Mets Game 76: Loss to Marlins
Marlins 10 Mets 3
Rumor has it that someone used up all of R.A. Dickey’s “hair tonic“.
Those too young to know what I’m talking about, switch the remote to Turner Classic Movies every once in a while.
Hiram Bithorn Stadium was more like Homerun Ball-hit Stadium, as leather-covered spheres flew over the fence in right-center at a rate that rivals The House That Steinbrenner Built.
Unfortunately for the Mets, it was the Fish who took advantage of the jet stream.
R.A. Dickey finally proved mortal, allowing 5 runs on 5 hits in 5 innings, blemishing his once-perfect record. Though it was the second time the Marlins saw him, I’m not so sure familiarity was his undoing as much as his lack of command. To me, his release point looked to be inconsistent and slightly different from what I’ve seen from him in previous starts; it appeared that he was opening a hair too early and dragging his arm just a bit — enough to move his release point a few inches higher, earlier, and to the right of where he’s been in the past. As a result — and possibly also due to crosswinds — his knuckler was moving uncharacteristically in toward the RH batters and up. That’s his “hard” knuckler, and the one he’s been using to get strikes. Unable to get ahead with that one, he was unable to properly set up the slower “floater”, which tends to be more unpredictable and generally used as an “out” pitch. Instead, he was aiming the slow one to get more plate — i.e., trying to throw strikes with it — and I *think* that was the one that was getting hit hard.
The Mets bullpen wasn’t much more effective. Fernando Nieve and Ryota “Rocket Man” Igarashi allowed another five runs, including three gopher balls. Igarashi may not be the man they think he is at home in Japan; he’s burning up his fuse out here alone in the western world.
Though the balls flew off the bats of Marlins with ease, Jason Bay was the only Met with homeruns to please. He hit two moon shots, which drove in all three runs. The two homers he hit in this contest were equal to half the amount he hit in the previous 75 games combined. David Wright also had two hits, but they were not of the four-bag variety.
Opposing pitcher Ricky Nolasco not only shut down the Mets’ offense, he also blasted a 400-foot double to the centerfield wall. Nolasco, by the way, is a terrible hitter — but he even he can hit a hanging knuckleball.
Ruben Tejada’s 10-game hitting streak came to an end. Somewhere, the ghost of Wee Willie Keeler expresses a relieved sigh — while Pete Rose collects on a low-risk bet.
The Braves beat the Nats, so the Mets lose a full game in the standings — though, they still have sole possession of second place.
For those wondering, the Mets are now 5-5 in their last 10 games. Somehow, it doesn’t feel that way, does it?
Next Mets Game
The Mets remain in Puerto Rico to play the Marlins again on Tuesday night at 7:10 PM. Hisanori Takahashi faces Nate Robertson.