The number one reason to tune in to Mets game in the final weeks of the season has been and will continue to be R.A. Dickey. The 37-year-old continued his excellent season this afternoon at Citi Field against the Miami Marlins, and the Mets helped him out just enough to get him his nineteenth win of the season.
Dickey didn't allow a run through the first eight innings of the game, and he started the ninth inning but was pulled after a walk and a double. Thanks to the three-run home run that Jon Rauch allowed immediately after taking over, Dickey was charged with two runs in his outing.
He struck out four and walked two, and he now owns a 2.66 ERA — still the best ERA among starting pitchers in the National League. His nineteenth win ties him with Gio Gonzalez for the league lead, too, and he surpassed Clayton Kershaw — perhaps only briefly — for the league lead in strikeouts with 209 on the year. In short, Dickey's start further solidified his excellent candidacy for the Cy Young Award.
But even Dickey couldn't quite do it all by himself, even though he very nearly hit a grand slam in the sixth inning after the Marlins intentionally walked Josh Thole with two outs and first base open. Dickey's shot was ever so slightly short of clearing the left field fence, and Bryan Petersen made a very nice catch to grab it near the top of the wall. It wouldn't have gone out had he missed it, but he certainly saved at least a couple of runs by making the grab.
The Mets provided a few runs before that, though, the first two of which came on a home run to center field by Jason Bay in the second inning against Mark Buerhle. Scott Hairston hit a dinger, too, leading off the fourth inning to give Dickey a three-run lead.
Thole doubled to begin the bottom of the fifth inning, and R.A. Dickey faked a bunt and smacked a single — officially ruled an error on Marlins second baseman Donovan Solano — to reach safely and advance Thole to third. Ruben Tejada lined out, but Thole came into score when Daniel Murphy hit a ground ball to first baseman Carlos Lee. There's no guarantee that Lee could have turned two, but he fumbled around a bit before throwing home, even though he had no shot at getting Thole. What could have possibly been an inning-ending double play resulted in zero outs.
That was it for the Mets' offensive output, and Jon Rauch nearly blew the lead in the ninth inning. After the three-run home run he gave up to John Buck, Rauch recorded three laborious outs without allowing a run to finish off the win.
Big winners: R.A. Dickey, +25.8% WPA, Jason Bay, +17.4% WPA
Big losers: David Wright, -4.9% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Jason Bay's two-run home run in the second, +18.7% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Rob Brantly's single to lead off the ninth, -8.1% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +33.8% WPA
Total batter WPA: +16.2% WPA
GWRBI!: n/a — Josh Thole scores on an error by Carlos Lee in the fifth