Tag: RA Dickey

Mets Game 115: Win Over Phillies

Mets 1 Phillies 0

The R.A. Dickey dreamscape continues …

For the first time in 42 games — about a month and a half — the Mets won back-to-back games. And it took two straight shutouts, the first time they did that in eight years (the last time it was Pedro Astacio and Jeff D’Amico).

Game Notes

R.A. Dickey was tremendous, and would’ve thrown a no-hitter had it not been for a duck snort by opposing pitcher Cole Hamels. The only other baserunner was a walk to Wilson Valdez in the third inning. Remember Wilson Valdez? Dickey struck out 7 and expended only 105 pitches. How can you not love this guy?

Tough-luck loser Cole Hamels gave up only five hits and two walks, striking out 8 in 8 innings. He also threw only 105 pitches. If Shane Victorino didn’t misplay David Wright‘s liner in the sixth, this game could still be going on — with both pitchers still on the hill. Gutsy, competitive performance by both.

In the fifth, it appeared as though the Mets went up 1-0 when Mike Hessman hit a ball that appeared to be a homerun to left — though, Phillies leftfielder Raul Ibanez protested immediately, possibly citing interference by a fan. After six and a half minutes of video review, the umpires ruled it interference and gave Hessman a ground-rule triple.

I don’t get how they decided it was a triple and not a double. Anytime a fan interferes it is automatically a double, and had Ibanez played the ball rather than stopped immediately and pointed to the fan, I’m not sure the lead-footed Hessman would’ve made it all the way to third base.

The SNY crew was convinced it was NOT interference, despite seeing only one vague, fuzzy camera view. They were condescending and critical of the umpires about the call, which I found annoying, because to me, it was not crystal clear. I don’t care whether the call went for or against the Mets, I care about getting the right call, and I don’t like being made to feel stupid for disagreeing with Gary, Keith, and Ron. A rare misfire by what is usually an outstanding announcing team.

As it was, the Mets couldn’t score Hessman from third, getting three shots to do so. They also failed to score Angel Pagan from third with one out in the first.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Phillies play again at 7:10 PM on Saturday night. Pat Misch makes his first MLB start of 2010 against Roy Halladay.


Mets Game 111: Loss to Phillies

Phillies 6 Mets 5

Not even seven homegrown players in the lineup could beat Roy Halladay and the Phillies.

The Mets had seven fruits of the farm in their lineup: Jose Reyes, David Wright, Angel Pagan, Ike Davis, Josh Thole, Ruben Tejada, and Fernando Martinez. Yet, all that fruit — some of it very fresh — did not produce a win.

Though, the two individuals who were NOT home-grown — R.A. Dickey and Carlos Beltran — did nothing to help the team win. In fact, the loss was more or less the fault of Dickey. So perhaps if the Mets try this again with Jonathon Niese or Mike Pelfrey on the mound, the result will be different. It may even help to bring back Jesus Feliciano or Nick Evans so that there can be a full nine from the farm in the lineup. Such a setup would have to bring success.

Game Notes

Not a good day for R.A., whose knuckler was pounded pretty hard. He was gone after 3 innings and 6 runs (4 earned), and gave up 8 hits and a walk. Jerry Manuel thought Dickey looked “too strong”, whatever that means. Something about him being in Dire Straits?

Homegrown catcher Josh Thole went 3-for-4 with a double and a run scored and threw out Greg Dobbs attempting to steal. What was Dobbs doing trying to steal? Not sure, since he already has his one for the year (he has 9 in 7 seasons in MLB).

Thole’s performance was encouraging. I now think he has a good shot to be at least as good as Jason Phillips. Similarly, Tejada has been impressive in these last two games with his flashy defensive play, leading me to believe he is ALREADY as good as Anderson Hernandez.

