Mets Game 136: Win Over Nationals

Mets 7 Nationals 3

For a change, the Mets gave R.A. Dickey offensive support — and he responded with his seventh win of the season.

Mets Game Notes

The Nationals hit Dickey hard, but he managed to prevent them from scoring more than three runs in his six innings of work — which in the end is all that matters. He allowed nine hits, including a triple by Ian Desmond and both a double and a homer by Rick Ankiel. Ankiel is one of those rare individuals who looks forward to seeing a knuckleballer on the mound — he’s hitting over .350 vs. R.A. (and .714 vs. Tim Wakefield).

R.A. mixed in a significant amount of fastballs in this game — something he’s been doing more this year than last. I’m not sure why. Maybe it has something to do with the plantar fascia injury. Maybe it’s a strategy thing. Maybe he just doesn’t have the same confidence in the knuckler that he had last year — or he has more confidence in the heater. Who knows? But this game in particular, 32 of his 100 pitches were fastballs (according to pitch f/x). I’m not very good at math, but that works out to … let’s see … 32% of his pitches. Compare that to last year, when he threw the fastball about 16% (again, according to pitch f/x, via Fangraphs). I don’t necessarily 100% trust all the pitch-type data (for example, is it accurate re: a two-seam vs. four-seam fastball?), but in this case I believe the numbers are on target and reliable enough for the argument.

In addition to wondering why R.A. is throwing more fastballs, the other question is whether all these fastballs are making the knuckler less effective. Bobby Ojeda presented his theory in the postgame, suggesting that it’s difficult to transition from using a “loose wrist” for the fastball to using a “stiff wrist” when throwing the knuckleball. I believe that theory has enough merit to consider more research. Though, I don’t know if it’s as simple as that. I am curious if there are other mechanical adjustments made throughout the body depending on the pitch — which again, makes me wonder about that foot problem. For example, does R.A. push off more with the back foot, or pull more with the front foot, when he throws he knuckler? Does his front foot land at a different time depending on the pitch? Is the release point different? Without access to super high-speed motion video from several angles, it’s difficult to know.

Anyway, back to the ballgame.

The Mets made mincemeat of Ross Detwiler, scoring in each of the first three innings to chase him from the game. David Wright was particularly destructive against Detwiler, blasting a homer and a double off of the lefthander. Did anyone else notice that Wright’s stance looked more crouched and closed than normal? I actually did a double-take each time he came to the plate, because I wasn’t sure it was him. He seemed to be more bent at the waist than usual. Though, it could just be a function of me watching the game on my tiny backup TV (my 42-inch flat screen died last weekend … yes I’m taking donations for the repair — see below or to the right).

Perhaps as exciting as seeing the Mets win a meaningless September ballgame was seeing the MLB debut of Josh Stinson and the Mets debut of Danny Herrera, who was profiled in the previous post. Stinson was humming a hard sinker around 94-MPH and mixed in a few sliders. I’m not sure if he always throws that hard or if he was hopped up on MLB excitement, but it was certainly a great way to start — he struck out two and gave up two hits in an inning and two-thirds. Herrera came on to get the last out of the ballgame, striking out Jonny Gomes. It will be fun to watch these two young relievers get more opportunities this month.

Next Mets Game

The Nationals and Mets do it again at 7:05 PM on Saturday night. Dillon Gee goes to the hill against Tom Milone.

Mets 2011 Games

About the Author

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.

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