Meet the Mets
R.A. Dickey had it on Tuesday evening. He's "had it" in his previous outings this year but last night, whether it was because of a great knuckleball or a woeful Pirates lineup or both, R.A. Dickey had his strikeout knuckler working and he was absolutely excellent over seven innings in the Mets' 3-2 victory. Dickey struck out 11, walked none and allowed a single run on just five hits before departing for pinch hitter Andres Torres in the top of the eighth. All in all, it was a masterful performance by everybody's favorite knuckleballer and it was just a shame that he had to leave so soon. Meanwhile, the bullpen and the Mets' defense did their best to try to give this one back in the eighth but the Pirates would not take it. In the ninth, Frank Francisco tossed a 1-2-3 inning, seemingly his first in a very long time. Offensively, the Mets scored their runs without the help of David Wright, who struck out three times in arguably his worst offensive game of the year. TRAID! (or, sticking with the Pirate theme, BARTER!). To be fair, Pirates starter James McDonald was excellent himself. Lucas Duda broke a 1-1 tie in the eighth with a hard hit RBI single after Mike Baxter started the rally with a double. All Mike From Whitestone seems to do is hit doubles these days and you won't find me complaining.
Jon Niese heads to the hill for an afternoon matchup, as the Mets look to take the finale from the Pirates today. Niese will do battle against Halladay-copycat Charlie Morton and the first pitch is scheduled for 12:35 PM from PNC Park.
There was some good news from Florida, as Ruben Tejada batted in an extended spring training game. He did not play the field but even so, he may be back as soon as this weekend.
In case you haven't heard, the Mets' run differential is still very poor. Despite a 23-20 record, the Mets sit at -31 after last night's game with the Pirates. Patrick Flood and Rob Neyer both wrote about this phenomenon yesterday.
According to Mike Puma of the Post, the Mets have no interest in recently DFA'd righty Jason Marquis. This makes me happy. Very, very happy.
Major League Baseball's amateur draft is coming up in a couple of weeks and the Mets will once again be represented by Mookie Wilson, who'll be at the MLB Network studios during the televised portion of the draft.
Around the NL East
The Nationals knocked around Roy Halladay as they defeated the last-place Phillies 5-2 in Philadelphia. Washington activated Chien-Ming Wang from the DL and it looks like the righty will pitch from the bullpen. Meanwhile, they demoted Henry Rodriguez from the closer role and will go with a committee. For the Phils, Jimmy Rollins is going to get a couple of days off for paternity leave, as his wife had a baby.
Ricky Nolasco faced off against Juan Nicasio in a battle of similarly named pitchers and it was Nolasco and the Marlins who prevailed, 7-6 over the Rockies. Nolasco picked up his 69th career victory, catapulting him into the top spot in Marlins' history.
Around the Majors
David Ortiz is mad as hell and he's not going to take the media's mischaracterization of what makes a leader anymore!
A fan in Cincinnati caught not one but two home run balls back to back in the Reds' matchup with the Braves on Monday. I imagine that's the first time that's ever happened and if it is, let me be the first to say: well played, Mayans. Well played.