I made mention of today’s topic at the end of May, prior to the Phillies series, and again on June 16th, in a post titled: Time is Right for Dillon Gee and Jon Niese to Win a Series By Themselves. This weekend’s concluded series against Chicago necessitates another visit to what is now a turning into a back-of-the-rotation dilemma. It’s not just this weekend’s collapse against the Cubs, but two collapses against the Cubs this season which drive my point home. For the second time this month, Dillon Gee and Jon Niese were tasked together with pitching against the woeful Cubs. Each time, the Mets lost the series. In both series, the duo could not coordinate their wins and losses. When one won, the other lost.
I stated then, and believe more so now, it is reasonable to expect Dillon Gee and Jon Niese to at least start forming a one-two punch of their own. And why not? The ability is clearly there. But, no longer do I wish to see them enjoy their successes on the front, or tail end of a series featuring R.A. Dickey, and or, Johan Santana. At some point, Niese and Gee need to win series when they are scheduled to pitch minus the services of Santana and, or, Dickey. Which, they have not.
Before season’s end, the success or failures of another eight series or so, will rest on their ability to team up, and win games in tandem. The Mets’ playoff hopes are no doubt intertwined, and affected by this dynamic as much as any affecting the team right now. A 2-4 record against Chicago, now changes the Mets mission somewhat when they play Atlanta after the break, then face off against Washington for the big one. So it goes without saying, fundamentally better play against Chicago, and we’re not kicking ourselves in the posterior over a 4.5 game deficit. But don’t kick yourselves too hard. After all, the Nats just keep winning.
When not being merely complimentary pieces to the top of the rotation, the two have teamed up to pitch substantially worse pitching in the same series together, than when their starts come against unlike opponents; where, individually, they have fared much better.
The two have combined to make thirty-four starts this season. There have been eight series in which Niese and Gee have pitched separately. With them on the mound, the Mets have a 10-6 record in those games. Dillon Gee is 4-3, with one no-decision, while Jon Niese is 5-0, with three no-decisions. Combined, that’s a 9-3 record with four no-decisions.
When called upon to subdue an opponent together, the results are far worse. The Mets record is 6-12 with them on the mound in the nine series they pitched as a tandem. Individually, Dillon Gee was 2-4, with three no-decisions, while Niese pitched to a 2-2 record, with a whopping five no-decisions. Combined, that’s a 4-6 record, and eight no-decisions. And that’s not the kind of stuff series wins are made of. On a side note, that speaks to the state of the Mets’ bullpen. For now however, a very clear challenge lies ahead for both pitchers to ally, and assume more responsibility upon themselves.