For the first 6+ innings of this game, it was the RA Dickey show (with Ender Inciarte picking up his 200th hit on the season for good measure). The Braves offense failed on beat up on Rafael Montero as much as they usually do, but Dickey‘s knuckleball was fluttering and keeping the Mets off balance. After giving up a couple of hits early in the game, Dickey retired 13 straight Mets hitters and gave every indication that the three runs the Braves had scored would be more than enough. There is speculation over whether or not Dickey will retire at the end of this year, and if that was his last MLB game, he was on his way to going out in style. His evening had shades of the 2012 Dickey, who had dominated the league on the way to picking up the Cy Young Award. The Mets could hardly make contact at all, while on the offensive side Dickey had picked up two sacrifice bunts and a single. His low pitch count offered a tantalizing opportunity for a complete game. The evening was shaping up to be a magical night in Flushing, one that movies are made of.
Then the 7th inning happened. Dickey retired his 13th-straight batter, then gave up a single and home run. Suddenly, the Mets had pulled within one run, and still had 8 outs left to play with. Dickey recovered to get the second out of the inning, but a triple to the next batter prompted a visit to the mound, and just like that, Dickey was out of the game. Dan Winkler relived him and got out of the inning with the lead in tact. A one-run lead, however, banished all of the happy feelings that had just been present three outs ago.
Try as they could, the Braves offense could not extend the lead any more. Sam Freeman gave up the tying run in the 8th, and the writing was on the wall. A.J. Minter came in to pitch the 9th, and could only record one out before giving up the game-winning hit. What started out as a magical evening ended with Cinderella’s coach turning back into a pumpkin, and her fancy gown becoming rags once more. This is why we can’t have nice things.
Someone mentioned this a week or two ago, but I thought it worth revisiting. It always felt to me like the Braves offense would stink it up after facing a knucklerballer; batters would be off stride and their timing would be thrown off. I can remember always groaning whenever I would see the Braves were facing Dickey or one of his kind, because I would mentally write off the Braves winning for the next few days. Why have we not seen the opposite of this this year, now that Dickey is pitching for the Braves? I can’t recall seeing an opposing team this season having a poor offense showing, where batters look so thrown off after watching soft tosses they day before. You would think his presence in the rotation would help boost the numbers of the guy who throws after him, but I don’t think there has been any sort of impact at all. Life is not fair.
Well, that’s a wrap for me for the 2017 season. Let’s do it again next year, only this time with a few more victories, perhaps?
I will now turn my attention to watching the annual Nationals postseason collapse. I am rooting for a three-games-and-out experience for them. I’d be content if they were to simply forfeit (maybe unhappy with the fact that they can’t host a beautiful-weather delay on the big stage?), or if the league disqualified them for any or all reasons. A girl can hope.