Mets Game 156: Win Over Pirates

Mets 6 Pirates 5

Finally, Mets fans have something to celebrate.

Mets Game Notes

For one day, angry Mets fans and “hataz” were able to put aside their animosity and despondency to root for one of the really, truly good guys in the game. And, they were rewarded.

R.A. Dickey became the first Mets 20-game winner since Frank Viola accomplished the feat about a hundred years ago. He didn’t just win, he gave the hometown fans a show, striking out a career-high 13 batters and gritting through a 128-pitch, 7 2/3 inning outing. It’s difficult for a pitcher to dominate a team when allowing 10 baserunners in less than 8 innings, yet, somehow, Dickey did just that. Or at least, it felt that way.

For once, the Mets supplied extra offense on a less-than-outstanding outing by R.A. Through most of 2012, it seemed like Dickey’s only chance of winning would be by shutout, or, at worst, allowing two runs. Anything more than that, the feeble Mets hitters were unlikely to overcome. On this day, however — their final in Flushing in 2012 — the Mets “went to bat” (pardon the pun) for their knuckleballing ace.

Where was this offense? Why did it take 155 games for it to emerge? Did it have something to do with the energy of the fans, the prospect of R.A.’s 20th, the lack of motivation by the Pirates? Who cares? Let’s not worry about that, and instead bask in the glory and joy of this accomplishment.

How important, and profound, was this win to Mets fans? Consider that after the game, Mike Francesa opened the phone lines specifically for Mets fans, and actually hung up on callers who tried to rain on R.A.’s parade. Francesa insisted on letting Mets fans “revel in the moment” (his words) for nearly an hour.

I will continue to write post-game recaps, complete with my usual ornery and critical comments. However, I think it best to pretend that the Mets season has ended right here at game 156. Why not finish on a high note?

Next Mets Game

The Mets move on to Atlanta to start a set with the Braves. Game one begins at 7:35 p.m. on Friday night and pits Jonathon Niese vs. Tim Hudson.

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. AC Wayne September 27, 2012 at 10:35 pm
    As hard as it’s been to stomach the Mets throughout the 2nd half, these last two days have been a lot of fun. Having DWright on Wed. earn the career hits record as a Met and RA’s performance for his 20th earlier today, my bitterness has been placed on hold…NOW LET’S GET THESE GUYS SIGNED TO EXTENSIONS
  2. argonbunnies September 27, 2012 at 11:58 pm
    Just a fantastic day, down to the bullpen filling me with fear until the final out to set up an ecstatic celebration.

    A classic Wright homer to right center, some good ABs in the middle innings to get runners on and chip away, and of course R.A.’s pitching. Soft knuckler, hard knuckler, a fastball or two, and when he couldn’t get Barajas with the knuckler, a change-up.

    The only part of the script that didn’t cooperate was Travis Snider, having a great AB to foil Dickey’s attempt to fan the side in the 8th. Behind 1-2, he fouled off a 61mph knuckler, and laid off a change-up away and close knuckler inside before walking.

    The Dodgers just moved Kershaw up a day, so it looks like he’ll pitch twice more before season’s end. He’s the only challenger to R.A.’s strikeout lead, and the biggest ERA competitor as well. Tomorrow night I’ll be rooting hard for those slugging Padres.

    Thanks to Gio’s 21st win tonight, a pitching triple crown looks unlikely for Dickey, as does any chance of being a clear favorite for the Cy Young. Looks like we’ll all be sweating in November. My main fears are:

    1) Writers who give Cueto credit for pitching in a bandbox, but don’t give Dickey credit for pitching with a horrid defense and bullpen behind him (whereas the Reds are fantastic in both areas).

    2) Writers who would prefer to reward traditional dominance, as in velocity, viewing the knuckler as a trick or fluke.

    3) Writers who can’t make the tough call between lots of starters with similar stats, and so vote for the best closer instead.

    I think most writers are better than that, but with only 32 total voters, it doesn’t take too many screw-ups to botch the results.

    • argonbunnies September 28, 2012 at 12:03 am
      Wait, sorry, I totally botched the reveling. Let me phrase that differently:

      R.A. Dickey is awesome! He deserves the 2012 Cy Young! Fingers crossed!

    • Walnutz15 September 28, 2012 at 10:30 am
      Speaking of Snider: What a freakin’ catch by him to rob Mike Baxter.

