Mets Game 86: Loss to Braves

Braves 4 Mets 2

It may happen every spring, but not necessarily every summer.

The R.A. Dickey Story took a slight turn away from a happy ending, as the Mets lost for the third time in his last three starts.

Dickey actually pitched well — and has pitched relatively well in these past three contests — but it wasn’t enough to push the Mets to victory. His knuckler danced and dipped all evening, but it wasn’t enough to fool big-time sluggers Omar Infante and Melky “Not Quite Miguel” Cabrera.

Game Notes

Dickey worked his way through 6 2/3 innings, keeping the Mets in the game by allowing only 2 runs, before Cabrera and Infante went yard back to back to chase R.A. from the game. Infante’s blast came off a knuckler with too much spin, but Cabrera’s seemed to come off a flat slider.

Angel Pagan was the leadoff batter with Jose Reyes in the two-hole for reasons unknown. Pagan had two hits and stole his 17th base. Reyes looked very uncomfortable — he was hitting righthanded against RHP Tommy Hanson — and proved to be worse at sacrifice bunting than most little leaguers. In his defense, I’m not sure why a manager would ever ask Reyes to sac bunt, particularly knowing that Reyes is so dreadful at the activity.

The only other Met with more than one hit was R.A. Dickey, who also happened to score both of the Mets’ runs.

Omar Infante was a last-minute substitute for Chipper Jones, whose back is ailing. Infante finished the night 4-for-5 with 2 runs scored.

Melky Cabrera also scored twice and had three hits. Cabrera and Infante kind of remind me of Oakland’s “Bash Brothers” from the days of yore.

Josh Thole did an admirable job of stabbing at, and stopping, Dickey’s knucklers. Though I must admit I absolutely hate his catching stance, which is a really old-school position from the 1970s, is off-balance, and limits his mobility.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Braves do it again at 4:10 pm on Saturday afternoon in Flushing (that game time smells of a FOX broadcast). Mike Pelfrey goes to the hill against Tiim Hudson in an epic battle of heavy sinkers.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. gary s. July 10, 2010 at 8:16 am
    another snorefest at citicavern.right now we are getting zero production from right field, left field, 2nd base and cacther..kind of tough to win games that way even with that “home field” advantage every one on this blog always refers to.Am i the only one who thinks it’s very dangerous to play reyes, when he can’t hit lefty and every head first slide could cause reinjury and a month or more on the dl???
  2. Sliver July 10, 2010 at 12:45 pm
    I was “watching” the game on Gameday and noticed something about Dickey. In the first few innings, the speed of his knuckleball varied from the mid 70s to the low 80s. In the 7th inning, when he gave up the back to back homeruns, the speed of the knuckler was pretty steady, in the mid-70s if I recall correctly. From what I have read, one reason he has been effective is that his knuckler is faster than what others throw. But maybe this is not quite accurate. Maybe it is because he can vary the speed of it. So here is my question: is there any merit to my analysis and, if there is, does that mean that there is a limit to how much Dickey can pitch? In other words, he may not be like other knuckleball pitchers in that he is more likely to get tired and can only pitch a limited number of innings (like every other pitcher). This would also mean that using him for relief in between starts would not be a good idea.
  3. Joe July 10, 2010 at 12:56 pm
    Sliver, you raise a very good point, and one worth investigating further.

    I honestly don’t know whether the speed of his knuckler is the determining factor in its effectiveness. It’s quite possible that it spins less or more depending on the velocity.

    I would definitely say that his ability to change speeds is at least part of his success — as it is with any conventional pitcher.

  4. isuzudude July 10, 2010 at 1:33 pm
    What has happened to the offense?

    Last night was yet another case of the ineptitude of Jerry Manuel. Why did he not pinch hit for Jesus Feliciano when Bobby Cox brought in O’Flaherty? Isn’t this a reason why the Mets are carrying 6 bench players and brought up lefty-basher Nick Evans, so they could be a little more liberal with their substitutions? But then I’m confused as to why Jerry chose to pinch hit for Tejada to begin with. Reyes has been dealing with that sore oblique and seemed to tweek it again mid-game. With Cora the only middle infield backup, things would have gotten very interesting if Reyes had to be taken out due to injury.