New York Mets
The Mets entered the weekend series against the Braves desperate to cling to contention in the NL Wild Card race.
R.A. Dickey did his part in Friday night's series opener. Too bad the Met offense couldn't follow suit.
Dickey held the Wild Card-leading Braves to two runs on five hits in seven innings but left the mound with the Mets down, 2-1. Afterward, all he had to show for his efforts was loss No. 10 in 2011.
Ten losses is a career-high for Dickey, who signed a two-year deal with the Mets in the 2010 offseason.
But Dickey's loss total can be misleading; in six of those losses, the knuckleballer has allowed three or fewer runs.
Dickey's six losses in such situations is tied for the sixth-highest total in the majors.
"He's pitched a lot better than what his numbers dictate," Terry Collins said after the Mets fell nine games behind Atlanta in the Wild Card race. "He's kept us in games."
Problem is, the Mets offense keeps letting him down.
After getting two hits off of Tim Hudson in the first, Met batters managed just two the rest of the way.
"We couldn't score enough runs for him," said Jose Reyes, who went 0-for-4 and is hitting .208 (10-for-48) in his last 11 games.
Dickey did not walk a batter and struck out five Braves on Friday.
He had a tough time in the third, which started with a leadoff single by Alex Gonzalez. No. 9 hitter Jose Costanza drove in Gonzalez with a triple and leadoff man Michael Bourn followed with a sac fly.
Dickey also wiggled out of trouble in the sixth. With runners on second and third and one out, he struck out Dan Uggla and got Jason Heyward to hit a harmless grounder to short.
Afterward, Dickey didn’t focus on the jams he'd escaped. Instead, he couldn't escape the feeling that the Mets had lost an opportunity on Friday.
"I feel like every game when we're chasing the Braves is a 'must have' so it's kind of a let-down when you have opportunities that you don't take advantage of," Dickey said. "And tonight, I felt was one of those opportunities. We could have won that game."