      Had been following the game on ESPN yesterday, and didn’t see that until last night…unreal.

  3. norme September 28, 2012 at 12:19 am
    Joe Janish, “ornery” and “critical?” Wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Dickey’s the man!

  4. DaveSchneck September 28, 2012 at 12:52 am
    Too bad there are not a few more finals like this in 2012. Congrats to RA on an outstanding season, which shouls include Cy Young. Hopefully the offseaon plans for RA and DW pan out, and hopefullly keeping these two in Met uniforms beyond 2013 doesn’t stop the Wilpons from investing enough money nto the 2013 team to avoid the bitter taste left by the flawed 2012 squad.
  5. gary s. September 28, 2012 at 1:10 am
    I was at game today..Actually felt like a real MLB game for a change.If Dickey did not pitch today, there would have been 3 thousand in the place.
  6. Dan September 28, 2012 at 6:16 am
    Was pleasantly surprised to see that #20 had arrived. With one more start for all of the Cy chasers there still time for Dickey’s no-no and the others to get chased in their first innings.
  7. Izzy September 28, 2012 at 9:40 am
    Has an individual award surpassed making the playoffs? Would you trade the hopes and prayers for Mr dickey winning an award for the chance to win a WS. All this does it make it more likely that Mr Dickey will soon be playing elsewhere, as Mr Alderson decides to offer him a lowball offer. Congrats to Dickey and enjoy your new home in ’13 or ’14.
    • DaveSchneck September 28, 2012 at 11:00 am
      Agree with you 100%. Baseball is a team sport, and enjoyment of individual accomplishments should be left for after the season ends. Since the Mets’ season ended in August, we can enjoy this a little right now, but I’ll take the WS trophy and all the others can go in the closet. It will be real interesting to see the figure Alderson pegs as Dickey’s value (as it will for DW).
      • Joe September 28, 2012 at 2:17 pm
        Right. Like when a perfect game is thrown on a bad team. We should not celebrate the moment since the team stinks. This is tedious. Joe, no Mets spin doctor, can manage to focus on the moment, but some can’t, apparently.

        Seriously, obviously, IF given the choice, Dickey going 15-9 and the Mets being in the Braves or Nats spots would be preferred. But, like most teams in baseball, the Mets aren’t going to be in the playoffs or win the WS this year.

        So, we can spend a moment to honor someone worthy of it. Well, some.

        • Mike B September 28, 2012 at 3:45 pm
          I agree with Izzy… Fact is everyone was pumped last year when Jose won the batting title and how did that turn out. If the Mets dont extend DW and RA this off season you can kiss them goodbye. My guess is the Mets will do the same thing they did with reyes. and this team will be a total joke in 14…
  8. Crozier September 28, 2012 at 10:04 am
    R.A. is an awesome combination of nice, but not wimpy; religious, but not pious; and super-competitive, but not arrogant. He’s also open and honest, and as such, he openly strives to be the Cy Young winner. I’d like to see him win as well, but overall, who cares? In 2012, he climbed Kilimanjaro, published a widely-praised book, made the All-Star team, and will wind up (so to speak) with about 28% of his team’s wins. It’s such an all-around positive story that even Deadspin and Joe Janish can’t come up with anything negative to say about it. Pretty amazing.

    Also amazing: all 13 of his strikeouts yesterday were swinging.

  9. Walnutz15 September 28, 2012 at 10:29 am
    My brother was at the game yesterday, with my uncle….he likes to be at all of these “reference-point” games, since there aren’t typically too many of them as a Met fan.

    He said that as the ball looked to be leaving the yard, he commented on how good a beat Snider had on it… usually stoic Uncle brushed him off with a “naaahh” — said the look on his face after he hauled it back in, was worth the afternoon — regardless of whether or not Dickey picked up #20.

    Nearly 30 years on the planet, said he never saw that kind of look on his face before. Ever.

    Very impressive grab……once in a lifetime type of catch, really. Far more impressive than a pitcher picking up his 20th win for the 1st time in 2 decades, no matter how pathetic a franchise it is.

    Congrats to R.A. Dickey, though. A true class act.

    • Joe September 28, 2012 at 2:18 pm
      For t.v. viewers, a highlight was some guy on the other side of the fence screaming after he made the catch. They should have found that guy and interviewed him. It was a web gem moment.