The Rising Apple staff chooses one player to highlight on our site for their outstanding or unique performance for the last week. If you have a nomination on who should be crowned as the Rising Apple Player of the Week, please let us know! You can leave us a comment, tweet us (@RisingAppleBlog) or make a comment on Facebook.
Ok, so sue me, I couldn’t choose! Both David Wright and R.A. Dickey had such monumental weeks for the Mets that we couldn’t give one or the other the upper hand when it came to Rising Apple Player of the Week honors. So, I figured there was nothing wrong with a good, old fashioned tie.
First let’s look at the week David Wright had. In a week where New York went 6-1 against the Marlins and the Pirates, the team’s unofficial captain didn’t necessarily tear it up at the plate, but after a 2-for-15 start, he ended up hitting .300 for the week, including 3 home runs, 9 RBI, and 6 runs scored. He’s hit in his last five games, including two hits in each of his last three. It looked as if his .300 season would be in jeopardy, but thanks to his recent surge, his current .309 average seems to be safe.
The biggest accomplishment Wright had this week was passing Ed Kranepool for the franchise hits lead after he dribbled a slow roller up the third base line for his 1,419th hit. Now, it sounds weird, but it’s true when we tell others that David Wright, who is 29-years-old, is the Mets franchise leader when it comes to hits, runs, and RBI. That’s insane. The third baseman has always been a fan favorite, and even though his pursuit of this record was bittersweet because of the team’s second half struggles, there is no doubt it’s still special. Entering their final home stand (10 games long), Wright was 8 hits away, and with his slump at the time, people were wondering if he’d be able to break the record at home. Thankfully, he was able to get hot and do it in front of the home fans.
Now, onto R.A. Dickey; he was originally supposed to pitch the finale at home against the Marlins and then open up the Braves series on the road, but he went to Terry Collins in the hopes that he could bump up his two starts, giving him a chance to win both and get to 20 in front of the home fans. In his Saturday start, he was masterful as he beat the Fish for the fifth time this season, going 8 innings, allowing 2 runs on 6 hits, 2 walks, and 4 strikeouts. Yesterday, he closed out the home season for the Mets in style, as he went 7.2 frames while tying a career-high with 13 strikeouts en route to his 20th win, the first pitcher to do so in the Orange and Blue since Frank Viola.
Dickey becomes the first pitcher to win 20 games for a team below .500 since Roger Clemens did so the Blue Jays back in 1997, when he also won a Cy Young. He’s had a special season, and he showed his gratitude for the fans in his post-game interview on the field with Kevin Burkhardt, as he said numerous times that this was as much for the fans as it was for him. Howie Rose said something similar on the radio while I was listening to the game yesterday; he said that in a season that has been a disappointment because of the second half swoon, Dickey getting to 20 was just as important for the franchise as it was for the knuckler, trying to find some positives and build a foundation for 2013.
These two players have been intertwined in most of the team’s success throughout this season, and it’s hard to fathom where the Mets would be without both Wright and Dickey’s 2012 performances. It was only fitting that these two would enjoy milestones at home on back-t0-back nights, as well as the third baseman providing the decisive blow in the fifth yesterday with what ended up being the game-winning home run in support of R.A.
Needless to say, there are no honorable mentions this week, as Wright and Dickey both deserve their time in the spotlight. They made me smile in September for the first time in a few years, and even though it was only for a couple days, it’s better than nothing.