It’s easy to be down about the Mets’ starting rotation and chances in general in 2014 with Matt Harvey’s ulnar collateral ligament injury, but for the second night in a row the Mets got a great performance from a different starting pitcher. Jon Niese was even better on Tuesday night than Zack Wheeler was on Monday, throwing a complete-game shutout against the hated Philadelphia Phillies.
Niese threw just 113 pitches in nine innings, 78 of which were strikes. He struck out five, walked one, and allowed just three hits. While the strikeout total was a bit on the low side, Niese generated fourteen of his non-strikeout outs via the ground ball.
He also provided the majority of the Mets’ offensive production. Niese scored the first run of the game in the second inning when he blew through Tim Teufel’s stop sign at third base on a Daniel Murphy single and scored.
With the bases loaded and one out in the sixth inning, Travis d’Arnaud added a run with a sacrifice fly. Kyle Kendrick issued an intentional walk to Omar Quintanilla to pitch to Niese, who doubled off the outfield wall and drove in all three of the Mets’ baserunners. With that, the Mets had five runs on the board, far more than they really needed for the win.
Niese now has a 3.69 ERA and 3.66 FIP on the season. The average National League starting pitcher has a 3.88 ERA and 3.81 FIP. The fact that Niese is better than league average by both metrics says a lot about how good he’s been lately. His had a 5.93 ERA through eight starts this year, improved a bit before hitting the disabled list, and he’s compiled a 1.92 ERA in his four starts since his return.
The four-game series between the Mets and Phillies continues tomorrow at 7:10 pm with Daisuke Matsuzaka squaring off against Cole Hamels.
SB Nation Coverage
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Jon Niese, +47.9% WPA (+37.6% as pitcher, +10.3% WPA as hitter)
Big losers: Wilmer Flores, -7.2% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Daniel Murphy’s single, +12.9% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Wilmer Flores’s ground out with runners on second and third in the sixth, -4.2% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +37.6% WPA
Total batter WPA: +12.4% WPA
GWRBI!: Daniel Murphy