The “farm team” did a nice job of fighting back, but it was too little, too late. Roy Halladay didn’t have his best stuff, but somehow gritted his way through 7 innings. Somehow, Brad Lidge managed not to blow it in the 9th. Compare / contrast to Johan Santana and Francisco Rodriguez in the first half of 2010.

Carlos Beltran went 0-for-4 before being double-switched out of the game when Pedro Feliciano came on in relief. Did anyone ever think THAT would happen, ever?

Jose Reyes and Angel Pagan were a combined 4-for-8 with 3 runs, 2 RBI, and 2 SBs as they set the table all day. Unfortunately, Beltran, David Wright, Ike Davis, and Fernando Martinez were a combined 2-for-16 behind them.

The Mets have not won back-to-back in something like 41 games, going back to late June. Think about that.

The Braves won on Sunday, so the Mets are now 9.5 games out of first place.

Next Mets Game

The Mets get a day off on Monday so they can travel all the way back to Flushing (I assume they are walking, or going by horse and carriage). On Tuesday at 7:10 PM they host the Colorado Rockies, who will be sending Cy Young candidate Ubaldo Jimenez to the mound. The Mets may or may not counter with Mike Pelfrey, who has been working on keeping his arm speed consistent. Why he is working on that, I have no idea, since it has little to do with his recent lack of command.


Mets Game 107: Win Over Braves

Mets 3 Braves 2

This is EXACTLY the reason the 2010 Mets are so endearing: when they are backed up against a wall, they come back fighting!

Shame on all the impatient, critical naysayers who hit the panic button after the Mets dropped the opener in Atlanta — this team is for real and is poised to go on a rampage! In this dramatic come-from-behind win, the Mets proved they have guts, grit, and a tenacious will to win. My guess is that the locals will recall memories of General Sherman by the time the Mets leave Atlanta.

And who would be the one to carry the Mets to a ninth inning victory? None other than the team’s #1 clubhouse personality and all-around great guy Jeff Francoeur, who silenced the critics with an opposite-field solo homer off of former Met Billy Wagner to put New York ahead for good. Prior to the game, many wondered why in the world Jerry Manuel wrote Francoeur’s name into the lineup against Derek Lowe. After Francoeur’s game-winning blast, is there any question? It amazes me that amateurs are always second-guessing Manuel, thinking they know better. It’s nights like these that make it obvious why we are all doing what we’re doing for a living, while Manuel makes three-quarters of a million dollars to do what he does. The man knows how to play the matchups, and has a knack for making great hunches — no amount of experience, intelligence, or calculator-punching can re-create that skill; it’s innate.

Game Notes

R.A. Dickey impressed with yet another strong outing, this time plowing through 6 innings and allowing 2 runs on 5 hits and 4 walks. He ran into a few jams but worked out of them with a dancing knuckler and uflappable demeanor. I think his performance was something of an inspiration for Francoeur.

Speaking of, Francoeur scored two of the Mets runs — and his doghouse roommate Luis Castillo scored the third. So there, all you judgemental critics!

As great as Francoeur and Castillo were in this game, one cannot overlook the spectacular performances of Manny Acosta and Francisco Rodriguez. Acosta was throwing BBs through an inning and two-thirds, earning the victory while bridging the gap to K-Rod. Francisco was fabulous, expending a baker’s dozen worth of pitches in a perfect ninth to seal the victory and earn his 23rd save of the season.

Bobby Cox made some very strange moves in this game, and his players made some very un-Coxlike non-executions. In particular, I’m not sure why Cox had Rick Ankiel bunting at the first pitch with none out and a Alex Gonzalez on first after a leadoff walk in the 7th, especially when Acosta appeared to be struggling to throw strikes. Cox took the bunt off after one strike, but why give Acosta a strike there and why take a strike away from Ankiel? Maybe Cox thought Ankiel was still a pitcher. Later that inning, Gonzalez took off for second and was thrown out by ten feet in what must’ve been a missed hit-and-run. Since Gonzalez just joined the team recently, maybe he misunderstood a sign? Or maybe Melky Cabrera missed the sign. In any case, the caught stealing was huge, as it was the second out of the inning and Cabrera walked on the very next pitch. Acosta would have been in a very sticky situation had it been one out and men on first and second rather than two out and a man on first — who knows how things might’ve turned out?

