R.A. Dickey tossed his National League-leading fourth complete game and picked up his 15th win, pulling even for the major league lead, as the Mets snapped a nine-game home losing streak with a 6-1 win against the Marlins on Thursday afternoon.
"Losing is not fun," Terry Collins said. "Losing makes it miserable to walk in the doors every morning, especially when you know you should be better. We know we should be better, and it's a frustrating experience. The guys are not happy about it. The mood in the clubhouse is not the same. Even though they try to make it the same, it's not. So today's win certainly lightens things up a little bit."
The Mets now welcome the Braves for a weekend series. Matt Harvey makes his first Citi Field start in tonight's opener. He opposes left-hander Paul Maholm.
Friday's news reports:
• Andres Torres went 3-for-3 with a season-high three RBIs and a walk, while Dickey posted 10 strikeouts -- his NL-leading sixth double-digit strikeout performance this season. "It’s a hard knuckleball. He shouldn’t call it a knuckleball, he should call it something else," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. "He should come up with his own name because it’s a different type of pitch." Torres had a double, homer and walk against Marlins starter Josh Johnson and is now 5-for-5 with three walks and four extra-base hits in his career against the ace. Read game recaps in the Times, Post, Newsday, Record, Daily News and Star-Ledger.
• Columnist Joel Sherman in the Post expresses concern whether the Mets are in good shape for success in 2013, too. Writes Sherman:
In other words, this isn’t a simple plug job. Not when you are three outfielders away from having a legitimate major league outfield. Not when you don’t have a starting catcher in a sport already short on catching. Not when significant parts of the Mets’ own hierarchy remain unsold that Ike Davis or Daniel Murphy can be part of a first-division right side of the infield. Not when Jonathon Niese is showing second-half endurance issues once more and Dillon Gee has become a physical uncertainty. Not when Jason Bay and Johan Santana are choking the payroll for one more season. And not when even your two best players in 2012 -- David Wright and R.A. Dickey -- are facing their walk years in 2013. Thus, the Mets have to commit significant dollars for a substantial period on both or seriously consider trading them between now and next July 31.
• Jose Reyes dropped David Wright's fly ball in shallow left field in the sun in the fourth inning, which set up the tiebreaking run scoring. Reyes also lost a 26-game hitting streak. Successor Ruben Tejada extended his hitting streak to a career-high 14 games. “It’s embarrassing, of course, but that ball got right in the sun,” Reyes told Peter Botte in the Daily News about the dropped fly ball. “It’s kind of tough. ... Hopefully that won’t happen again. I had it, but in the last moment I lost it in the sun, so I couldn’t see it. It almost hit my face.”
• With the Mets having all but dropped from wild-card contention, Collins said the plan to use Dickey on short rest regularly over the next several weeks is off the table. However, the manager did say that if Dickey is within striking distance of a 20-win season or the Cy Young, he may use the knuckleballer on short rest in the final couple of weeks of the season to try to bulk up his numbers. Dickey countered that he would not want to work on short rest unless it was beneficial to the team.
Columnist David Lennon in Newsday forecasts the Mets engaging Dickey in contract-extension talks in the near future. Unlike Wright, Dickey has made little secret of his desire to get a deal done -- even with dialogue in-season. The Mets have a team option on Dickey for next season at $5 million, just as they have a team option on Wright for $16 million. Writes Lennon:
All Dickey did Thursday was polish his Cy Young candidacy by beating the Marlins with a five-hitter, his NL-leading fourth complete game, in a 6-1 victory. Dickey improved to 15-3 with a 2.72 ERA. His 10 strikeouts upped his total to 166, which is tied with Justin Verlander for tops in the majors. "The numbers speak for themselves," Wright said. "There's probably a lot of teams that would like his services. Who doesn't want a guy that's won 15 games through the second week of August?" The Mets have a $5 million option on Dickey for 2013, so he's under their control for the immediate future. But after lukewarm talks in spring training about an extension, and then a pullback by the Mets into a wait-and-see mode, the front office is beginning to consider reopening those conversations. Earlier this season, the Mets' show-me stance was a calculated gamble to see if Dickey could duplicate his previous two breakout seasons. Instead, he's surpassed the most optimistic projections, earning a trip to the All-Star Game and becoming a real threat to win the Cy Young.
• Tim Byrdak, while resigned to the possibility his career may be over, has resolved to have surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his pitching shoulder. By undergoing the procedure now, the free-agent-to-be Byrdak holds out hope of pitching again late in the 2013 season. Byrdak needed to undergo the surgery anyway in order to be able to play catch comfortably with his children.
• Paul Lukas on ESPN.com tracks down the no-longer-anonymous apparent creator of Mr. Met.
• Josh Satin went 3-for-3 with a walk and scored four times and Valentino Pascucci had a three-run homer in Buffalo's 10-1, rain-shortened win at Lehigh Valley. Lucas Duda, who figures to return to the Mets at some point this month to see playing time in left field with Jason Bay's role reduced, was scratched from Buffalo's lineup with a toothache. Right-hander Jacob deGrom, the Mets' 10th-round pick in 2010 out of Stetson, was promoted from Savannah to St. Lucie and will make his Florida State League debut Saturday. DeGrom (6-3, 2.51 ERA with the Gnats) swapped teams with right-hander Yohan Almonte, who had a 6.57 ERA in 19 appearances (17 starts) with the Florida State League club. Read Thursday's full minor league recap here.
TRIVIA: Chipper Jones' first two major league homers came against the Mets. Name the pitchers who surrendered those long balls. (Hint: The homers came in May 1995.)
Thursday's answer: The longest hitting streak in Mets history belongs to Moises Alou, who hit safely in 30 straight games in 2007.