Tag: RA Dickey

Mets Game 81: Loss to Nationals

Nationals 6 Mets 5

In line with Aesop’s fable, the tortoise beat the hare. But that didn’t result in the tortoise’s team winning the race.

Veteran knuckleballer R.A. Dickey was the better pitcher in an unlikely matchup against the rookie flamethrowing phenom Stephen Strasburg, hurling seven excellent and efficient innings to Strasburg’s inefficient five frames. But both starters allowed two runs, turning the contest into a battle of the bullpens.

At first, it appeared as though the Mets would win that battle, as they jumped ahead 5-2 thanks to a three-run eighth. All they needed were six outs to come out as the victor.

The Mets hit a bump along the way, as Bobby Parnell struggled through a 26-pitch bottom of the 8th and allowed one run. Still, the Mets had a two-run lead and well-rested closer Francisco Rodriguez — he of the sub-2 ERA — on the mound to sew up the victory.

As usual, K-Rod began things with some drama, walking leadoff batter Cristian Guzman on four pitches to start the inning. After getting a groundout on a Gold Glove play by David Wright, Rodriguez then allowed a rip of a single to .158-hitting Willie Harris — it was hit so hard that the speedy Guzman had to hold up at third. Ryan Zimmerman followed with another walk to load the bases, and suddenly the “Frankie says relax” joke wasn’t so funny. It was less funny after Adam Dunn doubled in two runs, and sad when Pudge Rodriguez singled in the winning run a few minutes later.

Game Notes

Stephen Strasburg looked like he drank four Red Bulls before the first inning — he seemed a little too excited and jittery. Perhaps he was pumped up and nervous about pitching on national television. One thing I found frustrating — as a pitching coach and catcher — was the strategy of going with the 92-MPH sinker when ahead of hitters, rather than “climbing the ladder” with the four-seam triple-digit heater in those situations. I’m not sure if that’s the decision of Pudge, Strasburg, or the Nats’ coaching staff, but when a kid throws that hard, he should be getting it up in the zone more often on two-strike counts to get swings and misses.

Something is physically wrong with Francisco Rodriguez, and I’m guessing it is an issue with his left ankle. He is completely off-balance at the release point, prematurely falling off toward first base. I never like to see momentum going sideways, but with some pitchers it’s OK if it’s happening AFTER the release (such as with Bob Gibson or Rich Gossage). But K-Rod is falling over as he’s releasing the ball, making command an impossibility. My eyes see his left ankle “rolling over” as he lands with his stride, and unable to support his body — it’s just kind of collapsing, either from pain, weakness, or both.

K-Rod had chronic issues with that ankle going back to 2006 / 2007, and changed his mechanics to alleviate the problem. It can’t help that he’s definitely gained weight over the past few years — and in turn put more strain on his joints.

Adam Dunn might’ve hit a walkoff grand slam, but the umpiring crew ruled that his ball hit the top of the fence, rather than the iron pole behind the padding. Tough call, even with instant replay.

Willie Harris resembled Willie Mays Hayes scampering in and hook-sliding into home with the tying run just footsteps behind Guzman.

Josh Thole went 2-for-3 with a double and 2 RBI. He can’t throw out the garbage, but he can hit a little bit.

David Wright is carrying this team on his back. He went 2-for-5 with an RBI and 2 runs scored, and saw 30 pitches in 5 plate appearances. That’s an average of 6 pitches per plate appearance — which isn’t easy to do without walking at least once.

Next Mets Game

The Mets will try to go for a split on the Fourth of July, sending Hisanori Takahashi to the hill against Craig Stammen. First pitch is at 1:35 PM.

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Mets Game 76: Loss to Marlins

Marlins 10 Mets 3

Rumor has it that someone used up all of R.A. Dickey’s “hair tonic“.

Those too young to know what I’m talking about, switch the remote to Turner Classic Movies every once in a while.

Hiram Bithorn Stadium was more like Homerun Ball-hit Stadium, as leather-covered spheres flew over the fence in right-center at a rate that rivals The House That Steinbrenner Built.

Unfortunately for the Mets, it was the Fish who took advantage of the jet stream.

Game Notes

R.A. Dickey finally proved mortal, allowing 5 runs on 5 hits in 5 innings, blemishing his once-perfect record. Though it was the second time the Marlins saw him, I’m not so sure familiarity was his undoing as much as his lack of command. To me, his release point looked to be inconsistent and slightly different from what I’ve seen from him in previous starts; it appeared that he was opening a hair too early and dragging his arm just a bit — enough to move his release point a few inches higher, earlier, and to the right of where he’s been in the past. As a result — and possibly also due to crosswinds — his knuckler was moving uncharacteristically in toward the RH batters and up. That’s his “hard” knuckler, and the one he’s been using to get strikes. Unable to get ahead with that one, he was unable to properly set up the slower “floater”, which tends to be more unpredictable and generally used as an “out” pitch. Instead, he was aiming the slow one to get more plate — i.e., trying to throw strikes with it — and I *think* that was the one that was getting hit hard.