Next Mets Game

The rubber match begins at 7:10 PM on Wednesday night in Atlanta. Mike Pelfrey goes to the hill against Chris Medlen.


Mets Game 102: Win Over Cardinals

Mets 4 Cardinals 0

The mighty Mets continue their domination of the National League.

Due to my “real” job I missed seeing the game live, so thanks to Paul and Mic for helping out with the recap in the comments section.

Game Notes

R.A. Dickey flicked floaters for eight-plus frames, holding the Cardinals scoreless on four hits as he cruised to his 7th win of the year. Rather than finish the game, he let Francisco Rodriguez come in and get the final two outs for his 22nd save.

The Mets received all the runs they needed when Ike Davis delivered a monster blast over the centerfield wall to give the home team a 3-0 lead in the third inning.

As Mic noted in the comments section, the Mets beat the Cards without regulars David Wright, Jason Bay, Luis Castillo, and Rod Barajas.

At some point in October, when the Mets are in the middle of sweeping the Padres in the NLCS, we will all look back at the closed door meetings from Monday and this series win over St. Louis as the turning point of the season.

Next Mets Game

The Mets host the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field on Thursday night at 7:10 PM. Mike Pelfrey pitches against Ian Kennedy.


Mets Game 99: Loss to Dodgers

Dodgers 1 Mets

For the fourth time in ten days, the Mets were shut out.

What else is there to say?

Game Notes

R.A. Dickey was outstanding, allowing no runs on 2 hits and no walks, striking out 6, through 5 2/3 innings. However, he slipped on a pitch to Russell Martin, prompting Jerry Manuel and trainer Mike Herbst to visit the mound to inquire on his condition. This is the way it was described on MLB.com:

Dickey was dominant through the first five innings, surrendering just two hits, but he fell to one knee after a pitch to Russell Martin, prompting manager Jerry Manuel and a team trainer to visit the mound.

Dickey appeared to be fine after the brief visit and subsequently retired Martin and Clayton Kershaw without any obvious difficulties.

The two outs didn’t seem to convince Manuel, and Dickey was pulled prior to Xavier Paul‘s at-bat.

Dickey appeared unhappy with his manager’s decision to take him out of the game.

First off, Dickey did not “appear to be fine” and though he did retire Martin and Kershaw, the difficulties were apparent if not obvious. Dickey was definitely favoring his left leg and looked a bit stiff after the slip.

That said, I can’t really get on Jerry Manuel for forcing R.A. from the game — he is, after all, the second-best pitcher in a rotation that cannot afford to lost another starter. If I am to criticize Jerry it will be for leaving him in after his first visit to the mound. Manuel has said that Mike Pelfrey needs to “pitch with more conviction”, but he should take his own advice and manage with more conviction.

In the end, it didn’t matter that Dickey left, because the Mets continued their anemic effort at the plate. Clayton Kershaw scattered 7 hits in 8 innings but didn’t allow a run. The ninth inning was ably handled by Kenley Jansen, a 6’6″ rookie from Curacao who was a AAA catcher this time last year. Though, we can’t be surprised that the Mets couldn’t do anything against a catcher-turned-pitcher — they struggled against Felipe Lopez after all.

In all seriousness, Jansen looks like a tough customer. He was bringing it at 95 MPH and had a pretty nasty overhand curve. At this point he is far ahead of Jenrry Mejia, to provide a comparison.

Luis Castillo was the only Met with more than one hit, going 2-for-4 including his third double of the season. Third. I know he’s missed some time but, wow.

