Tag Archive | "Tim Lincecum"

Playing The Name Game: Spring Training Edition

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Playing The Name Game: Spring Training Edition

Posted on 11 March 2013 by Chris Caylor

This is the first of a two-part spring training edition of Playing the Name Game. This article is targeted at those owners whose drafts (or auctions) haven’t yet taken place. Most of my drafts/auctions have not occurred, which is unusual, based on the comments of several fantasy baseball writers I read and respect. Now, I happen to play in AL-only and NL-only leagues, as I find those leagues more challenging than typical mixed leagues.

NameGame

Regardless of whether the format is draft or auction, fantasy baseball league winners are usually the owners who get the most bang for their buck. Owners who drafted Mike Trout in the mid-to-late rounds, or spent his/her money on R.A. Dickey instead of Tim Lincecum, probably enjoyed finishing in the money in their leagues last year.

The goal of these articles is to identify players who might similarly boost your team in 2013. Let’s jump right in.

First Base

Player A: .299/.344/.463, 18 HR, 108 RBI, 116 OPS+
Player B: .227/.308/.462, 32 HR, 90 RBI, 110 OPS+

Player A is the Dodgers’ Adrian Gonzalez. Player B is Ike Davis of the Mets. Gonzalez has superior talent around him, but his home run totals have dropped each of the past three seasons. At 25, Davis is five years younger and smacked 20 home runs in his final 75 games in 2012. The difference in average draft position, though, is what really struck me: Gonzalez is going in the 3rd-4th round, while Davis is going between rounds 12-16. Why draft A-Gon when you can fortify your middle infield and outfield in the early rounds and get plenty of power from a guy like Davis (or Paul Goldschmidt) later?

Speaking of middle infield:

Second base

Player A: .290/.347/.449, 15 HR, 65 RBI, 20 SB, 112 OPS+
Player B: .257/.335/.379, 14 HR, 76 RBI, 31 SB, 103 OPS+

Player A is Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox. Player B is Jason Kipnis of the Indians. Personally, I consider Pedroia one of the most overrated players in baseball. The way he runs his mouth, you’d think he was better than the Yankees’ Robinson Cano. But the numbers prove otherwise. Kipnis, meanwhile, will turn 26 shortly after Opening Day and plays for a team that added Michael Bourn and Nick Swisher to its 2013 lineup. True, Kipnis did tail off drastically in the second half of 2012 after a terrific first three months. But the power is developing to complement his 30-steal speed. In ESPN leagues, Kipnis is coming off the board two rounds after Pedroia. That equals two rounds where you can load up on big-time outfielders or an elite shortstop instead. I’m buying.

Shortstop

Player A: .287/.360/.486, 8 HR, 27 RBI, 2 SB, 111 OPS+
Player B: .292/.335/.511, 25 HR, 73 RBI, 21 SB, 126 OPS+

Player A is Troy Tulowitzki of the Rockies. Player B is Ian Desmond of the Nationals. Last year was supposed to be The Big Year for Tulo, as he was entering his age 27 season and coming off three consecutive seasons where he compiled an OPS+ north of 130. Instead, Tulo only played 47 games and missed the final four months of the 2012 season. Entering his seventh season, Tulowitzki has played in 140+ games just three times. When healthy, he is the best shortstop in either league. Unfortunately, that’s become a huge gamble for fantasy owners due to the multiple leg injuries. Desmond is entering his own age 27 season and put up his 2012 stat line despite missing about a month with a dreaded oblique injury, so his numbers could have been even better. Oblique injuries don’t seem to recur with the same frequency as leg injuries. Tulo has the edge in power, but Desmond has better speed, which is more difficult to come by.

Third Base

Player A: .306/.391/.492, 21 HR, 93 RBI, 15 SB, 143 OPS+
Player B: .244/.317/.476, 30 HR, 85 RBI, 1 SB, 117 OPS+

Player A is the Mets’ David Wright. Player B is Pedro Alvarez of the Pirates. Here’s an interesting stat: in 2009 and 2011, Wright combined for just 24 home runs. In 2010 and 2012, Wright smacked a combined 50 home runs. Which Wright will it be in 2013? Will the moved-in fences at Citi Field boost his power numbers, or are the 30-homer days gone for the six-time All-Star? It strikes me as an expensive gamble, given his average draft position in the 1st-2nd round. Meanwhile, in 2012, Alvarez found the power stroke that tantalized the Pirates into making him the #2 overall pick in 2008. Like all Pittsburgh hitters, he tailed off in the second half of the season, but his 53-point jump in batting average (and 178-point jump in slugging) shows that Alvarez has figured some things out at the plate. It looks like the Buccos have finally found their cleanup hitter to protect Andrew McCutchen. And at less than half of Wright’s average auction value, Alvarez should be a major-league bargain for fantasy owners.

