Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Game #18: Mets 5, Marlins 1

David Wright blasts a two-run home run in the sixth inning against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field Wednesday. (NYDailyNews.com)
Last week in Atlanta, R.A. Dickey's streak of 14 straight quality starts was smashed to pieces. Well, I guess 15 out of 16 ain't bad.

David Wright's 2-run homer in the 6th provided all the offense Dickey needed as the Mets clinched the series over the Marlins, 5-1.

The Good Stuff:
  • Looks like it was the rain after all. After wet conditions ruined his knuckleball against the Braves, R.A. Dickey was back to the stuff that's given him Cy Young-like numbers since last July. Dickey went the Solid Seven, allowing 1 run (a solo homer to Omar Infante in the 5th) on 3 hits in 7 innings, walking 1 and striking out 7.
  • The narrative of offense during Dickey outings was seemed also to be back to normal with New York trailing 1-0 in the 6th. But Kirk Nieuwenhuis led off getting hit by a Mark Buehrle pitch. After Ruben Tejada flew out, Daniel Murphy hit a sure double play ball to first, but Captain Kirk, a man with a proven football mentality, slid hard into second base and forced Jose Reyes's throw to go over the first baseman's head. The Mets found an extra pendant of life, and David Wright made the most of it, smashing an 0-2 changeup to dead center for the go-ahead 2-run home run. The 2 RBIs gave him 735 for his career, putting him past Darryl Strawberry for #1 on the Mets' all-time RBI leaderboard.
  • New York would add a hefty insurance plan in the 8th when Tejada got it going with a 1-out double. After Murphy struck out, Wright was walked intentionally to get to Lucas Duda. The Big Dude then clobbered a single into center that Giancarlo (a.k.a. "Mike") Stanton couldn't handle, and Tejada came home as the runners went to second and third. Mike Baxter was sent up to pinch hit, and the Whitestone Kid came through with an opposite-field 2-run double to make it 5-1 Amazin's.
  • The bullpen kept Miami's offense under control after Dickey made his exit, as Jon Rauch delivered a scoreless 8th (keeping his ERA at a spotless 0.00) and Tim Byrdak and Manny Acosta combined for a scoreless 9th, forcing Chipper-esque Gaby Sanchez to ground into the game-ending 5-4-3 double play.
The Bad Stuff:
  • Only 2 Met starting fielders failed to get a hit in the game: Kirk Niewenhuis, who went 0-3 with 2 Ks (despite the HBP that started the rally in the 6th), and Ike Davis, whose struggles at the plate continued even as he was moved down to the 7-hole in the batting order. Davis went 0-4 but at least didn't strike out and got good contact on a lineout to center in the 8th.
Final Analysis:
And they're back on track. After starting pitching, the bullpen, and the bats all went out to lunch for about a week, all have returned in the last 2 days as the Mets clinched a series win over their newly minted division rivals. This is the kind of win you saw when the team started out 7-3: everything gelled and New York seemed in control for most of the game. Play like this, and that 10-8 record's going to get even better. It'll start tomorrow afternoon if the Amazin's can break out the brooms.

MM

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