The Mets bullpen wasn’t much more effective. Fernando Nieve and Ryota “Rocket Man” Igarashi allowed another five runs, including three gopher balls. Igarashi may not be the man they think he is at home in Japan; he’s burning up his fuse out here alone in the western world.

Though the balls flew off the bats of Marlins with ease, Jason Bay was the only Met with homeruns to please. He hit two moon shots, which drove in all three runs. The two homers he hit in this contest were equal to half the amount he hit in the previous 75 games combined. David Wright also had two hits, but they were not of the four-bag variety.

Opposing pitcher Ricky Nolasco not only shut down the Mets’ offense, he also blasted a 400-foot double to the centerfield wall. Nolasco, by the way, is a terrible hitter — but he even he can hit a hanging knuckleball.

Ruben Tejada’s 10-game hitting streak came to an end. Somewhere, the ghost of Wee Willie Keeler expresses a relieved sigh — while Pete Rose collects on a low-risk bet.

The Braves beat the Nats, so the Mets lose a full game in the standings — though, they still have sole possession of second place.

For those wondering, the Mets are now 5-5 in their last 10 games. Somehow, it doesn’t feel that way, does it?

Next Mets Game

The Mets remain in Puerto Rico to play the Marlins again on Tuesday night at 7:10 PM. Hisanori Takahashi faces Nate Robertson.

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Mets Game 71: Win Over Tigers

Mets 5 Tigers 0

The hometown advantage continues … as does the “R.A. Dickey Story” …

Game Notes

R.A. Dickey tossed 8 shutout innings, allowing only 4 hits, 2 walks, and striking out 4. This Hollywood story is showing no signs of ending anytime soon. He is the first pitcher in history to start his Mets career with 6 straight wins. Thank goodness John Maine, Oliver Perez, and Jon Niese all got injured at the same time and Dillon Gee crapped the bed in Buffalo or this guy would still be toiling in AAA.

Message to MLB: Jose Reyes is back. Jose went 3-for-4, including a leadoff triple and a solo homer, in scoring 3 runs. His defense has also stepped up the last few weeks.

Ike Davis had two singles and drove in two runs.

Ruben Tejada extended his hitting streak to 7 games, and is now hitting .255. No way you can trade away this guy for some rental like Cliff Lee.

Angel Pagan’s 10-game hitting streak came to an end, but more importantly, he left the game with an injury to his midsection / torso. Not good. The exact injury was not disclosed as of 9:45 PM after the game, but let’s hope it’s a minor tweak and not something major involving his back or oblique. In possibly related news, Cory Sullivan has been DFA’d by the Astros.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Tigers meet for the final time at 7:10 PM on Thursday night. Hisanori Takahashi faces Armando Galarraga.

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Mets Game 66: Win Over Indians

Mets 6 Indians 4

A second sweep makes seven straight with the Subway Series on the slate.

If you listened on the radio, you heard Howie Rose say “put it in the books” through two sweeps. And you may have wondered if in fact there is a book on brooms. There is, sort of: Men With Brooms: A Sweeping Epic — though, it’s actually about the sport of curling, not baseball. But, I could see a similar book being written, titled “Mets with Brooms”.

Game Notes

R.A. Dickey’s dancing knuckler cannot be stopped. He’s won his fifth straight game and has pitched at least 6 innings in every one of his starts. In this contest he allowed 3 runs on 7 hits and 2 walks, striking out 7. In many ways his legend resembles that of Terry Leach.

Jose Reyes was a homerun away from the cycle, going 3-for-5 with an RBI and 2 runs scored. He’s now hit in nine straight games.

Ike Davis, Angel Pagan, Ruben Tejada, and Chris Carter each stroked two hits. Davis also drove in 2.

I still can’t figure out how Pagan isn’t hitting close to .400, when it seems like he’s 2-for-4 every game. Must be the new math.

The Indians’ defense and fundamentals continued to be absolutely atrocious, and had a hand in handing over the game to the Mets. Part of it is related to players out of position (i.e., Austin Kearns in CF), but again, it’s eerily similar to the fundamentally unsound teams in Washington the past few years.

