Mets Game 137: Win Over Cardinals

Mets 6 Cardinals 2

R.A. Dickey becomes the first MLB pitcher to reach 18 wins as the Mets salvage the last game of their series in St. Louis.

Mets Game Notes

R.A. had his knuckler dancing inconsistently all afternoon, sometimes throwing outstanding ones, other times, so-so tumblers. However, he did a really nice job of mixing in the fastball at all the right times. Additionally, R.A. took control of the tempo immediately, generally working very quickly, which disconcerted several hitters as they rushed into their stance and didn’t always seem quite ready to hit. Then, as the game moved on, R.A. occasionally disrupted the quick tempo he had set by slowing down just enough to throw off the hitters again. It was a subtle strategy, but it seemed to me to be intentional and effective. Yet another of those “little things” that R.A. does to give him an edge (in addition to fielding his position well, employing a devastating pickoff move, getting bunts down, making contact, etc.). In that way he reminds me of Tom Glavine, Jim Kaat, Tom Seaver, and Orel Hershiser, among other pitchers who did every thing in their control toward winning a ballgame.

The only Cardinal to hit him hard was Adam Wainwright, who touched him for a solo homer. This wasn’t necessarily surprising if you subscribe to the theory that the only way to hit a knuckler is to hit like a pitcher (I can’t remember whose theory that was, but it was someone fairly famous — if you know, help me in the comments).

Offensively, the Mets gave their ace an outburst, scoring six times. The last time the Mets scored six runs was August 16th in Cincinnati. The big blow came from the bat of Ike Davis, who blasted a three-run homer in the fifth to put the game away.

Daniel Murphy remains hot, as he collected three more hits. His OBP has become directly tied to his batting average, which would seem to be a concern. What happened to the Dan Murphy who drew walks and was an on-base machine? Did you know that Murphy walked only twice in the entire month of June and only three times in all of July, before drawing a whopping 7 bases on balls in August? His average is now up to .289 but his OBP is a ho-hum .330 — not bad, but nothing special from someone who has very little power, is usually batting near the top of the lineup, and is in the lineup solely for his offensive skills.

While we’re on the subject of formerly perceived as on-base machines, Josh Thole seems to finally be out of his slump. He went 2-for-4 and drove in his 20th run of the season. His .591 OPS is below the Anderson Hernandez level – ouch.

Mike Baxter and Justin Turner keep on hitting as they’re given chances to play; they had two hits apiece. Some day, someone is going to steal Turner away from the Mets and turn him into an average all-around everyday second baseman or an above-average platoon partner – i.e., a modern Tim Teufel.

There are 25 games left in the season. Somehow, it feels like less. Or maybe I’m just wishing there were less; this second half has been brutal to watch.

Next Mets Game

The Mets have Thursday off as they travel back to Flushing to face the Braves for a three-game weekend series. Game one on Friday night begins at 7:10 p.m. and pits Jonathon Niese vs. Pat Maholm.

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. Dan B September 6, 2012 at 12:08 am
    I remember Ralph Kiner saying, long before Dickey, the best lineup against a knuckler was nine pitchers. But he might have been quoting someone.
  2. Joe September 6, 2012 at 8:48 am
    They won 9-5 against the Phillies on 8/28.
    • Joe Janish September 6, 2012 at 11:36 am
      Thanks for the correction, Joe. That’s one thing I know I can count on — when I make a mistake, you’ll be there to correct it.
      • Joe September 6, 2012 at 6:04 pm
        Yeah, I’m so good that even when you don’t make a mistake, I correct it, right? 🙂
  3. DaveSchneck September 6, 2012 at 9:47 am
    Great point about Dickey and being good at all the “other” things that can give pitchers an edge. He should be a great infuence on the Harveys and Wheelers in addition to being the “ace”. Also, great points about Turner and Murphy. If the Mets stick with Murphy at 2B next year, they best hold on to Turner as well. I would love to see a platoon of those two a la Backman/Teufel, especially if they cannot find another RH power bat this winter.
    • Joe Janish September 6, 2012 at 11:38 am
      Personally, I’d love to see Murphy DHing in Houston next year.
      • Joe September 6, 2012 at 6:07 pm
        That’s a bit mean but I keep on seeing some team getting some part from Houston, when it seems they shouldn’t have anything left.
        • Joe Janish September 7, 2012 at 9:14 am
          Mean? I think it’s mean of Mets management to constantly put Murphy into positions he’s not equipped to handle. He’s not a second baseman, he’s a DH. I bet if he were given the chance to DH for a crappy team like Houston will be next year, and all he has to do is concentrate on hitting, he’ll be that .290 AVG / .350 OBP / 15 HR guy everyone thinks he can be.
  4. MikeT September 6, 2012 at 10:27 am
    The idea of platooning Turner and Murphy is all well and good, except that Turner is the owner of a REVERSE platoon split of .884 OPS vs RHP and .583 OPS vs LHP. Or if you prefer .342 AVG vs RHP and .237 AVG vs LHP. These are his career numbers.

