Last Two Mets Losses Equal One Big Lost Opportunity

By Michael Lecolant

This is a direct follow up to my post from June 15th, titled- Time is Right for Dillon Gee and Jon Niese to Win a Series By Themselves.

Well, the time might have been right.  But the results were all wrong.  While the pair didn’t pitch too badly, the weekend’s two losses so far, speak for themselves.  First, the numbers:

Dillon Gee – 6 IP, 5 Hits, 3 Earned Runs, 1 Walk, 4 Strikeouts, 2 HR, 100 Pitches.

Jon Niese – 7 IP, 6 Hits, 4 Earned Runs, 1 Walk, 7 Strikeouts, 1 HR, 114 Pitches.

While surrendering a mere two walks and eleven hits in thirteen innings is quite respectable, and also striking out eleven to boot, they combined to pitch to a 4.85 ERA, and alas, pitched a fraction below quality start status.  In light of an offense that sputtered over the last two games, all three home runs Gee and Niese allowed made the difference.

After the offensive output the Mets unleashed on the Rays, there was a reasonable expectation the Mets could string together a bunch of hits, at least in the opening game against Bronson Arroyo.  But the starting line-up managed little.  It took yet another injury to Jason Bay, in order for Scott Hairston to get back on the field, and hit his ninth home run of the season.  Otherwise, Kirk Nieuwenhuis gets mention for his sixth home run.  But against Arroyo, the Mets still only mustered all of four hits, and none against Cincinnati’s bullpen.

The key stat in Saturday’s loss versus Homer Bailey was hitting 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position.  In truth, after surrendering a first inning home run, Jon Niese pitched very well.  But the Mets couldn’t push any runs across for him.

Bottom line is, the Mets failed to seize the moment, again.  In their return to Citi Field, and fresh off sweeping the Rays, the Mets squandered another opportunity to improve their condition.  This is not to say the Reds are not a good ball club.  We know that’s far from true.  But with Johnny Cueto out of the way over the first two games, Dillon Gee and Jon Niese were supremely positioned to secure a series win within the first two games against Bronson Arroyo and Homer Bailey, respectively.  For they are Gee’s and Niese’s direct competition as middle of the rotation hurlers.  Facing Johnny Cueto ideally goes to Johan Santana or Dickey.  Instead, down two games in the series, the Mets will now face Johnny Cueto Sunday with Chris Young on the mound pitching for the first time this season on regular rest, while also trying to avoid getting swept.  Then if you take into consideration the Yankees are pounding out the Nationals, there-in lie your lost opportunities.  Now Sunday is consumed with the Mets trying to stave off a dilemma before the Orioles get here.

Both Johan Santana and R.A. Dickey will both pitch against the Orioles starting Monday evening.  And with a day off Thursday, the Mets will most likely throw Niese again on Friday, Young on Saturday, and have Johan on the mound Sunday night.

Jon Niese and Dillon Gee will have their starts separated again over the next two series, where they’ve had more success pitching in tandem with either Dickey or Johan.  But when they’ve been charged with pitching a series together, the results have lacked, and the one-two effect we’d like to see out of this young pair of Mets is yet to fully transpire.

You can check out more of what I do at the BrooklynTrolleyBlogger or catch me on Twitter  @BTB_mikeBHurst