By John Schweibacher
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The Mets will turn to 10-game winner R.A. Dickey this week as the knuckleballer is slated to make a pair of starts against the Orioles and Yankees.
Last week, Dickey set a Mets record for consecutive scoreless innings; 32 2/3, surpassing Jerry Koosman’s 31 and 2/3 streak from 1973. The knuckleballer struck out 12 batters and allowed just one hit and no walks.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the second complete-game one-hitter in Mets history in which the pitcher walked no one and had 10 or more strikeouts. The other was Tom Seaver’s “imperfect game” on July 9, 1969, in which the only hit was by Jimmy Qualls with one out in the ninth inning; Seaver struck out 11.
Dickey faced just 29 Rays hitters in the one-hitter, two over the minimum 27. There have only been nine games in club history in which a Mets pitcher faced 28 batters in a complete-game victory:
•8/26/11 Chris Capuano 6-0 vs. Atl
•6/10/10 Jon Niese 3-0 vs. SD
•4/26/02 Shawn Estes 1-0 vs. Mil
•7/2/87 Terry Leach 5-0 at Cin
•9/1/76 Jerry Koosman 1-0 vs. SF
•7/10/73 Jon Matlack 1-0 vs. Hou
•9/26/71 Tom Seaver 3-1 vs. Pit
•7/9/69 Tom Seaver 4-0 vs. Chi
•4/24/63 Carl Wiley 2-0 at Chi
Dickey has not allowed an earned run in any of his last four starts, while pitching at least seven innings and striking out eight or more batters in each game. According to Elias, since the mound was lowered in 1969, the only other pitcher to have a four-game streak like that (seven or more innings, no earned runs, eight or more strikeouts) was Pedro Martinez in the summer of 2002.
Dickey now has 58 strikeouts and four walks in his last six starts. Elias also tells us that since 1900, only three other pitchers have had that many strikeouts and so few walks in a six-game span: Johan Santana (2004), Curt Schilling (2002) and Pedro Martinez (2000).
The Mets complete their homestand this week with a pair of interleague series matchups with the Orioles and Yankees. This will be the first trip to Citi Field for Baltimore. The O’s last visit to Flushing was back in 2006 when they took two of three from the Mets at Shea Stadium. The Mets have gone 16 and 9 all-time against the Orioles in interleague play, winning five of the eight games played at Shea.
The Yankees come to Citi Field this weekend for the Queens portion of the Subway Series.
The Mets have fared well in interleague play against the American League teams other than their crosstown rivals:
•Mets vs. Yankees: 35-52 .402
•Mets vs. rest of AL: 96-73 .568
The Yanks’ sweep of the Mets earlier this month was just the sixth by either club against the other in the 29 series the two New York teams have played, dating back to 1997:
•2003 Yankees 3-0 at NYY, Yankees 3-0 at NYM*
•2004 Mets 3-0 at NYM
•2008 Mets 3-0 at NYY*
•2009 Yankees 3-0 at NYM
•2012 Yankees 3-0 at NYY
(*-sweep included make-up for rained out game)
The Yankees’ 5-4 win over the Mets in the final game of the series in the Bronx ended the Yanks’ 10-game streak of games holding the Mets to three or fewer runs. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the Yankees’ longest streak of that kind against any major-league team since a 10-game streak against the Indians over the 1971 and 1972 seasons.
Russell Martin’s second home run in the series finale was a walk-off shot that gave the Yankees a 5-4 win over the Mets and took Rafael Soriano off the hook after his first blown save of the season. Soriano had been 9-for-9 in save chances this season before allowing the Mets to tie that game. Elias tells us that it was the longest streak of consecutive converted save opportunities to begin a season by a Yankees pitcher other than Mariano Rivera since 1989, when one-time New York Met
Lee Guetterman notched 13 saves in his first 13 tries (including nine saves of more than one inning).
Schwei’s Runs, Hits and Errors:
Runs: R.A. Dickey. Knuckleballer is the second Mets pitcher to be the first in the major leagues to reach 10 wins, joining Tom Glavine, who did it in 2006.
Hits: Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Mets rookie homered twice in the Mets’ 9-6 win that completed the sweep vs. Tampa Bay. Elias says he is the third rookie in Mets history to have a two-homer game from the first slot in the batting order joining Gregg Jefferies (1989) and Jose Reyes (2003).
Errors: Home Woes. Mets begin week having lost four straight games at Citi Field going back to the end of the last homestand, their longest home losing streak since dropping six straight at Citi Field last September.
Your thoughts on how the Mets will fare this week? Sound off in the comments below…