Gee brought the heat on several occasions to help New York to a 7-3 mark in their last 10 games, tossing a career high-tying 8.0 innings today, allowing one run and seven hits. It was the second time this season that the righty did not walk a batter showing complete command of his pitches in the game.
“Today it was all about the command of his pitches including his breaking ball and changeup,” said Mets manager Terry Collins on what has impressed him most about Gee’s start today. “He made pitches throughout the game, he really pitched well today and that is the Dillon Gee we have seen in the past.”
New York is back to seven games over the .500 mark with one game remaining before the All-Star Game. The franchise used a completely home-grown starting line-up today for the second time this season improving to a 2-0 mark in in these games this season.
“It is a great tip of the cap to our scouts, Sandy (Alderson) has done a great job here and will continue to do so,” Collins said. “Every once in a while you reap the benefits of the work that has been done and we are seeing the benefits of all of their great work today.”
Having the big blasts in the game for New York were Ike Davis and Jordany Valdespin, who had homers in the third and fourth innings respectively. With each opportunity Valdespin has to play in New York the utility player has shined with a combination of his speed and power.
In the 11 starts that Valdespin has been in the Mets have an 8-3 record; the rookie has had 17 hits on the year, with 10 of those going for extra-bases.
“We know he has got some power and it is hard to keep him out of the line-up, right now it is tough to find him a place where he is comfortable,” said Collins.
On what the biggest adjustment Jordany has made since rejoining the team Collins had this to say, “When he first got here, anytime you just make it to the Major Leagues you can play out of control at times. I see a much more controlled guy, he has really matured he is starting to fit in with the guys and getting used to the idea of being here.”
Davis, meanwhile, hit his team high-tying 12th homer in the third inning, as the first baseman is now averaging .309 (25-for81) with seven homers and 28 RBI over his last 24 games.
“It is, actually he put three good swings and one of them got out. When you look up and you see a guy that has got 12 homers and 50 RBI I will take those homers and RBI’s, especially with his defense because he brings that added great glove to the table,” Collins said when asked if he’d take the power over getting consistent hitting from his slugger.
Helping to close out the game was Bobby Parnell who converted his second save in as many opportunities, since taking over for Frank Francisco. Parnell continued to bring on the heat in over 100 degree weather in getting the Cubs to fly, pop and strike out in finishing up this latest New York victory.
“Bobby is under control, he is much more poised, quieter on the hill and I think that has been the difference,” Collins said on the difference of Parnell. “ When he has had too he has changed eye levels, made good pitches with his breaking ball and when he needed to throw the ball out of the zone he did. He has pitched really well for us.”
The pop-out for Parnell was probably the catch of the game for New York, as Ruben Tejada continues to not only flash a great glove, but continue to contribute with great at-bats for the Mets. Tejada finished the day at the dish 2-for-4 and is hitting .370 (20-for-54) with seven multi-hit games since coming off the 15-Day Disabled list on June 24.
Tejada made an impressive over-the-shoulder catch for that vital second out and shows New York fans with every game that he plays why he belongs on the big stage.
“I didn’t think he was going to get to it, but I’ll tell you big time players make big time plays and that was a big time play,” Collins said of the Tejada catch. “He just showed you right there that he can play with the elite shortstops.”
The Mets will look to finish off the first half strong in the finale against the Cubs on Sunday. New York will send out lefty Jon Niese (7-3, 3.35 ERA) to take on Chicago righty Ryan Dempster (3-3, 2.11 ERA).
In his last start Niese tossed eight innings, allowing one run, three hits and walking two batters in the team’s 11-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on July 3. Niese also fared well in his last start against the Cubs striking out six batters in the 17-1 victory at Wrigley Field on June 27.
The Mets/Cubs finale is set to air on the SNY network with first pitch slated for 1:10 p.m.
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