COMMENTARY | When the final out was recorded at Citi Field on Sunday -- after the New York Mets had taken a series from the division-rival Washington Nationals for the first time since September 2011 -- Bobby Parnell, the Mets' closer, was credited with the save.
But it was the Mets' bullpen that should be credited with this save.
On a day when Dillon Gee, who the Mets desperately need to be a reliable No. 3 starter, came through with his best outing of the year, it was the bullpen that sealed the deal.
Gee was good. He pitched five and 2/3 innings and allowed just three hits while striking out six. After walking three batters in the sixth, he exited with two on and two out (John Buck had thrown out Denard Span at second base to record the second out of the inning). The Mets led 2-0 at the time, and reliever LaTroy Hawkins came in and struck out the Nationals' Ian Desmond to end the inning.
Brandon Lyon retired the Nationals in order in the seventh. Scott Rice came on in the eighth and got himself into trouble. But with two on, no outs, and a 3-0 count on Jayson Werth, the slugger grounded into a double play. Rice then struck out Bryce Harper to end the threat.
Bobby Parnell pitched a perfect ninth inning as the Mets beat the Nationals, 2-0, before 26,225 at Citi Field.
There are a lot of positives to take out of Sunday's game. The Mets' starters, other than Jonathon Niese and Matt Harvey, had been 1-7 before Gee got the win. Gee was 0-3 with an 8.36 earned run average entering the game. He pitched the way the Mets need him to pitch.
Also, the bullpen had been struggling, allowing four runs in five innings on Saturday. The Mets' bullpen came into the game with a league-worst ERA of 5.47. On Sunday, four relievers combined to pitch three and 1/3 scoreless innings.
Finally, the Mets were 4-14 against the Nationals last year. This weekend, they proved that, when all is right, they can play with the big boys.
Washington is a favorite to go to the World Series. The Mets are not. But after watching Matt Harvey's dominating performance on Friday night, and seeing Gee get himself right on Sunday, mixed in with the fine work of the bullpen yesterday, the Mets are making the case that they can at least be competitive.
Charles Costello has followed the Mets closely since the rookie years of Darryl Strawberry (1983) and Dwight Gooden (1984). He was a beat reporter assigned to cover the Mets during the 1997 and 1998 seasons.
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