So glad Pedro Feliciano was able to get into this game — especially after warming up but not getting into Wednesday night’s contest. He’s thrown 74 pitches (in games) in the past week, but who’s counting? A little extra work never hurts a reliever — just ask Fernando Nieve.

K-Rod managed to earn his 15th save without causing anyone a heart attack. The ninth inning was refreshingly only mildly stressful.

Next Mets Game

The Mets embark to the Bronx for a three-game weekend series with that other team from New York City. Friday night’s matchup begins at 7:05 PM and has Hisanori Takahashi taking the hill for the Mets against Javier Vazquez of the Yankees.

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June 17, 2010: Thursday Night Mets Links and Open Thread

New York Times – David Waldstein has a GREAT story about Chris Carter’s legally blind grandfather who just saw Carter play at Progressive Field. This is an early frontrunner for tomorrow’s Feel Good Friday link.

ESPN New York – Adam Rubin reports that Jason Bay is not in the starting lineup tonight.

MetsBlog – Jason Bay wanted to play tonight, but according to the new rule, you don’t play the day after almost sustaining a serious injury.

The Jewish Week – A strange story here… The Mets are being sued by Kosher Sports, for allegedly barring the concession company from selling its food at Mets games on Friday night and Saturday. The Mets claim the lawsuit is without merit.

ESPN – Buster Olney has a rundown on the pitchers that the Mets may trade for. My money is on Jake Westbrook or Kevin Millwood.

SNY – Michael Salfino says the Mets have a hole at second base, but he doesn’t think Akinori Iwamura is the answer.

BrooklynMetFan – BMF says Angel Pagan is the Mets’ MVP so far this season. Hard to argue with that…

TONIGHT’S GAME

Tonight, the Mets (37-28) go for the sweep against the Cleveland Indians (25-39). R.A. Dickey (4-0, 2.78) will bare his knuckles against possible future Mets hurler Jake Westbrook (4-3, 4.62).

Here is the starting lineup for tonight’s game vs. the Cleveland Indians, courtesy of the Mets PR Dept.:

Reyes SS
Pagan CF
Wright 3B
Davis 1B
Francoeur RF
Carter DH
Blanco C
J. Feliciano LF
Tejada 2B
Dickey RHP

Bay rests his charley horse, Jesus Feliciano gets a start, Frenchy moves up in the lineup, and the Animal provides him protection. Let’s hope R.A. Dickey’s knuckler keeps dancing.

Post your comments, links, pictures below …

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Mets Game 61: Win Over Orioles

Mets 5 Orioles 1

Faced with the challenge of playing MLB’s worst team, the Mets rose to the occasion and whipped the Orioles in Baltimore.

After seeing the futile O’s flailing after floaters from the fingertips of R.A. Dickey, it will be a disappointment if the Mets do anything other than sweep this series.

Game Notes

R.A. Dickey’s Disney-scripted reality movie continues, as the knuckster cruised through seven frames, allowing only one run on seven hits and one walk, striking out eight. Aren’t knuckleballers supposed to walk more batters? Dickey was in trouble only once in the contest, and wiggled out of it. He left the game after 109 pitches, but easily could’ve gone longer. In fact, if I were manager, I’d consider sending him out to the hill again on Saturday and possibly also on Sunday.

By the way, is it possible to NOT root for R.A. Dickey?

Speaking of players impossible not to root for, Chris “The Animal” Carter provided the power from the DH spot, cracking a 3-run homer to put the Mets ahead 4-0 in the fourth and essentially put the game away — the Orioles pretty much rolled over and played dead after that blast. It was Carter’s first MLB homer, which seems a long time coming.

David Wright batted in the #3 location of the lineup and responded with a 3-for-4 day, including a double and 2 RBI. Why did it take so long to guarantee him a first-inning at-bat?

Jose Reyes continued his return to form with two hits and a double of his own, while adding in his 16th stolen base of the season. His average is slowly ascending, but I’d like to see him earn a few more free passes as well.

Pedro Feliciano came on to pitch the 8th and nearly gave up a 3-run homer to Matt Wieters that would’ve changed the course of the game considerably. However, the laser beam of a drive veered to the left of the foul pole, and Wieters struck out on the following pitch. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Feliciano continues to look worn out, and threw 21 pitches in his one inning of work. Does that mean he’ll be held out of action on Saturday? Not likely, as long as pedal-to-the-metal Manuel is calling the shots.

The Mets were 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position. Have to wonder what might’ve occurred if Gary Matthews Jr. or Fernando Tatis filled the DH role in this game. Yes, I know GMJ has been released, I’m just sayin’.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Orioles do it again at 7:05 PM in Ripkentown. Hisanori Takahashi faces Brian Matusz.

