Final Score: Reds 6, Mets 1
Player of the Game: Mike Baxter 2-for-4, R
Goat of the Game: The umpiring crew
Tonight, the night belonged to Mike Leake. Leake shut down the Met offense the entire game, holding them to just one run on four hits. It was his second career complete game.
Leake is a guy who doesn’t have great stuff, so his strategy is to try to get ahead of the hitter early by throwing first-pitch strikes. Opposing batters are hitting over .400 on the first pitch against him this season. However, the Mets continued to take pitches as they always have this season, and fell behind in the count often. Leake threw first pitch strikes to 22 of 30 hitters. The Mets took 17 of those and only put one first pitch in play against Leake. It was fastball, fastball, fastball almost every at-bat and the Mets failed to take advantage.
On the other side, R.A. Dickey was smacked around by the Reds offense. He got very frustrated early in the game when he was asked to cut off a bracelet his kids had made for him before climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. The bracelet clearly meant a lot to Dickey and he was furious with the umpiring crew after being forced to take it off. It may sound ridiculous, but that may have been a distraction for the rest of the game for Dickey. In his post-game interview, Terry Collins said he thought it affected Dickey.
The Reds pulled ahead in the bottom of the fourth, breaking a 1-1 tie with back-to-back homers by Todd Frazier and Scott Rolen. Then in the sixth, he gave up another home run – this one to Jay Bruce – to make the score 4-0. Mike Leake finished off the inning with an RBI-single off Dickey. With a four-run lead and a bullpen as good as the Reds’ the game was virtually over.
- Dickey wasn’t very effective. His final line was: 6 IP, 10 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 9 K, 100 pitches (70 strikes). His knuckleball was off today and in a ballpark like Cincinnati’s, when you’re off, balls leave the yard. That’s what happened tonight. Dickey hadn’t given up more than one home run since April 18 against Atlanta. He gave up three tonight.
- The offense was just awful again tonight. Ruben Tejada and Mike Baxter were each 2-for-4, but the rest of the offense was held hitless. David Wright was 0-for-3, dropping his average to .321.
- Jeremy Hefner, who will re-join the starting rotation on Sunday, gave the bullpen some rest today, pitching two innings. He’s not the flashiest pitcher and he’s not exactly a big name, but he has been useful for this team so far, in situations like these and also when Terry Collins needs a spot starter.