Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Clockwork Knuckleball

That old recipe for success that's worked for the Mets all season worked once again this afternoon. R.A. Dickey pitched, I had the game on the radio in my office, and the Mets won the game.

I've lost count as to exactly how many times this has worked, and the last couple of times the Mets played a weekday day game, things didn't work out well for them, but Dickey wasn't on the mound in those games. More often than not, they've won the Weekday Afternoon special, and when Dickey's been on the mound in those games, it seems victory is a mortal lock.

As is usually the case when the game is on in my office, however, I don't often have the time to pay attention to every detail. In fact, I've been known to miss chunks of game completely if I have to go on an errand or some such nonsense. Today, I didn't even click the radio on until the 3rd inning, just in time to hear Adam Wainwright hit a Home Run off Dickey, putting the Cardinals on the board. As usual, I have to pay attention to vocal inflections to determine when something important is going on, and for a good while, I didn't hear much, except for that Ike Davis Home Run. Business took me out of the office for a few minutes around the 7th inning, so I missed Dickey's departure, but even the end of the game appeared to be rather benign, as I'd sort of glossed over what was going on, until I heard Howie say, "And that's the strangest 'Put it in the Books' I've ever made," or something to that effect. Apparently whoever was on base for the Cardinals had rounded 2nd base on a fly out, and then didn't touch 2nd base going back after the catch (We call this pulling a Jay Payton here). The Mets, perhaps in a bit of payback for Monday, appealed and the runner was called out, ending the game before even Frank Francisco knew what was going on.

So, the Mets salvage a game against the Cardinals, when they probably should have won the series if there was any Justice, but whatever. The Cardinals can go play the Brewers, Rockies, Padres and Marlins and probably win themselves another Wildcard in the process. Or they can go jump in a lake for all I care. We're done with them, and not a moment too soon, because for some reason, my ire towards them really started to come out this week. Let's instead focus on R.A. Dickey, who looks like he may be going on another hot streak to finish out the season, opportune considering his prime positioning for a potential Cy Young Award. Right now, he's the first to 18 Wins in the Majors, and the first Mets pitcher to win 18 games since Frank Viola won his 20...22 seasons ago (and as an honorable mention, Dwight Gooden won 19 that same year). Dickey's primary competition is probably Johnny Cueto from Cincinnati, whose sole edge may be that his team has been playing exceptionally well (and he leads Dickey in ERA by about 10 points). I know that there's some sort of anti-Knuckleball bias being talked about (and perhaps a Mets bias, too), but I have to call BS on that. I don't care what he's throwing or whether it's a gadget pitch, or whatever. He's had an outstanding season for ANY pitcher. Dickey has pitched out this entire season as an absolute master of his craft. It just so happens that his craft is throwing a particularly elusive pitch. He's more than earned whatever accolades he may get this season.

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