Jason Bay's 2-run homer highlighted a 3-run 1st and R.A. Dickey pitched masterfully once again, giving the Mets a much-needed 5-2 win over the archrival Phillies.
The Good Stuff
- Before this game, Cliff Lee had allowed one earned run in three career starts against the Mets. He wouldn't even make it out of the 1st inning without blowing up that stat. Ruben Tejada led off with a double (his 5th of the young season) and Daniel Murphy doubled him in mere pitches later. After Justin Turner struck out and Ike Davis grounded Murph over to third, Jason Bay stepped up and blasted a shot into the right center stands of Citizens Bank Park.
- Was it just black magic on Friday the 13th? Or was this the game that finally gets him jump-started? Most have given up hope that he'll ever be what he was in Pittsburgh and Boston, but I'd like to believe Jason Bay finally has it figured out. Only time will tell, but it was a step in the right direction tonight. (At least he can still field - made a nice play in the 2nd to gun down John Mayberry Jr. at second base.)
- There wasn't too much more offense after that explosion (not that pitching needed it; see below), but Scott Hairston provided an insurance run in the 5th with a solo blast to left off a Lee snailball (74 mph). The last run came in the 9th off a Lucas Duda sac fly.
- The only question was whether R.A. Dickey could get run support. He did on this night, and it was more than enough for Mr. Knuckleball. Dickey turned in his 14th consecutive quality start, going 7 innings and allowing 1 run on 9 hits, walking 1 and K-ing 7. The lone run against him came on a Freddy Galvis solo jack in the 3rd; otherwise, Dickey got out of every single jam and earned a well-deserved second W.
- Bobby Parnell came in and pitched a solid 8th, then turned it over to Frank Francisco, who allowed an unearned run and struck out 3 Phillies to end the ballgame (that makes it 4 appearances by Francisco and 4 games finished with Ks...that'll do).
- Also, how can you not sing the praises of New York's new road uniforms? These things are classic, classy, and gorgeous. They should have removed the black trim a looong time ago, but better late then never, and nothing can beat the team grays this year. Simply fabulous.
- Ike Davis's struggles at the plate continued as he went 0-3, dropping his average to a dismal .043. The only plus was that he didn't strike out.
- Aside from his sac fly, Lucas Duda didn't do much either, also going 0-3 and striking out twice to drop his average to .120.
- The game would have been over one batter sooner if not for a ball that went through Daniel Murphy's legs Bill Buckner style with 2 outs in the 9th, allowing the second Philadelphia run to score.
- The only time the Friday the 13th curse struck the team was in the top of the 2nd when Josh Thole's brain took a brief vacation (we have unconfirmed reports it was spotted in Argentina). Thole was on first after as single, and Dickey laid down the perfect sac bunt to advance him. But Thole misread Jimmy Rollins's hands-up signal at second as "foul ball" instead of "don't slide," and started jogging back to first. The ball was tossed over for an easy double play, and what could've been a runner on second with 2 outs turned into the end of the inning. It's been speculated that whenever Josh catches R.A.'s knuckleball it throws him off for a few days with other pitchers; perhaps it threw off his common sense in the 2nd inning tonight.
Who needs David Wright? Okay, we do, and it appears he and his swollen-beyond-gripping-ability finger may be headed toward the DL. But with great pitching like the Mets had tonight, all it takes is for one guy to step up and contribute in his place. Ruben Tejada and Daniel Murphy had been doing it all season, and tonight Jason Bay got in on the action. Just a bit of offense combined with excellent pitching from R.A. Dickey and the rest of the staff, along with a little luck (Philly scored 1 earned run on 11 hits...who was cursed tonight?), and the New York Mets will whether the storm caused by Wright's absence.
P.S. We've reached a milestone on Midwestern Met: you've just read Post #200!