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NY Player Of The Week: Jon Niese

Jon Niese
Jon Niese

The Mets and Yankees went a combined 10-2 last week against the Orioles, Padres and Astros. The Mets may not be able to win on the road, but they can win in Baltimore, where everybody wins -- except for the Orioles. But looking on the bright side, the O's can chow down at Boog Powell's BBQ behind the right field wall 81 days out of the year. While the Yankees' strong week pushed them into a tie for first place. Robinson Cano started out on fire (seven for 11 in Baltimore), Jose Reyes had his best week of the season, Jorge Posada smashed two grand slams, but nothing topped Jon Niese's performance in Thursday's game, which earns him the Player of the Week.

Winner

Jon Niese: Gary Cohen often likes to remind us that Niese was born on the day the Mets won the World Series in 1986, which makes him born to be a Met. Which is also why he was born to throw a one-hitter instead of a no-hitter. Not having a no-no in franchise history is one of the flukiest stats around. Niese was one Chris Denorfia double away from a perfect game (of course if Niese had gotten Denorfia out, who knows how the rest of the game would have gone). Just having a Met throw a complete game is an accomplishment in and of itself these days. But Niese's game was no fluke, as he was obviously dominant, with pinpoint control.

Here are some other notable one-hitters that occurred in Mets history (there have been 34 in all, 26 complete-gamers).

  • Al Jackson twirled the first one in team history, on June 22, 1962, against the Houston Colt .45s. Joey Amalfitano got the only hit. Jackson also threw the first shutout in Mets history.
  • Tom Seaver threw five one-hitters in his time with the Mets, losing two with one out in the ninth inning. The most famous one occurred on July 9, 1969, when Cub Jimmy Qualls flailed a single to left spoiling The Franchise's perfect game, and the other took place on July 4, 1972, and this time it was Padre Leron Lee (Derrek Lee's uncle) who broke up Seaver's attempt at immortality (OK, he's already achieved immortality -- he's Tom Seaver).
  • The closest Nolan Ryan came to a no-hitter with the Mets was his one-hitter on April 18, 1970 vs. the Phillies.
  • Dwight Gooden tossed a controversial one-hitter in his rookie season, with the only hit coming from the Cubs' Keith Moreland, who hit a slow roller to Ray Knight, who double-clutched and then never threw to first base, in what could have been scored an error.
  • And, of course, Bobby Jones won the deciding game in the 2000 playoff series with the Giants when he tossed a one-hitter.

Runners Up & Other Notables

Robinson Cano: MVP! MVP! MVP! OK, OK, I'll calm down. After batting .454 last week, to go along with nine runs scored, a home run and four RBI, Cano leads the majors with an astounding .371 average. With all the slumps and ups and downs of his teammates, the smooth second baseman has not only been consistent, but he's been consistently brilliant all year long.

Jose Reyes & David Wright: The two linchpins of the Mets started to turn it on last week. Reyes turned 27 on Friday and celebrated by hitting .480 this week, with two long balls. He hit his 15th career lead-off home run, which extends his own franchise record (Tommie Agee and Lenny Dykstra are second with eight). The Mets called in a "third baseman whisperer" to help Wright get his game back on track, and it worked like a charm. He batted .347, with two home runs, eight RBI and three doubles for the week. And he's only struck out five times in his last nine games.

Mark Teixeira: The slumping first baseman may have finally woken up. He banged out a hit in every game last week, batted .391, hit a home run and drove in three. It's a start.

R.A. Dickey: The knuckleballer, who's a dead ringer for one of the Larry, Darryl and Darryl brothers -- I'm just not sure which one it is -- won his fourth game of the year for the Mets on Friday night. He's the fourth pitcher in team history to go 4-0 in his first five starts with the Mets (Ray Sadecki, Harry Parker and Terry Leach are the other three). He went seven innings, only allowing one run (lowering his ERA to 2.78), and his eight strikeouts were a career high, but just about everything he does these days is a career high. Besides having his knuckler baffle Orioles hitters (and Rod Barajas, who deserves to be on this list just for trying to catch that darn thing), after every pitch, he's in perfect fielding position, ready to pounce on any ball hit his way. But since it takes about five minutes for one of his pitches to reach home plate, what else is he going to do with his time?

Milestones: Chris Carter lofted his first career home run on Friday, which was the big blast of the night for the Metsies (and then he hit another three-run bomb yesterday). Jorge Posada hit his 250th career dinger on Saturday afternoon, and he did it in style, with a grand slam (and then he hit another one yesterday, which is the first time a Yankee has accomplished that feat since Bill Dickey did it in 1937). Andy Pettitte won his 200th game for the Yanks, making him the third pitcher in franchise history to do so (Whitey Ford won 236, while Red Ruffing recorded 231 victories). Cano's homer yesterday was the 100th of his career. Jesus Feliciano notched his first major league hit after spending the past 47 years in the minors. And Ike Davis stole his first career base, and oh yeah, he also blasted a walk-off homer last week.

World Cup Tribute: In honor of the World Cup, where every game is a 1-1 tie, here's a list of local starting pitchers who only allowed one run during the week: Dickey, Mike Pelfrey, Hisanori Takahashi and we'll even throw in Pettitte and CC Sabathia, who only let in two runs in their starts - that's still World Cup worthy.

Matt Harvey and Cito Culver: The Mets' and Yankees' first-round draft picks get a shout-out in this week's Player of the Week. Now don't let us down, guys. Millions of New Yorkers are watching. No pressure.

For more in-depth discussion on the Yankees, go to SB Nation's Pinstripe Alley, and for Mets news, analysis and, yes, even poetry, check out Amazin' Avenue.