Performance Review: Dillon Gee's groundballs, pitch movement

Last night, Dillon Gee allowed two runs on six hits with five strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings (110 pitches), with one of those runs scoring on a two-run home run by Carlos Ruiz that allowed by Bobby Parnell.

“Ruiz was the one at-bat we had to get,” Terry Collins said after the game. “We let the one inning get away. There’s no question, we’ve got to make better pitches than that.”

Gee told reporters he wanted to finish the inning, adding: “Everyone has ups and downs, and tonight was just a down night for the bullpen.”

Gee took a no-decision, but improved his ERA to 4.69 for the season. Over his last three starts, Gee is 2-0 with a 2.79 ERA with 20 strikeouts in 19 1/3 innings.

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Michael Baron: Gee was great last night, and most certainly deserved better than a no-decision. He’s lately found a rhythm with his slider and tailing fastball, both of which move opposite directions (his tailing fastball moves up while his slider moves down). He did an outstanding job inducing groundballs last night, as 10 of his 15 balls in play were on the ground – one of which was a key double play in the sixth inning to get him out of big trouble.

In general, though, Gee has struggled with the command of his change-up this season. As a result of not having that in his arsenal, left-handers have hit .311 against him this season compared to .244 throughout his career. Last night, however, he was in complete control of that pitch – consistently keeping it 5 – 7 miles per hour slower than his fastball with tremendous horizontal movement both away and down to the left-handed hitter. If he can command that along with his two fastballs and slider, he can again become the pitcher who won eight in a row during the first half of last season.

Performance Review: Duda's 2-HR night against the Phillies

Last night, Lucas Duda was 3 for 4 with two home runs and three RBI, the first which came in the sixth innings against Cliff Lee, which gave the Mets a 3-1 lead. The second home run lead off the ninth against Raul Valdez.

“That one off of Cliff was a big swing for him,” Terry Collins told reporters after the game. “If we get him going, our lineup is going to change immensely. It is.”

In 49 games this season, Duda is hitting .257 with a .346 OBP, 7 home runs and 26 RBI.

“Obviously, Cliff Lee is an outstanding pitcher,” Duda told reporters after the game. “It’s just one of those things. I swung at the first fastball I saw and connected and it went out.”

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Brian Erni: Duda has held his own against lefties this year. He is hitting .288/.348/.407 in 66 plate appearances, but last night were his first two homers against southpaws this season. After taking first pitch fastballs in his first two at bats against Lee, he got a third to start his turn in the sixth. Lee looked like he got it inside enough, but Duda pulled his hands in, got the barrel of the bat out, and crushed it to temporarily give the Mets a lead.

Early this season, I think Duda’s approach against lefties has been to go up the middle or to the opposite field. That makes plenty of sense. Since left handed batters have a tendency to pull off the ball against lefty pitchers, they’re often vulnerable to stuff on the outer half. Now that Duda has proven to guys around the league that he can go with those pitches, they’re trying to come inside, like Lee did last night. What Lucas showed is that he can turn on those pitches and drive them out of the ballpark. That could make him very dangerous.

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To read more about Duda’s big night, check out reports in the Star-Ledger and the New York Post.

Vinny's suggested links and backpages for May 31

According to Michael Salfino of the Wall Street Journal, Johan Santana’s effectiveness since having his shoulder reconstructed has far exceeded other All-Star caliber pitchers who underwent similar procedures.

The Mets are thriving on contributions from Triple-A call-ups, Brendan Prunty writes in the Star Ledger.

In today’s Daily News, Mike Lupica says Mike Baxter is having a surprising season in front of his legendary high school coach Jack Curran, which is another great story out of Queens this season.

The Mets have honored members into their Hall of Fame from times that produced World Series appearances in 1969, 1973 and 1986. Now the club moves on to the next generation starting with John Franco, Marty Noble reports to MLB.com.

David Wright presents his bosses with a golden opportunity to act like the smart, decisive owners they want to be, Ken Davidoff writes in this report to the New York Post.

In the Wall Street Journal, Brian Costa explains how Mets officials have negotiated or bartered with fans to get milestone home runs back for players.

Lastly, here are today’s backpages…

Standings, Beat Reports & What's on Tap for Today

The Mets and Nationals lost last night, while the Phillies, Braves and Marlins won.

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To read more about last night’s loss, check out this post on MetsBlog, as well as beat reports from MLB.com, the Wall Street JournalStar-LedgerBergen Record, The LoHud, ESPNNewsday, the Daily News and New York Post.

Josh Thole is scheduled to catch Chris Young’s rehab start for Triple-A Buffalo today against Columbus. Thole was put on the disabled list in early May with a concussion. The buzz from Citi Field suggests he could return from DL tomorrow.

The Mets are off tonight. They resume the final part of their homestand Friday night with the start of a four-game series against the Cardinals, with Johan Santana (2-2, 2.75 ERA) taking on Adam Wainwright (4-5, 4.45 ERA) at 7:10 PM.

Wilpon discusses Wright, teams play, minor league system

Prior to tonight’s game, Jeff Wilpon spoke with reporters and according to MetsBlog’s Vinny Cartiglia, stated there is no reason to rush the David Wright situation, saying:

“As Sandy said last night. He is under contract this year. We have an option for next year. There is no gun to anybody’s head. So, let it just play out. At the right time, Sandy and I will discuss it and it will move on.”

Wilpon went on to say that Wright is very special to him personally, the organization, the fan base, and the community. So, “Give it time. Let it play out. And, we will hopefully have a good conclusion.”

He also discussed the team’s play thus far, saying he is “happy.” Though it is not unexpected. “Listening to Sandy and the baseball guys. They thought we would have a competitive team. And that’s what they are showing.”

Wilpon also praised the Minor League system for being better than people had given it credit for, as well as the club’s depth; citing the fact the Mets are on their fourth string shortstop.  Wilpon went on to say a lot of different guys are contributing and “it’s great to see.”