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Mets Game 55: Win Over Marlins

Mets 4 Marlins 3

The home-team advantage in Flushing continues.

David Wright earned his first Major League save and R.A. Dickey furthered the impossible dream as the Mets beat the Marlins, going one game over .500 and a half-game over the Fish to take sole possession of third place in the NL East.

Game Notes

R.A. Dickey continues to play the part of himself in what is developing into a Hollywood script. Dickey held the Marlins to 3 runs on 7 hits and 3 walks over 6 1/3 innings, earning his third win in four starts. The 35-year-old relied on his multi-speed, dancing knuckler mixed with an occasional fastball to stymie the Florida offense. As an addendum to the already-brilliant script, and giving more legs to the legend, Dickey also has two hits in three at-bats, driving in one and scoring another, and boosting his season average to .375. Could a knuckleballer — like fine wine — get better with age? Or will the rest of the NL eventually catch on to his trickery?

Elmer Dessens solidified his status as the Mets’ setup man with a perfect inning and a third. That’s right, he’s Jerry Manuel’s 8th-inning guy. All it took was 4 straight outings of not embarrassing himself. Is that a credit to Elmer or a statement about the Mets bullpen? You make the call.

Francisco Rodriguez got two quick outs, then set up David Wright’s save by giving up an infield single, a walk, and a wild pitch to put runners on second and third for Hanley Ramirez. Ramirez chopped one down third and Wright turned a very difficult play into the final out of the game to give the Mets the victory. Though, the game might still be going on if Hanley had hustled.

To the delight of Luis Castillo-haters throughout the tri-state area, rookie Ruben Tejada hit an RBI double and scored a run.

To the chagrin of SABRnuts everywhere, Jeff Francoeur continued his Jerry Manuel-induced hot streak by going 2-for-4 with an RBI.

Jason Bay also went 2-for-4, including his 14th double of the season.

From the leadoff spot, Jose Reyes saw more pitches than anyone else (21), walked twice, stroked a single, and stole his 14th base of the year. Even though he didn’t score nor drive in anyone, I’m starting to like Reyes hitting leadoff; I wonder if Jerry Manuel will stick with the experiment?

The Mets are now 20-9 at home — the only MLB team with 20 wins at home — and 8-18 on the road.

Next Mets Game

The Mets and Marlins do it again on Saturday afternoon at 4:10 PM. Yes, that means you will have the pleasure of listening to Joe Buck and Tim McCarver call the game courtesy of FOX. Jon Niese comes off the DL to face Nate Robertson in a matchup of southpaws.

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Mets Game 51: Win Over Brewers

Mets 10 Brewers 4

The game was a little closer than the final score would indicate.

The Brewers and Mets swapped leads early in the contest, until the Mets pulled ahead 4-2 in the sixth, then extended it to 6-2 in the seventh against Jeff Suppan, then trounced Zach Braddock for another four runs in the top of the ninth to put the game away.

Game Notes

R.A. Dickey is starting to make a case to remain in the rotation indefinitely. He tossed 7 full innings, allowing 4 runs on 9 hits and no walks, striking out 3. Not the most brilliant outing ever, but the Mets could use a starter who can provide that kind of length on a consistent basis.

If I told you that a Mets starter would pitch 7 innings and not walk a batter, would you guess it to be a knuckleballer?

Jeff Francoeur had a chat with Jerry Manuel after Saturday night’s game and went 4-for-4 with 2 RBI and 3 runs scored. Cause and effect or coincidence? If the former, then is Jerry to blame for Francoeur’s extended slump? Considering that Frenchy was hitting .400 in the four games previous to his meeting with Manuel, I’m betting on the latter. But I won’t be surprised to hear/see a ton of hype about how Manuel got Francoeur back on track.

Henry Blanco also had a big day, going 3-for-4 with two doubles, two runs, and an RBI. He also threw out Carlos Gomez attempting to steal.

Angel Pagan collected another two hits, including his fourth homer of the season.

Jonathan Lucroy struggled behind the plate for the Brewers, halting the game with incessant mound conferences and unable to get into a rhythm with starter Randy Wolf nor most of the Milwaukee relievers. To be that much of a distraction can negatively affect an entire pitching staff — remember Omir Santos? Don’t be surprised to see the Brew Crew pick up a veteran backstop such as Paul Lo Duca, or deal for someone like Chris Iannetta.

Next Mets Game

The Mets head further west, playing the Padres in San Diego on Monday night. Hisanori Takahashi goes to the mound against Kevin Correia. Game time is 10:05 PM EST. Ugh.

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