It's usually a bad sign when your team's starting pitcher looks like this in the dugout after being removed from a game:
The picture is misleading, however. The young man in the picture is Dillon Gee, and he pitched a terrific game tonight. He had been taken out shortly after allowing a two-run home run to Wilson Betemit in the eighth. His head was buried in his hands not because he pitched poorly. Rather, he was simply not satisfied with his fantastic 7.1-inning, 2-run, 3-hit, 9-strikeout performance, as it failed to match up to recent showings by his rotation mates. Or so the armchair psychologist believes.
Gee matched a career-high with his nine strikeouts. He also matched his season-high game score (71). In six of the innings he pitched, he sent the Orioles down one-two-three. Gee seemed to tire in the eighth, walking Steve Pearce two batters after allowing the homer to Betemit. Bobby Parnell then entered to notch the final two outs of the inning but not without some drama. J.J. Hardy was called out on batter's interference by home plate umpire Tim Timmons. It appeared to be a bad call. Hardy hit a tapper near home plate and his bat made contact with the ball as he started running to first. However, he was not out of the batter's box at point of contact, so the call should have been foul ball. Chris Davis followed with a fly out to the warning track in left field which ended the inning.
Frank Francisco followed Parnell, and had game recappers trembling at the possibility of a blown save. Francisco gave up two singles and walked two, one of which came with the bases loaded. It had the makings of a late-April/early-May Francisco suckfest. However, he managed to record the final out on a Brian Roberts grounder to second baseman Jordany Valdespin. The Leverage Index at the end of the ninth inning was through the roof (see WPA chart below).
David Wright and Scott Hairston paced the Mets' offense. Wright went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI, but also cost his team a run by not running out a dropped fly ball by Orioles center fielder Adam Jones in the first inning. Shaking my head, David. Hairston smacked two doubles off Brian Matusz, continuing his scorched earth campaign against lefthanded pitchers. Mike Nickeas drove in a run with a single in the fourth inning, which put the Mets up 1-0. Nickeas is hitting .160/.232/.227 overall but .368/.429/.526 with runners in scoring position (23 plate appearances).
That makes four series in a row in which the Mets have swept (twice) or been swept (twice). Which means Friday's opener against the Yankees is crucial. Take Thursday off, Mets players, you deserve it!
SB Nation Coverage
* Traditional Recap
* Box Score
* Amazin' Avenue Gamethread
* Camden Chat Gamethread
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Dillon Gee +24.5% (as pitcher), Scott Hairston +22.8%
Big losers: Jordany Valdespin -10.5%, Vinny Rottino -6.8%
Teh aw3s0mest play: Brian Roberts ground out to end the game +22.8%
Teh sux0rest play: Steve Pearce RBI walk in the ninth inning -8.6%
Total pitcher WPA: +39.4%
Total batter WPA: +10.6%
GWRBI!: David Wright RBI double in the sixth inning