Dillon Gee Had a Bad Time

Dilson Herrera

Dilson Herrera, listening to the sound of his own awesome.

Since 2010, the Mets starting pitching has been better than you might think for a team that hasn’t finished above .500 once in that time and has a cumulative record of 416-457, including the current season. In terms of fWAR, the Mets rank sixth in the NL since the beginning of 2010 and the team’s starters have the 10th ranked FIP at 3.84. Big strikeout numbers typically help FIP (it’s fielding independent after all) and the Mets surprisingly are ranked seventh at 7.24 K/9. The last number surprised me. Well, not the 7.24 but being ranked seventh. I thought it would be lower. Outside of the current crop of big armed righties, it’s not as though in the last six years the Mets have employed guys with swing and miss stuff.

Over that time, of all the pitchers not named Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, or Zack Wheeler, the starter with the highest K/9 is Chris Capuano at 8.17 in his one, not so horrible even though I was convinced it was going to be, 2011 season where he was third of the Mets starters in fWAR behind Jon Niese and R.A. Dickey.

There’s a point here. Trust me.

Over those six years, the Mets have asked 31 different men to start for them. Of those 31, seven starts were given to Oliver Perez, four to Aaron Harang (before he found he could pitch again with the Braves), 18 starts to their former closer Jenrry Mejia, and one start to their current closer Jeurys Familia. It’s sort of like a time capsule here. I look at this list and smile when I see John Maine.

It’s like that but opposite with Perez.

Of those 873 games that a pitcher could potentially start, Niese has made the most starts with 152. Second most is Dillon Gee with 110, and over the years Gee has a perfectly respectable record of 40-37 (one of only five Mets starters to have a record greater than .500 who have at least one full season worth of starts) with a below average ERA of 4.00 and an fWAR of 4.8 that Max Scherzer will likely equal by the middle of July. Amazingly enough Gee’s allowed fewer hits than innings pitched over the years, which is saying something if you watched the game Sunday.

Yesterday it was like he was balancing the books.

All of this is really my way of saying we go way back Dillon. I think Mets fans genuinely like the guy, even if they booed his outing yesterday, and I imagine most people feel for a guy who’s pitched competently for a franchise that hasn’t been above .500 since 2008 and not once since Gee’s been employed. He’s not part of the team’s future (as evidenced by the constant trade speculations and creative ways management screws up this six-man rotation “thing” that has basically gone nowhere excruciatingly slowly), and when fans dream of a rotation of twenty-somethings who all throw mid-to-high-90s, post sexy strikeout rates, and have a changeup that essentially is Gee’s fourseamer.

Maybe he’s traded, and maybe he’s not, but for Gee, there’s no rosy future where he saves the season of the only professional team he’s ever known. Even the bullpen is like the team is just finding a spot to put him, sort of out of sight for the time being, like stacking things in your basement just to make room for shinier objects. I get his frustration. He deserves better than to be forgotten, except when it’s impossible to forget the train wreck of his latest starts, but he won’t get it here. I guess the only solace is that he doesn’t pitch for Boston. They’d leak rumors of a peppermint oil addiction or something.

Yesterday, Gee allowed 11 hits in 3 2/3 innings. The hits allowed were one shy of his personal worst (a 6 2/3 inning outing against the Giants in 2012), and if all of those didn’t happen in bunches with two outs it certainly felt like it. I think they call those clusters. Yeah, yesterday was sort of a cluster.

The eight earned runs allowed by Gee (oh, passive voice!) tied his career high and marks the fourth time this season where he’s allowed four or more runs. That’s in seven starts. The averages aren’t particularly good.

The averages also aren’t good for any pitch that Gee throws up there right now, except his slider. Batters are hitting .318 against his fourseamer, .369 against his sinker, and a ridiculous .375 against his changeup. Batters used to hit just .209 against his change—back when things were more settled, like his location both in terms of where he’s throwing the ball and where he’s expected to be placed.

The Mets won yesterday, so Gee’s outing will largely be forgotten. The storyline will be the return of Jose Reyes and Dickey and Noah Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud starting against the team that traded them. Gee will be forgotten too, at some point, for newer, younger guys with electric stuff that don’t have to be perfect to be serviceable. Even when Gee makes great pitches, like he did to Jace Peterson to lead off the game, they can be slapped around for singles and lead to bad things happening.

Younger guys are distractions. Isn’t that so, Dilson Herrera?

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