Mets Game 68: Win Over Orioles

Mets 5 Orioles 0

Just another ho-hum day at the office for lunch pail-toting R.A. Dickey.

Mets Game Notes

It’s a good thing that MLB denied the Mets’ request to turn Dickey’s last start into a no-hitter, or else he wouldn’t have been the first pitcher since 1988 to throw two consecutive one-hitters. The last to do it was Dave Stieb, and I’m old and crotchety enough to remember it. Stieb was dominating in a — ironically — Brandon Morrow sort of way back then; he threw hard gas up and in and a nasty slider. Stieb’s repertoire couldn’t be more different from Dickey’s, but the two pitchers share one characteristic: competitiveness. There was a reason Stieb was the second-winningest pitcher to Jack Morris in the 1980s — like Morris, he had a fire in his belly and wouldn’t think twice about knocking down his mother if that’s what it took to win. Dickey may not knock anyone down with his flutterball, but he has a similar intensity and will to win when on the mound.

With two consecutive one-hit shutouts, 11 wins, and 42 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings, Dickey has been the most dominant pitcher in baseball, and on what may turn out to be an historical ride. If he can toss another 16 scoreless frames, he’ll tie Don Drysdale‘s all-time record. And he’s throwing a knuckleball! I haven’t been this excited about a Mets pitcher since Dwight Gooden burst on the scene in the 1980s. Who ever would have thought that a guy throwing 65-80 MPH could be so electric?

More good news on the night: Ike Davis hit a grand slam homer, extending his hitting streak to nine games and pulling within four percentage points of the Mendoza Line. Is it time to add him to the fantasy team? I won’t, for fear of jinxing his hot streak.

Jordany Valdespin also had a big night, ripping a double and a triple and scoring twice.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Orioles do it again at 7:10 p.m. on Tuesday night in Flushing. Johan Santana takes the mound against Tommy Hunter.

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. Wohjr June 19, 2012 at 1:33 am
    DId valdespin take mutphys job tonite? I say play him and keep the most powerless and error prone regular in the MLB on the bench…
  2. Mic June 19, 2012 at 3:42 am
    Interesting development! Jordy could well take Dmurph’s spot. I would not be suprised! That actually allows murph more time to be a super-sub.
  3. Tommy2cat June 19, 2012 at 5:30 am
    Goooood morning, Joe!

    Man, its like a Tale of Two Cities…”It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

    Well, my glass is always half-full. The Orioles always seem to bring out the very best in the Mets. The better they are, the more dramatic our victories.

    Valdespin is more productive than Murphy. He should see more playing time. When Murphy heats up, and he will, he should be traded quickly to an AL team with all our love and affection. Package him with Familia or McHugh for quality RH hitting OF prospect.

    And this is about Dickey & Ike. Great stories, both of them. Both men are pure examples of facing and overcoming adversity with dignity and grace.

    Don’t count out Jason Bay. If the Good Lord levels the playing field, Bay will re-emerge as a top righty slugger. That’s my morning Met prayer.

    Yeah, today God is a Met fan.

    Have a great one!!!

  4. Quinn June 19, 2012 at 7:10 am
    Its 2 One hitters 1 Shutout Dickey gave up 1 UN-earned run against Tampa. And whats with the infatuation with Valdespin? Dont you remember the Washington series where he cost us the game by making 2 errors on routine plays in one inning? Or the fact he is batting 200? Grant it if he doesnt strike out its an extra base hit but it is that really enough to have him take over a 300 bat who is similiar in the field?
    • NormE June 19, 2012 at 7:44 am
      I think the infatuation with Valdespin is more about the frustration with Murphy. As Joe Janish has pointed out, he’s not the same hitter we’ve seen in other seasons. He has become a Castilo-type hitter without the speed. Lately his stroke has eroded even more.
      I do think that, if the Mets are serious about Valdespin, he should be at Buffalo playing every day.
      • Walnutz15 June 19, 2012 at 9:04 am
        The frustration with Murphy, along with many of us knowing exactly what he’s been – for parts of 5 seasons now with the club.

