Saturday, June 2, 2012

Game #53: Mets 5, Cardinals 0

NY Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey is pumped as he baffles the Cardinals all afternoon at Citi Field. (NYDailyNews.com)
How do you follow up a no-hitter? Like this.

R.A. Dickey turned in a masterpiece of his own and the Mets benefited from a strange 2nd inning on the way to beating the Cardinals 5-0.

The Good Stuff:
  • In the first game of the post-No-han era, R.A. Dickey earned his own spot in the limelight. That knuckleball danced its way to a complete game, 7-hit shutout in 100 pitches. It was R.A.'s 8th win of 2012, matching his total from the entirety of last season, and lowered his ERA all the way down to 2.69. Without that rain-soaked April affair in Atlanta, that number would be down to 1.71. "Real All-Star"? You bet.
  • Dickey had the benefit of a solid Mets infield that turned 3 double plays over the course of the game, one 4-6-3 and two of the 6-4-3 variety.
  • New York got its best offense in the 2nd on one of the strangest sequences of the year. Ike Davis led off with a single and Omar Quintanilla was hit by a pitch. Josh Thole then hit it where they weren't, pounding out an infield single. Up came R.A. to help out his own cause, which he did by hitting a sharp groundball that second baseman Daniel Delasco couldn't handle; Delasco's throw was low to first, and everyone was save with Ike coming home to score. Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Andres Torres also had RBIs in the inning on two groundballs, making it 3 runs in the 2nd that came when the ball was never more than a couple feet off the ground at any time.
  • Another run came in in the 7th when Daniel Murphy came home on an Eduardo Sanchez wild pitch. The last run came in the 8th when David Wright blasted a solo home run to right field.
The Bad Stuff:
  • Once again, the Bad from this game was more like just the Other. Unfortunately, there are a couple injuries to report in the aftermath of last night's party.
  • You had a feeling Mike Baxter was seriously hurt after The Catch, and that feeling was spot-on: Baxter suffered a displaced collar bone and will likely miss 6 weeks. Sure, it sucks that the injury bug has bitten once more, but I would say he willingly gave himself to that bug. Six weeks may seem like a long time, but it's an alright price to pay for baseball immortality.
  • This injury, however...this one's a little harder to explain. Ramon Ramirez injured his hamstring during last night's no-hitter celebration and will go on the DL. File this one under the "GOB" category.
Final Analysis:
To borrow a phrase from legendary Cub voice Harry Carey, "Ho-ly cow!" While it wasn't a no-hitter, it was just about a perfect outing from R.A. Dickey, and the result was the Mets' first back-to-back shutouts since...last weekend. Guess who was responsible for those two outings? The All-Star one-two punch of Santana and Dickey.

Felt bad for Dickey that he had to follow a no-hitter? Think about how Jon Niese must feel having to follow both those guys, oh by the way, in front of a national primetime audience on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball. But the way Met starters are rolling right now (a 1.53 ERA in the last 8 games), he's got as good a chance as any.

MM

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