R.A. Dickey sent the fans home satisfied, tossing a masterful one-hit shutout against Shane Victorino, Cole Hamels and the rest of the clowns down I-95. And it was a legitimately dominant start -- seven strikeouts, one walk and thirteen swinging strikes. That's back-to-back shutouts for the Mets, coincidentally (or not?) taking place during Frankie Rodriguez's stay in gen pop. A sixth inning single by Hamels accounted for the Phils' only base knock. Dickey's ERA is now 2.43, good for sixth in the league, behind the likes of Adam Wainwright, Roy Halladay and Josh Johnson.
The knuckleball was working tonight, and Dickey threw it on 97 out of 105 pitches, or 92% of the time. He usually throws it around 83% of the time. The knuckler's velocity ranged from 68 mph all the way to 81 mph. For reference, Dickey's average knuckleball velocity (76.3 mph) is about 10 mph higher than Tim Wakefield's (65.9 mph) on the season. Per Mark Simon at ESPNNY, this is the fourth time in Mets history that they have tossed a one-hitter and the opposing pitcher accounted for the only hit. Blart, as they say.
Carlos Beltran doubled home David Wright in the sixth inning, giving R.A. all the run support he needed. There was some drama in the bottom of the fifth inning, when Mike Hessman hit what was originally ruled a home run over the left field fence. Phillies left fielder Raul Ibanez felt there was some kind of fan interference and channeled Dikembe Mutombo in his protest to the umpiring crew as Dicktorino acted like his douchey self:
After a way-too-long video review, the umpires curiously turned the home run into a triple. Replays were not 100% conclusive, but it seemed to be a home run. There surely wasn't incontrovertible visual evidence to overturn the initial call, to borrow from the NFL (I'm not exactly sure what the rule is in MLB). It appears the men in blue messed up on this one. That put Big Hess on third base with none out -- should be no problem to drive him in, right? Not when Jeff Francoeur is the next batter. Here's Frenchy's at-bat in visual form:
To be fair, one of the three pitches he swung at and missed was in the strike zone. That's an improvement. Facepalm. He swung at six of the seven pitches he saw in three at-bats tonight. Henry Blanco followed with a hideous strikeout of his own, and Dickey grounded out after Ruben Tejada was intentionally walked. No runs for you.
I've vowed to change the channel during any future Francoeur at-bats this season. His presence on the roster is flabbergasting. If I were still in college, I would write a sociology paper on Frenchy's ability to receive significant MLB playing time based almost solely on his personality. On this Friday the 13th,
Jason Francoeur has a .666 OPS. I'm calling him "The Omen" from now on:
Despite the Frenchy negativity and subpar offense, this was the best win of the year and makes four straight shutouts of the Phillies at Citi Field. The Braves beat the Dodgers 1-0 tonight thanks to a terrific Tim Hudson start, and now hold a three game lead over the second place Philth. Good. I will be rooting for [team ahead of the Phillies] the rest of the season.
Unintentionally sexual quote of the game: "It felt good coming out of my hand all night." -- Dr., on his knuckleball
No hits made our hearts, like a knuckleball, flutter
Dickey's destiny undone by a pitcher: we mutter
The bearded magician has been team's bread and butter
Without him, imagine! We collectively shudder
Big winners: R.A. Dickey +71.9% (as pitcher),
Big losers: -11.5%, Jose Reyes -9.7%
Teh aw3s0mest play: Carlos Beltran RBI double +18.0%
Teh sux0rest play: strikeout -8.4%
Total pitcher WPA: +71.9%
Total batter WPA: -21.9%
GWRBI!: Carlos Beltran
Nice job by Gina; her effort in the game thread embiggens us all.
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