Monday, July 30, 2012

Game #102: Mets 5, D-Backs 1

The best place for a knuckleballer to get back on track? Try a dry place where there's nothing in the air to stop it from its motionless glide to the plate.

R.A. Dickey was back in his June form, limiting the Diamondbacks to an unearned run and giving the Mets a series split, 5-1.

The Good Stuff:
  • Bouncing back from only his second L of the season in his last start, R.A. Dickey reminded fans in Arizona why he was a rightful contender to start the All-Star Game. He went the Solid Seven, allowing an unearned run on 4 hits, walking 3 and striking out 8 on 111 pitches, which is more like just 95 for a knuckleballer. The W gives Dickey 14 on the season, making him the first NL pitcher this year to reach the number.
  • R.A. also got some help from the New York bats, who spotted him a 2-0 lead before he even had to step up on the mound. David Wright's RBI double drove in Daniel Murphy, and Scott Hairston followed with a double himself to score Wright.
  • The Mets added insurance runs in the 5th, 6th, and 8th innings on another RBI from Scott Hairston and run-scoring doubles from Murphy (his 32nd on the year) and Josh Thole.
  • David Wright had the best offensive line of the game: 1-3, 2 BBs, 2 Rs, 1 SB, 1 2B, 1 RBI.
  • Andres Torres went 2-3 and scored twice from the 7-hole.
  • The team as a whole hit a much more respectable 4-14 with RISP.
  • After Dickey made his exit, Jon Rauch and Bobby Parnell combined for two scoreless innings in relief.
The Bad Stuff:
  • Ike Davis followed up his 3-homer night with another trifecta: 3 Ks in an 0-5 day at the plate.
  • Jason Bay.
Final Analysis:
It was a rare post-ASB day when all three cogs in the machine (starting pitching, relief pitching, offense) meshed together in one game. Dickey was fantastic again, the bats hit well in the clutch, the bullpen did its job quietly and efficiently. The result was the Mets salvaging a hard-to-believe series split to start their West Coast road trip. The last couple seasons, the West was where seasons tended to be lost. To start out this year's trip out with a solid outing to try to save a season that may have already been lost is certainly a good sign.

More good signs for the Amazin's: the return of the Whitestone Kid. Mike Baxter will return after writing his name in Mets history by sacrificing his body for Johan Santana's no-hitter. Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who needs some time to recoup in Buffalo, will be sent down to make room on the roster. It'll be about a week before he gets back to the hometown fans at Citi Field, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if he got an enormous ovation when he comes up to the plate for the first time. I'll be looking forward to that moment for sure.


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