R.A. Dickey took the mound at Citi Field for his second try at getting his 19th win, this time against the division-rival Philadelphia Phillies. Like his last start, the knuckleballer pitched well enough to earn a victory, but a lack of run support denied him the chance. It didn’t help that a hot Cliff Lee was opposing him, either.
Mets Offensive Highlights:
Like they’ve done during most games throughout the second half, the Mets didn’t have a problem getting men on base, putting together 7 hits and 1 walk, but had the toughest time bringing them around to score. Ruben Tejada and David Wright both singled in the first, but Scott Hairston and Lucas Duda couldn’t help cash in. Duda doubled with one out in the fourth, only to be stranded. In the fifth, Mike Nickeas singled to start a “rally” (if that’s what you want to call it), then moved to second off a sacrifice bunt from Dickey, and to third following a groundout. Daniel Murphysingled him home for the first and only Mets run of the night. Phillies pitching retired the last six men in a row to secure the victory. On the night, New York went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position, stranding 7 men on base. Wright is now just six hits away from Ed Kranepool’s franchise record.
Phillies Offensive Highlights:
Philadelphia didn’t come through in the clutch either tonight (0-for-4 with RISP), but took advantage of the few mistakes they were given. In the first, Jimmy Rollins struck out, but reached first base due to a passed ball, then moved to second after Dickey threw away a pickoff attempt, and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly from Chase Utley. They struck again in the fifth, and once again, it was Rollins in the thick of things. He hit a high fly ball that initially, was not ruled a homer, but after instant replay, the call was overturned, giving the shortstop earned his team-leading 21st long ball of the season. Domonic Brown led off the seventh with another solo homer, and that was all the Phillies pitchers would need on this night.
Dickey went 7 innings, gave up 3 runs (2 earned) while allowing 5 hits, 2 walks, and striking out 8. He will likely put the blame on this loss squarely on himself, as it was his throwing error that necessitated Rollins scoring the first run, and he gave up both solo home runs. In relief of the knuckleballer, Robert Carson threw a scoreless inning, while Josh Edgin and Ramon Ramirez combined for a 1-2-3 inning in the ninth.
Cliff Lee got his fourth win in his last eight starts, as he went 8 innings, giving up 1 run while scattering 7 hits and 1 walk, in addition to striking out 10 hitters. Jonathan Papelbon came in and shut the door for his 35th save of the year, and bringing the Phillies back to .500 at 74-74.
The Mets are now 66-81 on the season, and must run the table to finish the year at .500, which was a goal just a few weeks ago. That seems rather unlikely, to say the least.
Probable Pitchers Tuesday:
It will be a match-up of two rookie pitchers, as Tyler Cloyd (1-1, 4.95 ERA) takes the mound to face off against Matt Harvey (3-5, 2.92 ERA), who will be making his last start of the season. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10pm.