    So unfortunately Turner is not a good candidate for a platoon, at least not a traditional one.

    • Joe Janish September 6, 2012 at 11:38 am
      Great point. Therefore, instead of platooning him, ,let’s make him the every day second baseman — which he should have been from day one.
      • MikeT September 6, 2012 at 11:53 am
        I actually agree. I think Murphy, Duda, and Thole can be moved this off season for decent returns. Duda to an AL team can DH him or play him at first and expect good results. Murphy can go anywhere, and probably play third but obviously also 2nd and 1st. Probably not an ideal DH or 1st baseman in terms of production. Thole could be a LH hitting backup to a good catcher.

        I think Thole needs a change of scenery. I actually met some of his family here in STL this week (once I spotted like 5 Thole jerseys I knew they had to be family) and the vibe I got is they all think he is better off some place less crazy than NY. I agreed with them. I think we all like Josh, but he might not be fit for this team.

        I don’t expect any of these guys to bring back any stars, but it is reasonable to expect bullpen pieces and RH hitting OF of similar ilk in return.

        • SiddFinch September 6, 2012 at 1:08 pm
          Unfortunately, I don’t see any team seeing value in either Duda or Thole-except maybe as depth for their minor league affiliates. The only one with trade value is Murphy and there really isn’t much. I hope Murphy is traded, that experiment needs to end. Turner deserves a shot at starting next season. Duda will probably be part of the OF mix and I’d imagine Thole will probably be released if they can’t find any takers.I could easily see a 1/3 of this year’s team not returning in 2013.
        • MikeT September 6, 2012 at 1:50 pm
          Maybe not Thole, but Duda had a .852 OPS (136 OPS+) last year. He just does not work in the outfield. I think an AL team could play him at 1st or DH him, a team like the Rays, and get great value for the next few years.
        • Joe Janish September 7, 2012 at 9:23 am
          I see Duda in a similar position to where Corey Hart was at a similar age. Remember when the Brewers supposedly offered Hart for John Maine? No one was sure in 2009 if Hart was just an awkward, streaky hitter who would never realize his power potential, or if he was the real deal. I’m not suggesting that Duda will follow Hart’s lead and become a 25-30 per year HR guy — just that he’s at a similar crossroad in his career.
  5. Steven September 6, 2012 at 1:10 pm
    After watching Dickey the last three seasons, it is clear that perhaps the biggest mistake made by Alderson/Wilpon was failing to sign Dickey to a long term extension during Spring Training when they had the chance. Although hind-sight is always perfect, it is clear to me that in their desire to avoid risking say $20 million on an extension because of the risk that Dickey would become a Barry Zito or get hurt, they will now have to shell out an extra $60 million. Notwithstanding the arguments on why Dickey should not get $15-20 per year for 3-4 years, there will surely be at least one GM that will disagree. Thoughts ?
    • Joe Janish September 7, 2012 at 9:17 am
      I don’t disagree. However, I don’t know that you can call it a “mistake” if such a scenario was an impossibility at the time. Even as recently as spring training, the Mets’ finances were still in shambles and they were not in position to offer anyone any kind of long-term contract. I’m not even sure that they can do something like that now — especially if they follow through with their supposed intention to lock up David Wright.
  6. dansmith September 6, 2012 at 8:23 pm
    It’s Paul Maholm…
    • Joe Janish September 7, 2012 at 9:14 am
      His friends call him “Pat.”


      nice catch, thank you. I must have had Pat Mahomes on my mind.