R.A. Dickey just continues to impress everyone around Major League Baseball. His pinpoint accuracy of the knuckleball is not only baffling hitters at the plate and his battery mate behind it, but everyone else watching him. Dickey struck out 10 on Sunday, becoming the first Met since Pedro Martinez in 2006 to record back-to-back double-digit strikeout games, and his 29 punchouts in his last three starts are the second highest total in a three-game span in the Majors this season.
Combining with Johan Santana‘s dominant performance yesterday, the Mets shut out the Padres in the last two games of their four game set, and ended up taking three of four from one of the worst offensive teams in the National League. For the second straight game, New York scored in the first inning, and that would be all the starting pitcher would need to record a victory. Despite talking his
way into the lineup, David Wright did go his third straight game without getting a hit, but drew a walk with two outs in the top of the first. After a stolen base and advancing on a passed ball, Wright scored on an RBI single by Daniel Murphy.
The only other time the Mets scored on Sunday afternoon was in the fifth inning; Mike Baxter got the threat started with an opposite field double off Edinson Volquez. He advanced to third and eventually scored the second and last run of the game on two wild pitches, giving Mets pitching enough of a cushion to preserve the lead. Like Santana, Dickey was dominant in the middle innings, holding San Diego hitless for 4.1 innings, which spanned from the third to the seventh inning. With his seventh win of the year, Dickey is tied for the most wins in the MLB. When he ran into some problems in the eighth inning, but Tim Byrdak was able to bail him out. The final like for R.A.: 7.1 IP, 3 hits, no runs, 1 walk, 10 strikeouts. Pretty nasty.
Once Byrdak navigated through the last two outs of the eighth inning, that gave way to Frank Francisco, who was trying to put the bow on this game and the series for the Mets. He responded with his fourth straight perfect outing, retiring the side in order for his 13th save of the season, fifth most in the National League. New York only mustered five hits on Sunday, but Justin Turner took two of them. Baxter and Murphy got one each, and Dickey also collected an infield hit himself. Ike Davis went 0-for-3 with 2 strikeouts…just when we thought we were out of the woods. We’ll see how he does today against Cole Hamels.
With the Miami loss yesterday, the Mets now have sole position of 2nd place in the NL East with their 27-21 record; they are currently 2.5 games behind the Nationals for the division lead and are tied for the third-most wins in the National League. I can bet good money that nobody thought those words would be broadcasted all over the internet.
Probable Pitchers Monday:
The Mets begin a very important stretch of games today; the next 8 series they play in are against teams with a record above .500, and it starts with the last place Phillies. Cole Hamels (7-1, 2.17 ERA) takes the mound and is having a great year, but has struggled against the Mets in the past, and Terry Collins hopes that continues as he sends Jonathon Niese (3-2, 4.29 ERA) to the hill to try and send New York to their fourth straight win. First pitch is scheduled at Citi Field for 1:10pm.