        Namely, just not very talented – and a pretty ugly player when he’s not hitting and producing.

        RE: Valdespin — I had magined that he wasn’t going to be looked to much, in terms of middle-INF (especially with Bay going back on the shelf and Turner activated). I thought they would take a look at him for a few games in LF, but last night was a refreshing change of pace.

        If I’m Terry Collins, I’m thinking about giving him a little bit of a prolonged look…..meaning reps over the next few games, to see what he can do.

        Just looking at Valdespin, he:

        – runs faster than Murphy,
        – fields more naturally (and that’s saying a lot, since he’s never been considered all that strong of a defender….looks like one, compared to Murphy); and
        – has some more lightning in his bat, even if he might not be as “careful” in his approach as Murphy is….and Murph’s been OVERLY careful these days.

        I’m not saying that Valdespin’s a long-term answer – but I’d at least like to see what he might be capable of.

        We already know what Murph is.

        (Much of my uncertainty w/Valdespin stems from questions of how much of his head is into being a true “professional” – as there have been many questions about his work ethic, and interaction with teammates/authority. Otherwise, it’s not very hard to see he’s more gifted than Murphy, right from Jump Street.)

        • DaveSchneck June 19, 2012 at 9:49 am
          Congrats to Dickey for another great perfomance, and a much needed win. Terry needs to give Valdespin one week straight at 2B to see what he do playing regularly. I know he is untamed and headstrong, but he has talent and better 2B skill than Murphy. A closer look is merited. He reminds me a little of a young Jose. Not quite as electric, but raw with some electricity. Let’s see if he can grow up a little starting now.
      • MikeT June 19, 2012 at 9:07 am
        I think the Mets are showing that they are in fact NOT serious with Valdespin. By having him be a role player at the MLB level, the Mets are clearly not high on his long term prospects. He’s 24, so there likely is not much to learn in AAA. As a free swinging lightning bolt he has value to the team. As an everyday grinder he will make errors, suck up outs (in quick at bats), and likely bring drama. I think the Mets playing him in CF in AAA also shows their desire to make him more versatile and thus more valuable. I know they like him, but just not enough to play everyday.

        I also think the team is down on Murphy right now. He needs to change his approach or the team will go in a different direction soon: be it Valdespin, or someone else.

    • Joe Janish June 19, 2012 at 11:45 am
      Thanks for the correction on the non-shutout. That unearned run didn’t really happen in my perfect world so it was forgotten. Glad someone is paying attention!
  5. Quinn June 19, 2012 at 11:42 am
    Collins is also not a fan of Valdespin. He flat out stated he is not ready for SS and brought up Quintinilla rather than Valdespin originally. There is a reason he has been used sparingly and its not because the Mets bench is all that deep its because the organization is not high on him. Personally i like him i was hoping he would make the team out of Spring training, he performed better than Turner and Cedeno and he provides much needed speed to the station to station lineup. Murphy doesnt/ cant hit for power but he also doesnt strike out maybe they should look into leading him off that way he cant hit into a DP and his slap singles would be more effective with Wright Duda and Kirk behind him. As for playing Valdespin in the OF, where would you put him Duda has been hitting well and you dont want to detract from Kirks PT so that leaves LF with Hairston Torres and when he returns Baxter. His best fit on this team is to remain a utility player who can provide rest days for middle infielders ecspecially while Cedeno is out.
  6. Kevin June 19, 2012 at 11:48 am
    Doesn’t Bulldog have the scoreless innings record?
  7. Kevin June 19, 2012 at 11:51 am
    I know we’ve all tried to block out the 88 dodgers… 🙂
  8. Timo June 19, 2012 at 11:58 am
    RAD was R.A Dickulious and we are talking about Murphy and Valdespin? RAD should have been the opening day starter LAST year instead of Big Pelf. He’s been our most constant pitcher. We need to lock him up as well with Wright before we lose them both. We have young talent that is playing their butts off BUT we need veterans to help them control their attitudes. Our SKIP can’t do everything, he’s doing enough to help us play like winners. I’m very happy with the play of the Mets and actually enjoy watching the games when I’m not watching Dora the Explorer. Got my wife on board but having a hard time convincing my 2 year old daughter to watch the Mets.
    • Walnutz15 June 19, 2012 at 12:27 pm
      Dickey has spoken for himself. Kudos and a tip o’ the cap to him for busting through the concrete to emerge as a dominant force in the 1st half.

