Dillon Gee's masterpiece caps Mets' sweep of Yankees
Many will say that Gee's performance was thanks to nothing more than a slumping Yankees team that has put together a magical run to start this season finally coming back down to Earth. And they may be partially correct, but these critics should also give credit where credit is due. It's not every night that the New York Yankees are limited to four hits, one run, no walks and are fanned 12 times by an opposing pitcher. In fact, Dillon Gee is only the second pitcher since 1916 with 12 or more strikeouts, no walks and four or fewer hits against the Yankees. Pedro Martinez being the other, in 1999.
Gee and Martinez have something else in common after his performance. Gee became the first pitcher since Martinez, who did so in 2001, to strike out 12 batters in under 90 pitches. Gee attacked the strike zone with a steady diet of two and four seam fastballs, while keeping the Yankees off balance with his array of changeups, curveballs and sliders. There is no doubt about it, he twirled a gem.
"I was able to be aggressive with the pitches that I wanted to throw getting in those counts, which was a big difference in the game for me," Gee said of his performance.
"He was throwing a lot of strikes, and his changeup a lot of times looks like a strike," Joe Girardi said. "That's the bottom line: Our guys were swinging at it and they weren't hitting it."
Reid Brignac showed the most plate discipline against Gee, striking out in a game-high seven pitch at-bat to lead off the fifth inning. This win and pitching performance is truly a combination of aspects right now. The Yankees are slumping badly, but Gee had extra life and movement on his pitches that hasn't been seen from him in a long while, and certainly not this season.
"He didn't really leave many balls over the plate," Brett Garder said of Gee. "I didn't see much of the other at-bats, but for me, he didn't do that. Robby [Cano] and I took advantage of some good pitches to hit in the first inning, but we didn't get anything out of it and from there he had his way with us."
"That was my mindset," Gee said after the game. "I went out in the fifth, sixth, seventh this is my game. I'm going to attack guys. I'm not going to shy away from them. That's the way I've got to pitch. I haven't been doing that lately. It just feels good to finally do it."
Gee's ERA improved to 5.68 after this outing, and from the way he has thrown in 2013 it couldn't have come at a better time. Mets manager Terry Collins took some of his players to task and that included the former 13 game winner. Gee knew this was an outing he needed to excel at.
"He told me 'finally, good job'. He didn't say finally," Gee jokingly said. "He said good job for once. I needed that and I'm just glad to finally be on the side to help the team out."
After his lone mistake to Robinson Cano in the third inning on a 1-0 slider that was deposited into the right field seats, Gee retired the next 15 Yankees he faced. It didn't get much better for the Bombers after the game was handed over to the Mets bullpen as they went down in order for the rest of the game, making it 20 straight to close out the loss.
The biggest surprise of the night might have been Collins' decision to take Gee out after only 88 pitches.
"I just told him 'this guy has had such a tough time in the last month,'" Terry Collins said. "We had Scott Rice ready and we were going to get Ichiro. If he gets on, we have to go to Scott Rice for Gardner and Cano. Cano has to face a lefty. I just said 'he's done a tremendous job up until this point'."
Sometimes, as the opposing team, you just have to tip your cap to a performance like that and move on. In the case of the missing Yankees' offense, they need to put this series behind them and move on.
As for the starting staff that came into this series as "Matt Harvey and the Other Guys", well, this should build confidence in those "other guys." Even if it doesn't, it will certainly forever be a series to remember, capped off by Gee's career night.