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Braves 14, Mets 6: Dickey Dropped To Sub-Deity Status

A lot went wrong on this play.
A lot went wrong on this play.

Occasionally the Mets play a day game during the work week and none of us is available to cover it. On those days, I'll ask our Twitter followers to submit 200+ word recaps so we don't have to. Here are the first results of this experiment.

"Slog" is really the only way to describe today's game, as the Mets lost to the Braves 14-6. The miserable weather excused an Atlanta crowd of the hundreds clearly hoping the game would be called after four and a half innings with a Braves lead. The Mets end their road-trip 3-3.

R.A. Dickey's knuckleball went from "dancing" (according to Gary) to "out of the park" fairly frequently. Dickey allowed 3 homers (all two-run shots) and 8 earned runs while striking out 5, ultimately lasting four and a third innings. His short outing ended his streak of 16 consecutive quality starts.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis was one of the bright spots for the Mets in the lead-off spot, with three hits, three runs scored, and a stolen base. Ike Davis hit an early solo home run, giving the Mets a brief lead. David Wright continued to rake, hitting a two-run double in the third and an RBI single in the fifth, tying Daryl Strawberry's team RBI record.

Beyond that, the game was full of base-running miscues, men left on base, puddles, and Jason Bay tempting the concussion gods by running straight into the outfield wall again. At least his sunglasses stayed on. Chipper Jones getting credited with a double on the play added insult to potential injury.

This was a tough one to endure. At least we checked in with Kevin (interviewing Bo Jackson!) and learned Ron's not an umbrella guy (that is not a thing.) The Mets start a four-game series with the San Francisco Giants on Friday at Citi Field.

(Submitted by Anthony Krizel)

The shine of the Mets' 7-3 start is beginning to wash away after two hard losses to the Atlanta Braves by a combined score of 23-9.

The Mets have sent Johan Santana and R.A. Dickey to the mound for the past two games. Their return? 5.2IP, 12H, 14R (12 earned), 3BB, 5K.

Today's game was, well, awful. The defense played poorly (1 error, was 2 until a Jason Bay misplay was changed to a Chipper Jones RBI double). The bullpen continued to struggle, giving up 5 earned runs in 3.2 innings. Dickey looked primed for a strong performance, ringing up two strikeouts and needing only 9 pitches to complete the first inning. His knuckleball seemed to betray him after that, as the Braves went on to light him up in the next three-plus innings.

Not all was bad though - Kirk Nieuwenhuis stepped seamlessly into the leadoff spot, going 3-4 with an RBI, a walk, and 3 runs scored. He continues to make his case as the Mets everyday centerfielder, even as Terry Collins continues to say Andres Torres will have the job when he returns (an interesting storyline to follow. If Nieuwenuis keeps it up, how can Collins possibly take him out of the lineup?) David Wright has continued to swing a hot bat, going 2-5 with 3 RBI (tying him with Darryl Strawberry for #1 on the Mets career leaderboard). Ike Davis seems to have put his early season struggles behind him, hitting his third homer in the past 4 days. The Mets top six hitters combined to go 13-26 with 4 walks (for a ridiculous .548 OBP!) and only 3 strikeouts today. The Mets stranded 11 runners on base, despite going 7-18 (.389) with runners in scoring position. They surrendered two key outs at home plate, each proving a crushing blow to potential rallies.

Conclusion: When it's not one, it's the other. The offense played well enough to win, but the pitching just wasn't there. Much of the blame falls on Dickey just not having it, but the strong start for the bullpen is wearing away quickly. Hopefully the off day tomorrow and a return to Flushing will help the team gather themselves. Jon Niese will look to stabilize the rotation and continue his hot start Friday night against Barry Zito.

Three things to watch for:

  • The Giants have two quality lefthanders in Barry Zito and Madison Baumgarner pitching this weekend. How does TC manage the Captain Kirk / Scott Hairston platoon with the way Nieuwenhuis is swinging the bat? I say Hairston gets the start Monday against Baumgarner, with Kirk playing the first three games.
  • Was the bullpen's hot start just a flash? Or can they regain their early season success?
  • What the hell is happening to Tim Lincecum?

(Submitted by Dan Haefeli)

The Mets got clobbered by the Atlanta Braves 14-6 this afternoon in a game that would be a great reminder of the upcoming NFL draft if ESPN hadn't been already beating me over the head with it. It was actually one of the better offensive games the Mets have played this season, but their efforts were overcome by an Atlanta squad intent on punishing R.A. Dickey's knuckleball.

Before the game Dickey was sporting a streak of 14 consecutive quality starts dating back to last July 25. Despite the arbitrary nature of the quality start, that's quite a remarkable streak, especially considering that knuckleballers are widely considered the most inconsistent brand of pitchers. Obviously, the steak was going to end sometime, but you didn't figure for it to end on such a gross, rainy day in Atlanta. Of course, the national pastime is nothing if not unpredictable.

The game started out as an entertaining back-and-forth affair before getting totally out of hand. The Mets struck first when Ike Davis took Jair Jurrjens deep to left field for a solo home run in the top of the second. The Braves struck right back in the bottom of the frame, however, when Juan Francisco blasted a Dickey fastball over the wall in center field for a two-run homer.

In the third, David Wright continued to be hotter than tongue-scalding pizza cheese as he ripped a double over Michael Bourn's head in center field. The big hit chased home both Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Daniel Murphy to get the Mets back on top 3-2. This lead too would not last long, as Martin Prado doubled down the left field line with two aboard in the bottom of the third. That scored two runs, and the Braves got two more when Dan Uggla homered one out later. It was Uggla's first hit off Dickey in more than 20 at-bats. Not a great sign for the Mets or Dickey.

The game kept on going like that. In the fifth, Wright singled home a run to mark the ninth straight game in which he's reached base at least twice. That's freaking awesome, but Atlanta quelled the momentum once again when Freddie Freeman hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning. That made the score 8-4 and ended Dickey's rotten day.

Migeul Batista came in and actually struck out the only two batters he would face, but then the game was mopped up by Bobby Parnell, Tim Byrdak, Jon Rauch and Frank Francisco. The relief corp combined to give up six runs on eight hits. They did strike out seven and only allowed one walk, however. When you combine that with Dickey's five punch outs and two walks, the staff struck out 12 and walked just three in a 14-run disaster. Amazingly, Atlanta did not put a "1" on the board once. Instead, it scored two runs in five different innings and four runs in the third.

Of course, the Atlanta pitching staff only combined for five strikeouts and five walks, but they still managed to keep the Mets from totally erupting. Nieuwenhuis had a great game for the Metsies, going 3 for 4 with a pair of doubles. The performance pushed Kirk's line to .375/.444/.531, but Keith Law was quick to subdue any irrational optimism. So, not a great day for the Metsies. The squad gets Thursday off and then heads back home to face San Francisco on Friday night. Looks like Jon Niese and Barry Zito will be starting in that one.

So, not a great day for the Metsies. The squad gets Thursday off and then heads back home to face San Francisco on Friday night. Looks like Jon Niese and Barry Zito will be starting in that one.

(Submitted by Aaron Yorke)