R.A. Dickey (8-5) beat the Phillies and gave the Mets their first back-to-back wins since June. In notching the one-hitter, Dickey accomplished what has been done 25 times previously by Mets pitchers. All who came before him stood close to that brush with immortality, but Dickey was more than happy to take the game the way it went last night.
Speaking on SNY after the game, Dickey was humble about the whole experience. When asked about the one hit of the game, a blooped single into right field by pitcher Cole Hamels (7-9), Dickey said, “And tonight, I am so thankful. It was a real gift. It was an outing where I didn’t have a regret.” He had thrown a knuckleball to Hamels, but he hit it, and Dickey indicated that is the nature of things.
After that sixth inning single, Dickey got back to work retiring the Phillies hitters. This one-hitter is all the more satisfying because it comes against a lineup like the Phillies have, and in the minds of at least some of the players and the fans at Citi Field on Friday night, the Mets are still in the hunt in the National League East.
This second straight shutout – Johan Santana won 4-0 over the Rockies the day before – made it unnecessary to worry about the absence of Francisco Rodriguez, the Mets closer who was suspended for two games for fighting with his girlfriend’s father on Wednesday after the Mets’ dreadful 6-2 loss to the Rockies. Manager Jerry Manuel seemed happy to not have to think about who would have closed the game under different circumstances. He said of Santana and Dickey, “For those guys to take it upon themselves as starters to start and complete the game was huge for us.”
It is undeniable that after the week of turmoil with Santana being accused of rape and K-Rod being arrested for assault, the Mets needed the peace that only winning can bring to the clubhouse. Those troubling things still exist in the periphery of their minds, but winning, especially over the Phillies, does heal things faster than anything else.
Now the Mets have to worry about the games yet to come, but for a brief moment on Friday night at Citi Field, there was a kind of hush over the crowd, a sensation that they were witnessing a great moment in Mets history. Even though it was not to be a no-hitter, it was an immeasurably significant win for a team that needed another win more than anything.
Will R.A. Dickey be the man to eventually get the Mets’ first no-hitter? Judging from last night’s masterful performance, he may be just the guy to do it. Until then, the Mets and their fans finally have something to smile about.