      “RAD was R.A Dickulious and we are talking about Murphy and Valdespin?”

      Fuddruckin’ a, right…..years and years later, we’re still talking about 2B options. It’s clear that Murphy isn’t a long-term option there, especially with plenty of more athletic options potentially riding the pine in favor of him.

    • Joe June 19, 2012 at 1:01 pm
      That’s the cost of being consistently special — it gets boring, so sports talk moves on to other topics.

      The Mets didn’t handle themselves against the Reds and Yanks — being swept in two series against superior competition is not good. Even bad teams manage one game in such series.

      But, they on the whole are playing good. I didn’t buy the “they will stink” talk and with a bunch of mediocrity out there, they can do pretty well.

  9. James June 19, 2012 at 1:02 pm
    Not sure if the math on the scoreless streak is correct there.
    • Joe Janish June 19, 2012 at 1:18 pm
      Might not be. Can you find out and provide a correction?
      • friend June 19, 2012 at 5:48 pm
        The scoreless streak ended after 32-2/3, with the unearned run.
      • Crozier June 19, 2012 at 10:49 pm
        Also, Joe, Don Drysdale doesn’t hold the scoreless streak anymore. Orel Hershiser went 59 innings in 1988. Hershiser actually carried his streak into the playoffs, so he unofficially went 67 innings without a run. The Mets finally scored on him in the 9th inning, and went on to win the game, but…well, you know the rest. Anyway, Hershiser’s 59 inning streak is also the longest for not allowing an earned run. Dickey still has a shot at it.
        • Joe Janish June 19, 2012 at 10:55 pm
          I don’t recognize any “all-time records” between the time Brian Downing introduced steroids to MLB and PEDs testing began.


  10. HogWild June 19, 2012 at 8:04 pm
    Agreed, Murphy needs to hit .300 with lots of doubles to keep his job. I believe he’s a major league masher and that he’ll get through this slump.

    And what can you say about R.A. Dickey except that he and Johan have made this team exciting again!

    If the Mets make the playoffs — given the pre-season expectations and roster — Terry Collins has to win Manager of the Year.


    • Joe Janish June 19, 2012 at 10:57 pm
      Pray tell, what does Terry Collins have to do with the performances of RA Dickey and Johan Santana? Take either of them out of the rotation — or remove David Wright’s unconscious first 2 1/2 months — and the Mets are fighting the Phillies for the basement. They are an incredibly flawed team fundamentally and many of the managerial decisions Collins makes are mind-boggling.
      • Crozier June 20, 2012 at 8:14 am
        Well…yeah. That about sums it up. I’ve been flabbergasted that this team hasn’t been below .500 all year, but RAD’s 11-1 does help, a bit.
  11. HogWild June 20, 2012 at 10:48 am
    Bottom line: Collins has gotten more out of these players than expected. His predecessors got LESS than expected.

    Is this entirely coincidence?

    Yes, the players win the game. The manager/coaches prepare the players to win the game.

    If you want to dismiss Collins’ effort because of the success of Dickey, Santana and Wright then also give him credit for winning with a first baseman hitting .176 most of the year, a second baseman with 0 home runs and leading the league in errors, and a bad bullpen.

    That said, Joe, I respect your point of view and I appreciate your passion for the game and for our team!