Night Cap: Moore Means Less For Dickey

Cruisin__screen_021_medium The main attraction in tonight's tilt was obviously one Robert Allen Dickey and his ongoing quest to become the first 20 game winner for the Mets since Frank Viola. If he could not achieve that end, whatever else happened in this game mattered little. If, say, the Mets managed to come from behind and win in extras and give a vulture win to, say, Robert Carson, that was of little consequence. So if you missed tonight's game, you can rest assured that did not happen!

This was definitely not one of Dickey's most overpowering starts. Much like in his last outing versus the Cardinals, he had some knuckleball issues, and it did look like he would be able to overcome them. A single by Jayson Werth to start the game was followed by a sneaky double down the third base line from Bryce Harper, who was previously 0-for-forever against Dickey. Ryan Zimmerman cashed one chip with a long sac fly, but Dickey was able to induce a shallow popup and strike out Michael Morse to limit the damage there.

Dickey's counterpart, Jordan Zimmermann, was all over the place, running full counts to seemingly every batter he faced. But the Mets are a resourceful bunch, and they still managed to dig deep down and do absolutely nothing against him in the early innings despite a myriad of chances. In the bottom of the first, Ruben Tejada started things off with a single, then Daniel Murphy walked. After David Wright struck out looking (oh Dave), Ike Davis walked to load the bases with one out. Mike Baxter and Jason Bay (starting because of his defense (?)[!]{?!}) both struck out in short order.

Zimmerman continued to struggle throughout the early going, and the Mets continued to struggle to do take advantage of his struggling. They BUNTZed their way out of inning in the second when Andres Torres popped out on a failed bunt attempt and Dickey's sac attempt turned into a double play. In the third, Tejada singled again to start the third, and Ike worked another two-out walk, but both men were stranded.

Meanwhile, Dickey had a much easier time of it, yet labored on the short end of a 1-0 game. He allowed a leadoff double to Ian Desmond in the top of the second, but was bailed out when Desmond was thrown out trying to steal third. In the top of the third, a four-pitch walk of Werth and a single by Harper went for nought. After a 1-2-3 fourth, Dickey's fifth was a near carbon copy of his third--walk of Werth, single by Harper. Once again, Dickey (visibly annoyed by the deja vu) retired Ryan Zimmerman to strand them for a second time.

In the bottom half, the Mets finally broke through. Tejada singled over Danny Espinosa for his third hit of the night. Then, Murphy hit a ball down the left field line that landed just foul and eluded the grasp of Michael Morse, which allowed Tejada to score all the way from first. Shortly thereafter, Wright (who'd looked pretty bad in his two previous at bats) singled Murphy home, giving the Mets the lead and their first multi-run inning at home in 110 innings. That mark nearly broke the previous mark of home run-scoring futility set by, oh, let's say the 1899 Cleveland Spiders.

Finally ahead, Dickey struggled to start the sixth and walked Adam LaRoche, but induced a double play grounder from Morse and escaped unscathed. He was not so lucky in the seventh, when Kurt Suzuki hit a one-out single, then pinch hitter Tyler Moore belted Dickey's first offering for a long two-run homer. A single from Werth was negated when Tejada turned another sure hit from Harper into an amazing double play, but what little life the tiny crowd on hand gained from the Mets' brief lead was completely gone.

Jon Rauch took Dickey's place and put runners on the corners with nobody out, but managed to wriggle out of trouble. Birthday boy Frank Francisco was no so fortunate in the ninth, as he gave up a leadoff double to Espinosa, followed immediately by a single from Kurt Suzuki to plate a patently unnecessary insurance run. After another single and a walk, Frank Frank exited to much deserved boos. Josh Edgin was brought in to clean up his mess and allowed a bloop RBI single. A groundout, strike out, and another K from Manny Acosta limited the scoring there, for all the good it did.

The non-Frank Frank members of the Mets bullpen labored in vain because after Jordan Zimmerman exited the game, the Mets continued their lumber allergic ways. Tom Gorzelanny pitched a scoreless sixth, despite Jason Bay reaching on an error. Christian Garcia struck out the side in the seventh, including pinch hitter Jordany Valdespin, which officially removed any chance of seeing Dickey get win number 19 tonight. Then, in the bottom of the eighth, Davey Johnson decided he needed three pitchers to set down the Mets batters, which is the baseball equivalent of fighting off mosquitoes with an ICBM. Garcia, Michael Gonzalez, and Drew Storen each retired Wright, Davis, and pinch hitter Lucas Duda, respectively.

There was a brief tease in the ninth when Scott Hairston clubbed a solo shot, then Ronny Cedeno hit a two-out single to bring the tying run to the plate. Of course, that was only a tease if you believed the Mets could managed more than one multi-run inning a night, which, c'mon. Even Tejada can't counteract mojo like that, and he struck out to end the game and bring the Mets on the brink of their second winless homestand of the year.

Only 20 more games left! Can you believe it?

SB Nation Coverage

* Traditional Recap
* Boxscore
* Amazin' Avenue Gamethread
* Federal Baseball Gamethread

Win Probability Added

Chart_8__medium

Big winners: Daniel Murphy, +17.8%, Ruben Tejada, +4.2%
Big losers: Mike Baxter, -15.3%, R.A. Dickey, -14.2%
Teh aw3s0mest play: Dan Murphy RBI double, bottom fifth, +18.3%
Teh sux0rest play: Tyler Moore two-run homer, top seventh, -37.5%
Total pitcher WPA: -21.2%
Total batter WPA: -28.2%
GWRBI!: Kurt Suzuki RBI single, top ninth

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