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NY Player Of The Week: R.A. Dickey

Frankie Rodriguez's inappropriate rage against the grandfather of his children (in the team's "family room" no less) followed by his short emotionless apology overshadowed everything this week. And every day, more details are coming out: After slugging the older man, K-Rod made an expletive-filled announcement over the P.A., grabbed a couple of beers, activated Citi Field's inflatable slide and away he went, before being arrested by the police. As the team was disgracing itself off the field, as for the actual games, the Mets beat the Rockies, two out of three, but lost their series to the Phils. One thing the 2010 Mets can do is throw shutouts, picking up their league-leading 16th, 17th and 18th of the year this week. Unfortunately, with their offense that's the only way they can win. Meanwhile, the staid, boring Yankees (who thought anybody would ever say that about them?) tried to recover from a series loss to Toronto and split with Boston, but they just couldn't manage a series win, splitting a two-gamer in Texas and a four-game set with KC. Now on to the Player of the Week.


R.A. Dickey: What does it say about the Mets that their best team leader is a 35-year-old journeyman knuckleballer? What does it say about Dickey? On a team that lacks just about everything, the unsinkable folk hero competes every time out on the mound, talks about competing and leads by example by competing. If only the rest of the team had his cojones. Dickey has more guts, fire and tenacity than Jonathan E. when he sticks it to John Houseman at the end of Rollerball. He followed up his worst start with his best, throwing a complete-game, one-hit shutout on Friday. And he made dominating the Phillies look so easy, too (that's the fifth time the Mets have shut out the Phils this year, by the way). That stellar outing upped his record to 8-5, with a 2.43 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. Is the Dickey story still unbelievable or is he actually for real now? All of a sudden, Santana, Dickey and Jon Niese look like a pretty good one-two-three combination (well, at least this week they did). In the games that K-Rod missed, the Mets received two nine-inning whitewashes from their starters. Who needs the deadbeat?

Runners Up

Jon Niese: I'll just cut and paste what I wrote last week about Niese: "The Mets' young lefty pitched seven innings on [Wednesday], striking out seven and only allowing one run, and what did he get for his effort? A no decision, as the bullpen imploded, exploded, went up in flames, crashed, burned, melted and flamed-broiled the game to a charred, well-done crisp." The only difference was there were more fisticuffs after this week's game.

Johan Santana/CC Sabathia: I could easily just write the same as I did last week for these two aces also. Santana blocked out the madness that is the Mets' world these days (some of it due to him, by the way), and threw a complete-game, four-hit shutout, striking out 10, on Thursday. Since July 1, he's 5-1, with a 1.88 ERA. Sabathia didn't have to worry about any shenanigans going on around his team, as he only had to take the mound and concentrate on pitching. And he not only pitched, but was brilliant, as he battled the Midwest heat and humidity, going 8 2/3 innings, while allowing three runs (two scored after he left the game, though). His heart is as large as his baggy pants. For the year, he's 15-5, with a 3.14 ERA.

Marcus Thames/Austin Kearns: The Yankees' spare/platooning outfielders had quite a week for themselves. Thames was the hero in Wednesday's big win against the Rangers. He went three for five, bashed a homer, scored two runs, drove in two and knocked in the game-winner to complete the dramatic comeback victory. He also notched two hits in Tuesday's game. As for Kearns, he's faring much better than his fellow trade-deadline newcomer, Lance Berkman. For the week, Kearns batted .437, with a home run, a double and scored three runs.

Yankees Bullpen: The only blemish from the Bombers' relievers was a rare dud by Mariano Rivera when he lost Tuesday's game. Kerry Wood (three and 2/3 innings), Boone Logan (one and 2/3 innings), Joba Chamberlain (three innings), Sergio Mitre (two and 2/3 innings), Chad Gaudin (one and 2/3 innings) and David Robertson (two and 2/3 innings, two inherited runners scored) all had scoreless outings in each game they appeared this week.

Alex Rodriguez: The controversial third baseman had a nice week all rolled into one game. For the fourth time in his career he belted three home runs in a single game (and has 56 multiple home-run games), and he also drove in five and added a single on Saturday. With all the pressure of getting to 600 homers off his PED-enhanced shoulders, the long ball is coming nice and easy for him now. For the week, he batted .300, hit four bombs and drove in nine. He now leads the majors in RBIs, with 97.

Phil Hughes/Mike Pelfrey: Remember when these two guys were finally having their breakout seasons? That seems like a long time ago. Hughes hadn't fallen as far as Pelfrey, but he's struggled since his hot start. He had two strong starts this week, though, going 1-1 and lasting six innings in each, giving up only a total of five runs. On Tuesday, Pelfrey had a bounce-back start, working quickly, attacking hitters with his sinker/fastball, foregoing the splitter and keeping the insane hand-licking to a minimum. He pitched seven shutout innings, and picked up his first win since June 25. On Sunday, he had a respectable seven-inning, three-run outing, but was a tough-luck loser.

A.J. Burnett: It was a rough week for the struggling Burnett, who actually pitched well in his two starts, but got a loss and no-decision to show for it. He went seven innings on Tuesday, letting in three runs, only to see his team lose in extra innings. And yesterday he was spectacular, going eight innings and only allowing one run. The offense was no help to him, though, as he suffered the loss.

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.