R.A. Dickey allowed one run and fanned eight Orioles over seven innings, walking just one and scattering seven hits. David Wright knocked in a pair and Chris Carter hit his first big league home run, a three-run blast in the fourth inning that gave the Mets all the cushion they needed. Francisco Rodriguez allowed a two-out double in the ninth to Corey Patterson but struck out the side to seal the victory.
Dickey threw 103 knuckleballs and generated swinging strikes on 18 of them, or 17.5% of the time; the league average is around 8% for starting pitchers. The knuckleball's craziness was illustrated nicely earlier by Josh Smolow, but here are a few more graphs just to, erm, hammer it home.
Here are two PITCHf/x charts for tonight's performance by Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie.
The left chart represents Guthrie's release point for each of his 104 pitches tonight. The right chart shows the movement of each pitch; the x-axis plots vertical movement and the y-axis plots horizontal movement. That big clump of pitches in the upper left is a mix of fastballs and changeups. The smaller blob center-right are sliders, while the three pitches in the lower right are curveballs. If you knew what kind of pitch Guthrie was about to throw you'd have a pretty fair guess at how it might move after leaving his hand.
As with Guthrie, the left chart represents Dickey's release point for each of his 109 pitches thrown. The right chart shows the movement of his pitches, 94% of which were knucklers. Notice anything different about this chart versus Guthrie's? It's like throwing darts with your eyes closed, and the best part is that every Orioles hitter knew what pitch was coming and they were still helpless to predict how it might dance or where it might wind up. Eight strikeouts and one walk later and Dickey's 4-0.
Normally eight K's come from serious cheese
But meandering meatballs brought O's to their knees
Dickey's legend grows faster, his pitches get slower
His knuckler's a very deliberate mower
Big winners: R.A. Dickey, +30.9% WPA, Chris Carter, +17.6% WPA
Big losers: Ruben Tejada, -4.6% WPA, Rod Barajas, -2.6% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Carter three-run home run in fourth, +20.1% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Wigginton single in fourth, -7.8% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +36.6% WPA
Total batter WPA: +13.4% WPA
GWRBI!: Chris Carter
Nice job by CTRefJay; his effort in the game thread embiggens us all.
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