The Mets called up Dillon Gee to start today’s series finale against the Braves. To make room on the roster for Gee, the Mets once again designated Pat Misch for assignment. There had been speculation that they would send down Ryota Igarashi instead as the counter move. But Igarashi has yet to give up a run in four appearances while Misch gave up a run in two innings yesterday.
Or maybe since Misch already cleared waivers once this year the Mets figured he could do it again.
Either way, Gee comes up to make the start. He becomes the seventh Mets pitcher to start a game in 2011. Back in February, when many were calling for Gee to be in the rotation to start the season over Chris Capuano, I said that he was best used as rotation depth, one of the guys the team should count on to be their 6th through 10th SP. And given the injury concerns around Capuano and Chris Young he would still get a chance to get a good number of starts in 2011.
Last year R.A. Dickey (26 starts), Hisanori Takahashi (12), Misch (6), Gee (5) and Jenrry Mejia (3) all made multiple starts for the Mets despite not being in the Opening Day rotation, due to the implosions of John Maine and Oliver Perez along with the late-season injury to Johan Santana. With no ace in the rotation, plus injury risks Capuano and Young, the potential for 40+ starts for pitchers 6-10 existed once again for the Mets.
It is a little disappointing that Gee gets his chance the third week in April, but it’s hardly a shock. He has already made two starts this year in Triple-A, getting bombed in one (4.2 IP, 7 R) and doing well in the other (7 IP, 1 R). His ERA stands at 4.63, similar to last year’s 4.96 ERA at Buffalo in 161.1 IP.
Gee had success last year in the majors, but his 2.18 ERA was deceiving, as he had a 5.00 xFIP. Right now, the Mets could use the results Gee gave them last year, whether they are achieved through luck or skill. At the very least, they need innings, as the bullpen was asked to provide 7.1 IP yesterday, not counting the 3.2 delivered by D.J. Carrasco in an emergency start.
So, Gee comes up with the chance to impress people and win additional starts, even when Young returns from the disabled list. Gee should get two starts before Young, whose stint was backdated to April 11th, returns from the DL. If Gee turns in two strong starts, manager Terry Collins would think long and hard about getting him additional work, given how lousy the rest of the team’s starters have been most of the year.
While it’s not the way that Gee (or his vocal supporters) imagined 2011 working out back in February, he’s getting the chance to pitch meaningful games for the Mets in April. The club desperately needs a win to end its current 7-game losing streak. Gee would do well to impress the doubters by coming up with a strong effort in the house of horrors known as Turner Field.
Since the Braves’ current home park opened in 1997, the Mets are 38-80 (.322) after dropping their first two games in Turner Field here in 2011. In 2006-07, the Mets were 11-7 in Turner Field. Outside of those two seasons, they are 27-73 (.270) in Atlanta. What exactly was wrong with Fulton County Stadium again?
Back in March, Doug Parker pointed out that the word Gee is an interjection. The Mets really need Gee to live up to his name and interject some life into the team today. Hopefully tomorrow the headline writers for the city’s papers can have some fun and write, “Gee that was a strong start.”