Next Mets Game

The Mets cannot leave the Left Coast fast enough. They take a day off on Monday to return home to beautiful Flushing and begin a three-game series against the Cardinals beginning on Tuesday at 7:10 PM. Jonathon Niese heads to the mound against Jaime Garcia.


Mets Game 94: Loss to Diamondbacks

Diamondbacks 3 Mets 2

For the eleventh straight game, the Mets have been held to four runs or less.

And for the fifth time in six tries since the All-Star exhibition, the Mets lost — despite having Carlos Beltran starting in centerfield.

In fact, the Mets have yet to win a game with Beltran in the lineup; their one “win” came when Phil Cuzzi blew the call at home plate that should’ve given the Giants the victory.

What made this loss more painful was the fact the Mets were held to one run on five hits through eight innings by a lounge singer from the 1970s. Didn’t Barry Enright open for Tom Jones or Engelbert Humperdinck at a Vegas club back in the day?

Game Notes

R.A. Dickey pitched seven strong innings, allowing 3 runs on 7 hits, but walked away with a loss. The Mets offense is really messing up Disney’s script.

The only Mets to cross the plate were Josh Thole — who hit his first MLB homer — and Angel Pagan, who blasted a solo shot of his own to make things interesting in the top of the ninth.

Pagan and Jose Reyes combined to go 4-for-8 to set the table at the top of the lineup. Unfortunately, no one sat down to dinner nor did anyone clean up.

At the beginning of the game, SNY experienced “transmission issues” and there was no video broadcast. My thought was that the Mets have been so bad lately, SNY felt none of us could bear to watch. As it turned out, Emmy-award-winning producer Bill Webb was arrested by Arizona immigration officers, who had profiled him as a result of his spending too much time in the sun earlier in the day (Webb also reportedly answered “gracias” when handed a cup of coffee moments before the arrest). Kevin Burkhardt posted bail and Webb returned in time to get the Mets back on TV screens around the fourth inning.

Next Mets Game

The Mets will try to salvage at least one game in the series finale on Wednesday night in Arizona. Jonathon Niese faces Dan Haren in a contest that begins at 9:40 PM EST.


Mets Game 89: Loss to Giants

Giants 2 Mets 0

It was a tough loss for Johan Santana Mike Pelfrey R.A. Dickey and the Mets.

Dickey pitched his heart out, allowing one measly run on five hits in seven innings of work — proving beyond argument that it didn’t matter it was he and not Santana or Pelfrey pitching the first game after the All Star Gimmick, because the offense wasn’t going to score against Tim Lincecum no matter who was pitching for the Mets.

Game Notes

R.A. Dickey is making it very difficult to remain skeptical of his success. Is it possible that he simply has finally figured out how to tame the knuckler? Do knuckleballers get better with age, as a direct result of experience and rote? Or is he still riding that element of mystery vs. the National League? Keep on rolling, R.A.

Carlos Beltran made his first appearance of 2010 and managed a single in four at-bats. Naturally, Jose Reyes was out of the lineup with his lingering oblique injury. Beltran looked maybe a touch aggressive and rusty, but not remarkably different from what we expect. He faced Tim Lincecum after seeing A-ball pitching for a month, so I’m not concerned and not going to rush judgment. In the field he was only mildly tested … and no news is good news. Hopefully he can make his transition back to MLB without any major problems.

The Mets collected a total of six singles on the evening against Lincecum.

The other run scored was charged to Elmer Dessens. I have a funny feeling that his luck is quickly running out.

Chris Carter had a pinch-hit single in the eighth. However the Mets needed a pinch-hit homerun in that spot. Oh well .

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Giants play again on Friday night at 10:35 PM EST. Hey, why not just start the game at midnight? These game times drive me nuts … why can’t they start at 6 PM PST? The Left Coasters get out of work by 3 PM / 4 PM, don’t they?

Jonathon Niese is scheduled to face Barry Zito. Luckily most of us can sleep in on Saturday morning.


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.