Mets Game 127: Win Over Astros

Mets 3 Astros 1

R.A. Dickey comes to the rescue, and the Mets finally score a few runs against horrific pitching.

Mets Game Notes

Dickey allowed one run in seven innings, allowing five hits and a walk en route to his 16th victory. He also drove a run on a fifteen-foot grounder.

The RBI infield single he was credited with should have been ruled an error on either catcher Jason Castro or pitcher Fernando Abad (pick one), as they ran into each other pursuing the ball. That was the catcher’s ball, and it was a play that a Major League Player should make routinely.

Two startling issues regarding our savior Mr. Dickey. First, he hesitated before covering first base on a grounder to Justin Turner in the fifth, allowing the ‘stros to load the bases. OK, I can give him a pass on that. But in the seventh, Scott Moore scored from third on a wild pitch — and R.A. never covered home. The ball didn’t bounce that far away, and though it’s unlikely Moore would’ve been thrown out, that’s no excuse not to run in and cover. I’m wondering if R.A. is dealing with some kind of a leg / foot / ankle issue, or if he’s simply tired of hustling.

Thole, by the way, was chastised in the SNY booth by Keith Hernandez for negative body language after hitting a bullet that turned into a double play. Thank you, Keith! That kind of “woe is me” attitude has no place in MLB. Considering that this year, Thole has not hit, has not hit for power, cannot run, is a liability behind the plate, and is now exhibiting a negative attitude, is there a reason to bring him back in 2013? That’s what this season was for, right? To evaluate personnel and figure out who needs to go and who should stay?

R.A. Dickey was saved by a few double plays that ended Astros rallies, including one outstanding double-play turn by Ronny Cedeno in the fifth, who was upended by a hard-sliding Brian Bogusevic in the process. Cedeno also got air to snare a flare off the bat of Castro in the seventh. Both plays saved runs. Continuing the subject of the previous paragraph, I’m not sure Daniel Murphy grabs that liner, and I’m positive he doesn’t turn that DP. Look again at the score and decide how important those two plays were toward winning the ballgame.

Justin Turner’s solo homer — his first since last August — was the winning run. Interestingly, Turner hit his first MLB home run against the Astros, on May 15, 2011. Just some trivia for ya.

The Astros pitchers look like A and AA guys — young, inexperienced, with intriguing talent but with no idea what to do with it. Their starter Fernando Abad seems to have decent stuff but was wasting far too many pitches trying to get swing-and-miss strikeouts, rather than focusing on hitting good locations. Houston manager Tony DeFrancesco made the right move in pulling him after four frames, as he was lucky to get that far without allowing more than one run — he gave up four hits and walked four in that brief outing.

On the other hand, not sure why Dickey was removed after seven innings and 84 pitches. Is he ailing? Did he not feel well? Was this a risky decision by Terry Collins? I’m sure we’ll get the answer during the postgame press conference.

Beyond the offense exploding for three runs, there were two other minor miracles in this ballgame — Jason Bay drove in one of the runs with a single, and Frank Francisco saved the game with a clean ninth inning. Proof that anything can happen in baseball.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Astros play again on Sunday afternoon in a 1:10 p.m. start. Jeremy Hefner will take the hill against Lucas Harrell.

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. Joe August 25, 2012 at 6:44 pm
    “R.A. Dickey wasn’t feeling it Saturday. The air was heavy with humidity, his legs were tired and he had to make a mad dash up the first base line in the fourth inning.”

    Read more:

    Dickey is later quoted as saying he was not feeling it and accepted being pulled with a relatively low pitch count:

    “I had a pitch count that I should’ve thrown a complete game,” Dickey said, “but the way I felt it would’ve been selfish of me not to be honest.”

    Anyway, technically they “scored” more than two runs, but once in blue moon happenings like Turner getting a HR, Bay getting a hit and that “hit” (yeah, it was an error) from Dickey (Keith was ridiculing the Astros appearing to assume Thole was bunting, but the DP perhaps made it reasonable for him TO bunt) is not exactly too reassuring. Take what you can get.

  2. Joe August 25, 2012 at 6:48 pm
    As to Murphy, some other time in the year, he would score you more runs (while making a few run stopping plays himself) than Cedeno (I reaffirm my belief at the time that he was a useful pick-up) , so it’s a balancing thing.
    • Joe Janish August 25, 2012 at 10:53 pm
      I find it hard to believe that Murphy produces more runs on his own on offense than he costs on his own on defense. Unless one is hitting homeruns, one is dependent on others to produce runs. However, when one is making defensive miscues or flat-out not getting to the baseball — and this goes beyond errors — then one can be personally responsible for runs scoring (in addition to “helping” others cause runs to score). It’s not as simple as making a diving catch vs. driving in a run — it’s much more complicated than that.
  3. Pedro Costa August 25, 2012 at 9:55 pm
    Hey guys, have you listened to this? Absolutely brilliant! It’s a piece from “The Mike Francesca Show” last Thursday…!
    • Joe Janish August 25, 2012 at 11:09 pm
      That was tremendous, thanks Pedro. It’s going up on Sunday morning.
  4. Micalpalyn August 26, 2012 at 5:06 am
    Why? Francesco says in 10 minutes without any depth, what we/you have been saying

    It does highlight that tc needs to go. The fact he is being managed by everyone is clear. He cant strategy, he cant motivate, and his clubhouse is non chalant.

    for me however…i. Will go out and say dw needs to go …while he can fetch a zach wheeler level prospect. Right now it looks like a reyes repeat and mets will get NO compensation.

  5. Micalpalyn August 26, 2012 at 5:21 am
    I do think MF is wrong in his theories on met pitching. Sorry. Matt harvey IS that good.and based on mchugh’s debut, wheeler, then gee’searly season show and niese. Ithink the starting pitching is ok. Santana will improve. And dickey is the best veteran in the clubhouse. The weakest link in the pitching staff is dan warthen.

    Ruben Tejada has lost interest, DW is having his patented post all star swoon, and tc ruined kirk and duda with his shuffling and negativity. Me, i dont really see Duda as more than a foil for jeery hairston, but kirk needed a spot in rf or left period. I cant quite get how torres and hairston get so much reps…this was supposed to be a developmental year.

    • Izzy August 26, 2012 at 9:01 am
      It just amazes me how someone can base a player’s future based on one game or one week.. Its exactly the same way that Collins and Alderson operate and explains why the Mets suck. You are in love with a pitcher because of 7 innings and you sell Tejada under the bus because he is slumping and didn’t run out a ball. And of course warhten is a bum because why? Because Niese and Gee have reached levels that were not projected by anyone? Why? Because the bums brought in by Alderson have not listened and not produced? I guess its like the Minaya haters. Everyone who is decent Minaya didn’t bring in, but everyone that sucked he did.
      • DaveSchneck August 26, 2012 at 9:14 am
        Agreed. We Met fans are a traumatized bunch, for sure, but I’m with you on Tejada, McHugh, and Minaya’s grade.
  6. Micalpalyn August 26, 2012 at 12:47 pm
    Niese has been sought by every team in deals with the mets since 2008.
    Gee is great to watch.

    Why i dont like dan warthen? Mets pitchers dont use the inner half or set up hitters.izzy has a point in that dan teaches strikes but that means mediocre stuff gets hit very hard.