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.
Natspos delenda est.
Two JC’ds in one week…
@44 from last thread looks like a ranking of prospects who compiled the best stats in 2017, not a ranking of the actual best prospects.
Also from the previous thread:
It’s tough with Julio. So if you asked who had the highest floor? Yeah, I’d say Julio is about as likely as anyone to turn in a 2-3 fWAR season next year.
That seems right. No one’s more likely to throw 200 innings, and they’ll be mostly quality innings.
But if you also asked who gives you the most confidence to put in a 5 fWAR season next year or the year after? I’d go with Julio.
If Julio is the pitcher who gives you the most confidence he’ll accrue 5 WAR in a season, then that really doesn’t speak well of our other pitchers. His best seasons — full seasons, pitching 220 and 190 innings — have been 3 WAR seasons. Where is he going to get those next two wins from? Sometimes a Charlie Morton learns to throw harder and generate more Ks, but that’s not something you can count on happening. His velocity decline over his career thus far fits with expectations. So, is Teheran going to learn Cliff Lee-esque command? Because that’s what he’ll need with his skill set to get to 5 WAR. And the story there doesn’t look promising either. Again, the high water mark of his command gets him to 3 WAR. We’re in a low-water-mark season right now.
You may not think highly of his stuff, and that’s fine. That’s why I said his pitching style has proven it can be elite. Two top-25 fWAR finishes age-25 or younger? That’s someone with a very high ceiling, or someone who peaked exceptionally early.
A 2-3 WAR pitcher is a great thing to have, and especially at 1-2 WAR prices. Teheran is an asset to this team. But 5 WAR is a lot of WAR. Teheran is plenty good, and yet it’s hard to see how he improves, given the range of performance we’ve seen.
His most similar pitcher is Jose Quintana, who has a different repertoire (replace the slider with a curve) and better command with similar stuff. That’s the best case scenario. There you go, a 4-5 WAR pitcher.
Thank you, ‘rissa. Hope you get your Natspo fail.
Newcomb’s last start of the year: 44 pitches through 3 innings. Pretty good for him. Keep it up, kiddo.
Such a Newcombesque start.
Control may be an issue for Newcomb. Defense is not Dansby’s strong suit, but neither is hitting. On a positive note, Ozzie Albies is good.
JC’ed as well:
You’re on the “he peaked early” train.
Quintana put in a 4.6 fWAR season last year. Kluber, Cueto, and Porcello put in 5 fWAR seasons last year. If my confidence had to be placed more so in Teheran taking a step forward, Newcomb and Folty finally finding some semblance of command, Dickey doing something he’s never done, and Gohara having one of the best rookie seasons ever, I’d probably choose Teheran to put in a 5 fWAR season. That’s the way I’m thinking there.
I think you’ve listed plenty of reasons why he can’t, and I agree with all of those, but for better or worse (and to your point, more for the worse), he’s probably the best pitcher to predict an elite season out of. That’s not saying much at all, but I’m highlighting that he’s still a pitcher who could move from being a top-25 pitcher to a top-10 pitcher, which is where a 5 fWAR season would put him. We’re talking ceiling here; I recognize it’s very unlikely.
I don’t care if JJ’s runs were unearned. That dude needs shuttle launch conditions to get through a scoreless innings. Get that guy to the offseason without breaking stuff on the way out.
Don’t look now, but Gohara may end the season around 1 WAR. We may have our own Sabathia here. My money’s on him in 2019.
That was one ugly game.