Tonight's lightning fast (2 hours, 7 minutes) affair, a 5-hit Shutout performance from R.A. Dickey, reminded me of a couple of things that the Mets can certainly hang their hat on in another unfortunate lost season.
1) Dickey's still got it: Although R.A. Dickey is a knuckleballer, and at age 37, he's still got quite a bit of life left in his arm, and without an ulnar collateral ligament, he's in no real danger of doing damage to his elbow, he's not bottomless. And at times he's been hittable, particularly at times when the Mets were slumping around him. Sometimes, the runs he gave up were just enough to sink him. But he's managed to keep the damage to a minimum, and it appears, after his last couple of starts, that he may be preparing to finish with a flourish during his drive for a Cy Young Award. Tonight's performance, in front of a tepid crowd at Mickey Mouse Dome, looked like the Dickey of May and June, as he was able to locate every pitch like clockwork, keep an undisciplined Marlins lineup in check and, ultimately, off the scoreboard, and, most importantly, seal the deal. The Marlins appeared totally befuddled against Dickey, just as they did earlier in the season, and appeared to barely make a peep until the 8th inning, and even then, they couldn't muster a key hit. So, Dickey would trot back out for the 9th, retire the Fish 1-2-3, and wrap up his 17th win of the season, and remains on track to become the first Mets pitcher in a generation to win 20 games. It has, in fact, been so long since a Mets pitcher has won that many, that the last time a Mets pitcher even won 17 games was back in 1998 when Al Leiter did it. And now, it's Dickey. In spite of the hiccups, he's once again tied for the league lead in wins, leads the league in Complete Games, and is 2nd in the NL in ERA and Strikeouts.
2) At least we're not the Marlins: I've said this before. But it's true. After the Marlins went out and bought a whole slew of nice little Free Agents to go in their Green Glob of a new ballpark, the Marlins still couldn't get out of their own way. When they signed Heath Bell, then Reyes, and then Mark Buehrle, and even had enough in the coffers to land Carlos Zambrano, I mused that Mets fans shouldn't worry too much, because once the 4 Marlins fans stopped showing up to the new ballpark, they'd have to sell everyone off. Tongue in cheek, yes, since the Mets did no better on this front, but nonetheless, I figured it would be more than a season before the Marlins gave up. It lasted barely 4 months! Now, their whole team is Jose Reyes, Meat Mountain Giancarlo Stanton and a bunch of guys they appear to have co-opted from the Colorados. And there were about 4 people in the stands in Miami, most of whom left well before the game ended. They took the Miami Heat model of building a champion by buying everyone, only the formula that works in the NBA doesn't work quite as well in Major League Baseball, and despite everyone making them the romantic pick to win the NL East, they've unraveled into as big a disaster as, say, the 2002 Mets. And to make it even more hilarious, it's the same year they moved into a new stadium. At least the 2009 Mets had the entire team getting injured as an excuse. This is comedy at its finest. And after the way the Marlins and their fan have treated the Mets over the years, I think we can safely say it couldn't have happened to a nicer bunch of people. Jerkoffs.