R.A. Dickey looks like he is screaming when he throws a pitch. This sort of makes me wonder how much effort actually goes into throwing a knuckleball.
It is really one of the more intriguing things about the sport based on the fact that the pitch does not need to be hurled with velocity to be effective. Dickey learned the craft from noted cigarette enthusiast/baseball pitcher Charlie Hough. This would leave one to believe that R.A. would emulate the looping 50 MPH junk and constant stream of Tareyton smoke emanating from from the respective right arm and mouth of Hough.
Dickey throws the pitch considerably harder than most other knuckleballers (the pitch approaches 80 MPH at times), often looking more like Joe Niekro than the soft tossing Hough. Knuckleball history aside, Dickey has made the Phillies look absolutely ridiculous at times. Remember that one time that he one hit the Phillies with the opposing pitcher notching the only hit? Me too. That did not happen today.
The Philadelphia offense got to Dickey in the bottom of the second inning using two singles and a walk to load the bases for tonight’s best offensive player……John Mayberry Jr. He responded with a two run, opposite field single. Mayberry is making his case to stay in the majors by racking up nine RBI in his last two games. We all know that this type of success is unsustainable for the big right hander, but his defense and the fact that this type of hot streak is possible makes him a more desirable member of the roster than the defensively challenged, .230 hitting Ben Francisco. The Phillies tacked on another run in the second with an RBI groundout from starting pitcher Vance Worley and Raul Ibanez added another run with a solo home run in the top of the sixth inning finishing Dickey’s line (seven innings, six hits, four runs).
Vance Worley continued to win since his demotion to triple A earlier this season, winning tonight and raising his record to 5-1. Despite a high pitch count (105 to be exact), Worley held the Mets at bay through his five 1/3 innings of work. Worley was not especially sharp, but he made quality pitches when he needed to and escaped from trouble throughout the game. The fact that Jose Reyes, David Wright and Ike Davis were absent from the line-up gives the Mets a dearth of quality hitters and makes the pitchers job considerably easier. That being said, Worley induced the best hitter in the line-up into a double play getting Carlos Beltran to hit a comebacker to the mound to start a 1-6-3 twin killing ending a threat in the bottom of the third. Overall, Worley was serviceable and he even drove in a run.
The Mets lone run came on a solo home run from Carlos Beltran. Michael Stutes had a rough bottom of the eighth, but managed to wiggle free of a bit inning, allowing only the homer to Beltran.
Raul Ibanez made a diving catch and went 2-4 with a home run, John Mayberry Jr. was 2-4 with five RBI and Carlos Ruiz went 2-4 with two runs scored. Ryan Madson made his return from the disabled list and struck out two in his inning of work. When the bottom of the Phillies line-up can hit the ball, the offense really has the chance to pummel the crap out of people. I believe that John Mayberry collecting five RBI would qualify as a pummeling. Nice 7-1 wind from the Phils.
Tomorrow, Cole Hamels goes for his twelfth win tomorrow as he is opposed by fellow left hander Jon Niese.