In his last 10 games, Dillon Gee had a 3.11 ERA and a 3.0 K/BB ratio. In short, he was pitching great and giving the Mets a chance to win nearly every time out, as he had eight Quality Starts in that stretch. Now, with the horrible news about a blood clot, the Mets are scrambling to replace him in their rotation. According to the fans the first option should either be to promote Matt Harvey or to swing a trade. However, the Mets are going to install Miguel Batista into Gee’s slot.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that Batista is one of the least-popular Mets on the 2012 team. But the dirty secret is that he has been very effective as a starter for the club. In 44 IP as a SP for the Mets, Batista has a 3.07 ERA. A paragraph ago, there was praise for Gee and his 3.11 ERA in his last 10 starts. Perhaps fans could extend the same courtesy to Batista.
Batista started this year in the bullpen then made a spot start in Game 1 of the doubleheader versus the Giants and got lit up. Then it was three more relief appearances before his next start, which was better but still not great. But in his third start this year, Batista was quite good, with seven shutout innings. Unfortunately, Batista had to leave his next start after two scoreless innings with a strained muscle in his lower back.
After missing two-plus weeks, Batista lost his spot in the rotation and has been pitching out of the pen ever since. At age 41, this may be Batista’s last shot as a starting pitcher in the majors. It’s likely the Mets will be just as eager as the fan base to see him succeed right away. Likely he has no more than two starts to put up a good outing, or else there will be a trade or a Harvey promotion. Now it is up to Batista to take advantage of this opportunity.
DUDA GETS A REPRIEVE – As strange as it sounds, the injury to Gee buys more time for Lucas Duda. The Mets need to improve their offense versus LHP and one spot to upgrade was Duda’s position in RF. But now, the Mets have to determine if they need to use their assets to acquire a SP, instead. So instead of making a deal like last year at the All-Star break, the Mets are in wait-and-see mode in regards to how Batista and/or Harvey does in the next two weeks.
Meanwhile, Duda has fanned in 20 of his last 23 games and has a 28.9 K% in that time frame. In his last 97 PA, he has a .207/.320/.293 slash mark and for the year versus LHP, he has a dismal .588 OPS and has fanned 41 times in 117 PA (35.0 K%). A poor defensive outfielder and a very slow runner, Duda has nothing to fall back on if he is not hitting. Hopefully the All-Star break allowed Duda time to clear his head and change his approach versus southpaws.
SPLITTING HAIRSTON – The team’s top OF threat versus LHP remains Scott Hairston. The veteran has a .932 OPS versus lefties compared to a .635 mark versus righties. Interestingly, Hairston has done even better coming into the game as a sub or pinch-hitter. As a starter, Hairston has a respectable .770 OPS this year. But he has a 1.053 mark as a reserve, with 4 HR in 29 ABs in games he does not start.
SOME RAUCH NUMBERS – In his last 11 games, Jon Rauch has been effective, as long as you ignore the five unearned runs, with a 2.08 ERA in 8.2 IP. However, that came on the heels of a 15-game stretch where he was brutal. In that span, Rauch allowed 21 hits and 12 ER in 12.2 IP. And recall that lousy pitching came right after he opened the season with 11 scoreless appearances. Overall, Rauch has a 4.02 ERA and a 4.35 xFIP, right in line with his lifetime marks of 3.83 and 4.37, respectively.
TWO-OUT MAGIC – Much has been made this year about the Mets’ performance with two outs. They lead the National League with 187 runs scored with two outs, beating out the second-place Rockies by 16 runs. The eighth-place Diamondbacks have scored 141 runs and the last-place Giants have tallied 100 runs with two outs. Meanwhile, the Mets rank 11th in scoring with one out (129 runs) and ninth with no outs (78 runs).
WRIGHT ON BASE – While everyone else is focusing on the All-Star snub, David Wright headed into the break with a 7-game hitting streak and had reached base safely in 27 straight contests. In that span, covering 118 PA, Wright has a .340/.407/.534 mark. For mere mortals those would be great numbers. However, that qualifies as a slump for the 2012 Wright. The day before the streak began, Wright had a .362/.464/.587 slash line.
DICKEY ON LETTERMAN – During the All-Star break, R.A. Dickey took advantage of some time off to film a spot on David Letterman’s late night talk show. CBS does not offer a clip of the entire Dickey interview by itself but here you can see five minutes of it.
For the entire Dickey piece, go to http://www.cbs.com/late_night/late_show/video/?pid=lrfQVc7DTSVvJc9W88aqHb62NFpNdiPA&vs=Default&play=true and fast forward to the 26-minute mark.