Saturday, September 1, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Mets 5, Marlins 3
By Walter Villa
WHAT IT MEANS: The New York Mets won their third straight series with their 5-3 victory over the Marlins, improving to 63-70 on the season.
POWER SURGE ENDED: The Mets had homered in seven straight games until failing to go yard on Saturday. It was their second-longest streak of the season. They hit eight straight from May 28 to June 5.
FRUSTRATING EARLY, EXCITING LATE: The Mets, 2-8 against Marlins starter Josh Johnson, only managed one run against him. But they erupted for four runs in the ninth off closer Steve Cishek.
The winning hit was a two-out, two-run single up the middle by backup catcher Kelly Shoppach.
EX-MET: It was surely painful for Mets fans to see their former shortstop, Jose Reyes, score two runs in the game. Reyes had a hit and a walk and stole his 30th base of the season.
THOLE’S TROUBLES: Catcher Josh Thole continued his offensive slump Friday night by going 0-for-3 with a strikeout. But he did get the Mets’ first RBI on Saturday. With the infield in and Mike Baxter on third after a leadoff double and a groundout, Thole hit a hard roller that forced Marlins shortstop Jose Reyes to move to his left to get. Baxter easily scored from third.
Thole also singled to center in the eighth, snapping an 0-for-30 drought.
Mets manager Terry Collins said prior to the series that an experiment to try to get Thole to pull the ball more has failed. The team now wants Thole to revert to his 2010 form, when he made consistent opposite-field contact and hit .277.
Thole did hit to the opposite field twice on Friday, but both plays resulted in groundouts to shortstop, including one that started a double play.
THE DICKEY AFTERGLOW: R.A. Dickey, who beat the Marlins Friday night, is the first Mets pitcher to win at least 17 games in a season since Al Leiter in 1998. He is only the fourth Mets pitcher to get his 17th before September. The others were Tom Seaver in 1969 and 1975, Dwight Gooden in 1985 and Frank Viola in 1990.
Dickey is the first Mets pitcher to record three shutouts in a season after his 37th birthday. Tom Seaver, at age 38, had two shutouts.
The last major-leaguer to throw at least three shutouts in a season was Randy Johnson in 2002, when he pitched four.
Dickey has done a lot of damage against the Marlins. He is 4-0 with a 1.16 ERA vs. Miami this year and has won seven consecutive starts against the Marlins, dating to 2010. Jamie Moyer holds the record of winning 10 straight against the Marlins.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Mets conclude the series Sunday at 1:10 p.m. with Chris Young facing the Marlins’ Mark Buehrle.
After that, the Mets play three games at St. Louis, including two afternoon games. Rookie Collin McHugh will return to the team on Monday for his second start, pitching against the Cardinals’ Joe Kelly at 2:15 p.m. Rookie Matt Harvey will start Tuesday night at 8:15 against Jaime Garcia. And R.A. Dickey will chase his 18th win of the season Wednesday afternoon at 1:45 p.m. against Mets-killer Adam Wainwright.