The highlight of the lone win for the New York Mets in their three-game series with the Atlanta Braves was once again the great pitching of starter Dillon Gee. Let’s use this series recap to expound further on his run of success.
Gee threw 13 curveballs among his 102 pitches Wednesday and, once again, the pitch proved capable of wiping opponents out. He used it to strike out Evan Gattis and Gerald Laird to escape a second-and-third, one-out jam in the first inning and got three other outs with it over the next five innings.
Gee threw 11 of 13 curves for strikes, his 85 percent strike rate the best he has had with the pitch in any game this season.
Gee has had great command of his curveball since mid-May. In his first eight starts of the season, he gave up as many hits with it (four) as he netted outs. But since then he’s thrown 194 curveballs (about 10 per start) netting 46 outs and yielding only five hits and two walks. In his past nine starts, the 74 he has thrown have produced 22 outs and allowed just an infield single to Omar Infante of the Tigers.
Gee did not allow a hit with a runner in scoring position for the fourth straight start. Since Aug. 2, he has allowed just two hits to the 34 hitters he has faced in such situations.
Opponents are hitting .155 with runners in scoring position against Gee since his win over the New York Yankees on May 30. As of late Thursday afternoon, that’s the second-best mark in the National League, trailing only Jose Fernandez’s .121.
Make them chase
One of the keys to this run by Gee has been that he’s gotten hitters to repeatedly swing at pitches out of the strike zone. In the statistical world, we can measure that by something we refer to as “chase rate” -- how often a hitter swings at a pitch out of the zone.
Dillon Gee - 2013 Season
Gee has a chase rate of 35 percent since that start against the Yankees. That’s the second-best chase rate in that span, trailing only Cole Hamels (37 percent).
Gee has had an above-average chase rate against all four of his pitches (fastball, curve, slider changeup) relative to other starting pitchers in this span. Perhaps most surprising is that the chase rate against his fastball/cutter combo is 31 percent (ninth-best among the 95 starting pitchers who qualified for the list).
Most major league hitters will chase pitches in a two-strike count, but Gee has been good at getting them to chase in other counts. Most notably, the contact has been feeble.
Opponents have managed only one extra-base hit against a Gee pitch thrown out of the strike zone since May 30, regardless of count. That’s tied for the fewest among any of the pitchers who made the qualifying list.
Top-10 second half?
Gee has a 2.14 ERA in nine starts since the All-Star break. If he maintained that, it would be the ninth best post-All-Star break ERA among those Mets pitchers with at least 10 starts. It would be the best by any Met since 1988 when David Cone had a 1.92 ERA and Bob Ojeda had a 2.05 ERA.