Mets Home Opener: R.A. Dickey Struggles With Command As Mets Fall To Nationals, 6-2

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Mets Home Opener: R.A. Dickey Struggles With Command As Mets Fall To Nationals, 6-2

The Florida Marlins spoiled the New York Mets home opener, winning 6-2, and a similar storyline from early on this season contributed to the Amazin's loss, yet again: starting pitching not giving enough quality innings and a failure to get a base knock with runners in scoring position. R.A. Dickey lasted five innings, while throwing 97 pitches (53 for strikes) and Mets hitters went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

Early on it was obvious that Dickey didn't have the command of his knuckleball and that's what set him back today. The first inning was clean, then the second inning began with two flyouts, but a single and two straight walks brought up the opposing pitcher, Jordan ZImmerman, and he  plated two runners as he singled to right. Altogether, Dickey walked five in the outing and allowed six hits and three earned runs. The Mets got a run back in the fourth inning on a sacrifice fly by Ike Davis, but Dickey allowed three straight hits and walked the bases loaded in the fifth before getting a double play, and left with a 3-1 deficit.

Lucas Duda pinch hit in the bottom of the fifth for R.A. Dickey and doubled home Josh Thole, but that was really the only offense the rest of the game for New York. The fifth inning was the only one in which the Mets tacked together more than one hit in an inning (two). Zimmerman finished with a line of a 5 1/3 innings, six hits and two earned runs and four strikeouts. The rest of the bullpen put up zeros against the Mets, allowing just one more hit the rest of the way.

Tim Byrdak and Bobby Parnell struggled in their appearances. Byrdak allowed two runs and was only able to get one out, while Parnell allowed a run of his own in two-thirds of an inning. Altogether, Mets pitchers issued nine walks.

It's only seven games into the season so a 3-4 record can't really be a cause of concern but the fact that Mets starters have gone just 11 innings over the past three starts is very worrisome. Starting pitching is everything in the major leagues and the Mets have had to go to the bullpen far too early over the past few games.

Final - 4.8.2011 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Washington Nationals 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 3 0 6 9 0
New York Mets 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 7 1
WP: Jordan Zimmermann (1 - 1)
LP: R.A. Dickey (1 - 1)

Complete Coverage >


Mets Home Opener: Mets Need A Strong Start From R.A. Dickey Against Nationals

The New York Mets (3-3) play their home opener against the Washington Nationals (2-4) this afternoon at 4:10 p.m. EST (SNY), coming off two depressing losses in which their starting pitchers threw a combined six innings, total. Ralph Kiner will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

R.A. Dickey receives the honor -- and rightfully so -- of starting the first game of the 2011 at home, and he'll be opposed by Jordan Zimmerman, a youngster with the most promising arm on the staff (without Stephen Strasburg around).

The Mets had won three straight games before this mini two-game losing streak, and Dickey had the best outing during the streak, tossing six innings, allowing an unearned run and striking out seven against the Marlins. Zimmerman made seven starts last year after undergoing Tommy John surgery and received a loss after going six innings, while allowing two earned runs with two strikeouts against the Braves in his lone start.

Early this season, the winning formula for the Mets is simple: the starting pitchers keep the team in games to let the bats come alive, as they've shown that they have the hitting to compete. While the Mets did mount a seven-run comeback to tie the Phillies on Wednesday, when your set back six runs by the starting pitcher, it makes it that much harder to win -- especially when its a staff like the Phillies'. Against the Nationals the circumstances are much different as no pitcher besides Zimmerman will be overpowering and the quality of their starters are not near Philadelphia's. And besides Ryan Zimmerman and Jason Werth, there are no true "can't let them beat me" hitters on this team.

The Amazin's need a series win at home, especially against an opponent like the Nationals. Even in a disappointing 2010 season, Citi Field was kind to the Mets: 47-34 and they'll need those confines to be as friendly to them this season.

Current Series

3 game series vs Nationals @ Citi Field

Washington Nationals
@ New York Mets

Friday, Apr 8, 2011, 4:10 PM EDT
Citi Field

Jordan Zimmermann vs R.A. Dickey

Partly cloudy. Winds blowing in from center field at 5-10 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 55.


Complete Coverage >

Sat 04/09 7:10 PM EDT
Sun 04/10 1:10 PM EDT

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