla who got the inning started with a double. He advanced to third base on a dropped-strike-three strikeout by Andrew Brown and came in to score on a sacrifice fly by Eric Young Jr. With two outs and nobody on, Daniel Murphy tripled for the second time this year, and Marlon Byrd drove him in with a single. That was it for the Mets’ scoring today, but it was more than enough.
Carlos Torres threw a pair of scoreless innings in relief of Gee. He allowed a pair of baserunners in the seventh but was bailed out by an excellent barehanded play by David Wright to end that inning before striking out the side in order in the eighth. LaTroy Hawkins wrapped up the victory with a scoreless ninth.
With a hit and a walk today, Josh Satin is now hitting .357/.500/.464 since he was called up by the Mets. Those rates are obviously unsustainable, but it’s great to see him performing well in what is now his longest stint in the big leagues.
The Mets and Nationals wrap up their three-game series tomorrow at 1:10 pm. Zack Wheeler will make his 3rd major league start for the Mets, and Gio Gonzalez will make his 144th major league start for the Nationals.
SB Nation Coverage
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Marlon Byrd, +25.4% WPA, Dillon Gee, +17.9% WPA
Big losers: Dillon Gee (the hitter), -11.5% WPA, Eric Young Jr., -10.2% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Washington #NationLOLs in the fifth, +14.8% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Kurt Suzuki's run-scoring single in the fourth, -10.7% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +23.3% WPA
Total batter WPA: +26.7% WPA
GWRBI!: The Nationals' terrible defense