If there was any doubt that it all starts with pitching, especially starting pitching, then look back at the last two games. First Johan Santana tanked. Today, R.A. Dickey gives up eight runs in four and a third to send the Mets to their second straight loss. It’s a shame to bang out fourteen hits, score six and lose. But when your starter can’t come up with a quality start, and your entire staff gives up two touchdowns to a team that couldn’t hit the broadside of the Great Wall of China before this series, that’s what is going to happen. Dickey has been so good for so long, having had a long streak of quality starts snapped with this rain filled outing. Perhaps it was the rain. Perhaps it was Dickey’s game plan for a wet ball, as he said post game. But the relievers weren’t so hot either. The Braves relievers, who had to pick up for Jair Jurrjens (predictably), did a better job than the Mets’ relievers did.
I thought the key to the game was the sixth inning with the Mets rallying and cutting the deficit to 8-5. Cristhian Martinez faced David Wright as the tying run, and the count was 3-1. Now take into account at that moment, Wright was hitting .531 and ahead in the count. Martinez came up with two hellacious breaking balls to strike out Wright swinging, and that was pretty much your game there. Pitcher wins might be an overrated stat, especially when relievers come into games where their starter can’t go five innings with a lead. Those two pitches earned Martinez that win.
If Wright gets a hit there, It’s a different game. That strikeout which was immediately followed by Bobby Parnell giving up two runs put the game out of reach. Of course, those two runs probably shouldn’t have been earned, as I still think the Larry Jones double should have been an error on Jason Bay, which is what it was initially scored. Bay ran full tilt to the ball, but slowed down as he got to the wall and, if just for a split second, was under the ball. And he dropped it. The scoring was changed probably for three reasons: Hometown scoring for Larry, Bay crashing into the wall right after the drop, and … well maybe pity. But give Bay credit for one thing: he made a supreme effort to keep his hat on his head and his shades on his nose after crashing into the wall. It was touch and go for a while, but Bay still looked stylish.
(And on a more important note, Bay wasn’t pulled from the game with a concussion. As if we need another thing to blame on Larry.)