Daily Dose: Gee WhizFriday, May 31, 2013
Thursday afternoon, Mets manager Terry Collins indicated in no uncertain terms that, unless Dillon Gee started pitching better, the right-hander was on his way out of the Mets' rotation.
Thursday night, Gee responded with a message of his own.
The 27-year-old dominated the Yankees on Thursday, needing just 88 pitches to get through 7 1/3 innings while striking out 12 batters. The only blemish against Gee was a solo home run by Robinson Cano in the third inning; otherwise, the Yankees managed only three singles and no walks on the evening.
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The performance came after Collins told reporters earlier in the day that if the Mets made a move to bring up a pitcher -- ostensibly phenom Zack Wheeler -- it would be Gee who would be leaving the rotation if he didn't show improvement.
"Right now, he's one of our five guys in the rotation," Collins said. "If he doesn't pitch good, we've got to find somebody to take that spot. Any time you go out there, if you can't get people out, we've got to find people to replace you."
And while the outing was rare for the 2013 version of Gee -- even after the outing, he owns just a 5.68 ERA and 1.58 WHIP through 11 starts -- it's not as though he's a stranger to pitching well. Gee won 13 games in 2011 and looked to be ready to break out in 2012, striking out nearly eight batters per nine innings with an ERA just over four, before a blood clot in his right shoulder ended his season prematurely.
It's just one start, so it's hard to get excited about Gee's prospects in his next start against the Nationals. But unlike a few hours prior to Thursday's game, it looks as though he'll at least get a chance to make it.
Last year, a hamstring injury derailed Matt Kemp's season. This year, it could be a blessing in disguise.
The struggling Kemp went on the disabled list Thursday with a "mild" strain of his right hamstring suffered in Wednesday's game. Kemp was placed on the disabled list two separate times in 2012 due to a left hamstring strain. After witnessing the injury's effects on his performance last season, Kemp was alright with being sidelined a few weeks this time around.
"It's just a mild strain," Kemp said. "It's something that can be worse, so you prevent it now. You don't want it to linger the whole year. Get it taken care of right now."
Though an injury is never ideal, it may give Kemp the chance to heal and clear his head that the star has been lacking for months. Recovery from off-season shoulder surgery has sapped his power, and Kemp is hitting just .251/.305/.335 with just two home runs through 51 games. Being able to rest, recover and, hopefully, relax may be what the doctor ordered to get Kemp going.
In his stead, the Dodgers will likely eschew more exciting fantasy prospects Yasiel Puig and Joc Pederson in favor of Tony Gwynn Jr. Because if a guy with a lifetime .630 OPS can't get this club going, nothing can.
It's fair to assume Jacoby Ellsbury won't be getting a Christmas card from Erik Kratz this year.
Ellsbury victimized Kratz to the tune of five stolen bases in Thursday's game between the Red Sox and Phillies, three times stealing second base and twice stealing third. It was the first time a Red Sox player had ever accomplished the feat, and the last major league player with five stolen bases in a game was Carl Crawford in 2009. The thefts gave Ellsbury 21 stolen bases in 23 attempts this season.
The stolen bases take the headline, but the center fielder's game as a whole has started to come around of late. Since an 0-for-4 performance dropped his average to .241 on May 20, Ellsbury has batted .400 (16-for-40) and raised his OPS 71 points in the ensuing 10-game stretch.
He'll likely never come close to replicating the 32 homers he hit in 2011, but he looks well on his way to touching the 39 bags he swiped the same year.
National League Quick Hits: Michael Wacha didn't disappoint in his major league debut, striking out six while holding the Royals to just one run. A blown save cost him his first win, but it looks as though he'll get plenty more going forward ... Chase Utley (oblique) fielded ground balls Thursday but wouldn't offer a timetable for his return. Obliques are notoriously slow-healing injuries, and Utley's looks to be no exception ... Corey Hart (knee) could begin a rehab assignment next week. His return can't come soon enough for the Brewers, who continue to believe Yuniesky Betancourt is an acceptable option at first base ... Jacob Turner will be recalled to start Friday for the Marlins against the Mets. Turner will have no problem sticking and could be an attractive NL-only option if he pitches well in his debut ... Jeff Locke held the Tigers scoreless for 5 1/3 innings, running his shutout streak to 18 1/3 innings over his last three starts ... A.J. Ellis may need a trip to the DL with pain in his left side muscle. If he does get shelved, Ramon Hernandez will likely take over everyday catching duties in Ellis' absence ... Jeff Francis (groin) will begin a rehab assignment on Monday ... Bryce Harper (knee) could return to the lineup Friday night. It's more likely that return happens in the two or three days that follow, though ... an MRI revealed only inflammation in Jon Niese's shoulder. That's good news in what is usually a bad news area for pitchers to sustain an injury ... Giancarlo Stanton (hamstring) is bothered by sore knees, forcing him to scale back his rehab efforts. The slugger took batting practice Wednesday for the first time since sustaining the injury.
American League Quick Hits: Chris Archer will be called up to make the start for the Rays against the Indians on Saturday. No word on whether Fernando Rodney will lend him the bow-and-arrow celebration for strikeouts ... Josh Hamilton missed his second start in three days due to back spasms. He did enter the game later as a defensive replacement, so the injury doesn't seem to be too serious ... Trevor Plouffe will be forced to go on the disabled list with a strained calf. The infielder had just returned from a concussion before sustaining the injury ... Jim Johnson earned his second save in two days, setting the Nationals down in order. Reports of his demise were greatly exaggerated ... Shane Victorino could begin a rehab assignment as early as Sunday while Peter Bourjos will likely begin a rehab assignment on Monday. Both players are returning from hamstring injuries ... Clay Buchholz threw a bullpen session and is on track to start Sunday. The right-hander is 7-0 with a 1.73 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 72 2/3 innings this season.