Catcher

Player A: .319/.416/.446, 10 HR, 85 RBI, 8 SB, 81 R, 141 OPS+
Player B: .301/.328/.471, 11 HR, 39 RBI, 0 SB, 38 R, 117 OPS+

Player A is the Twins’ Joe Mauer. Player B is Salvador Perez of the Royals. Mauer is now on the wrong side of 30, playing a position that is notoriously brutal on an athlete’s body. That said, Mauer bounced back nicely from a wretched 2011. Mauer is still an elite player, but he lands on this list because he is playing fewer and fewer games at catcher. While the Twins aim to preserve their big-money star, meet the new Joe Mauer: Sal Perez. The Royals’ 22-year-old backstop kept up his impressive contact rate after returning from a knee injury last year and looks like a future superstar at the position. Because he is buried in woeful Kansas City, he may slip a few rounds in your draft or auction. Perez’ 2013 projections are equal to or better than Mauer in every category except RBI. Don’t miss the boat on him.

You may have detected a trend is these five comparisons: I recommend younger, up-and-coming players as better bargains. That isn’t to say you should avoid any of the “bigger” names; only that you should be able to get similar production at a lower cost later in your draft/auction. If it works out, you allow yourself to acquire elite talent at a different position, while another owner might find himself reaching for a backup or platoon player to fill a roster spot.

These are only one man’s opinion. For what it’s worth, though, I did win my league in 2012.

Coming up In Part 2: pitchers and outfielders.

Follow me on Twitter: @ccaylor10.

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Ruth Gehrig hold

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Fantasy Baseball Stock Watch – Holds Reviewed

Posted on 06 September 2012 by Patrick Hayes

Ruth Gehrig hold

Well well, time is rapidly dwindling down in this 2012 year and we have reached the point where I review on my decisions to buy, sell or hold. This week I’ll gloss over all of the “holds” I issued. Since these, in theory, are the less sexy picks and less risky, might as well get them out of the way immediately. First, let us remember the blessed souls I decided to take an indecisive stance with:

Seems like an All-Start lineup for yesteryear, right?

I’ll now rank them in order of performance of falling in line with their “hold” designation. Not sure if this will makes sense, but hey, lets roll with it. One being a great hold (think Kate Upton), six being an awkward hold (think Oprah [?!])

  1. Yovanni Gallardo – He has been rock solid and should have been a buy candidate. Gallardo has assumed ace of the staff with Grienke gone and has posted a 6-1 record since my article posed on July 23. He had two bad outings with seven earned runs each, but bounced back nicely with  a minimum of seven innings pitched in all his wins. The consistency is still a hesitation from deeming him among the elite, maybe in 2013.
  2. Cliff Lee – This pick was pretty much a no-doubter. I mean come on, he had one win heading into my article post on August 13. Since then he notched two more wins vs zero losses with four quality starts. In these 28.1 IP he has struck out 31 and only walked two. Yup, definitely along the lines of his expectations on the year. Be glad to own him down the stretch.
  3. Tim Lincecum – Seems I completely rock the pitchers on this, huh? To be fair Lincecum only had one appearance since my post on August 27, but he was solid, to the tune of 6.1 IP, seven K’s and three walks. It is apparent that Tim still hasn’t completely rediscovered his CY Young caliber, but all signs point to a big sigh of relief. I’m still holding and waiting on him.
  4. Desmond Jennings – Following up his breakthrough 2011 year with shattered dreams. As of August 20 he was batting under .250 and was getting dropped all together in many formats. Since that article he has brought his average above .250 and is hitting .318 in the past 14 days with three homers and two stolen bases. The Rays are heating up as well (think Evan Longoria means anything to this team? Should he be in the MVP discussion?), and Desmond has been a benefit and not a liability along the way. Expect to see the Rays in the postseason (just have that feeling) and we will really see the type of player Jennings will be heading into 2013.
  5. Chase Utley – God bless your heart. You are still out there playing on fragmented knees and glimmers of the golden years. Yes, since August 6 you have had your ups and downs, but of late, it’s mostly down. August was a solid month, but your average on the year has gone down since I posted, but you have hit seven more homers and knocked in 23 (that’s a positive, right?!). You, more than any other, are what you are. Your name in a fantasy lineup still demands glance backs and some fear in opposing managers, however, that luster is almost off as well. Will an off-season of rest help your health? Time will only tell, and the Father is not on your side. (
  6. Justin Upton – You should have sold him when you had the chance this year. Prior to my post on July 16, Justin’s slash line was .264/.351/.393 and today it sits at .271/.350/.405. Still completely lacking sex appeal. The only hope for owners of the younger Upton is that this 2012 year is an outlier and Justin will bounce back in 2013 motivated and rejuvenated. Heck, I might even buy him off you for nickels on the dollar.

In review, I feel pretty good as to the players I picked. A few bounced back big time and some just disappointed. Current day, I would now buy two of them, keep holding two and sell two. What are your thoughts?

Reactions and opinions are always welcomed. Find me on twitter: @pf_hayes

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Tim Lincecum

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Fantasy Baseball Stock Watch – Come on down, Timmy!

Posted on 27 August 2012 by Patrick Hayes

It’s that time again. We are racing towards the end of August (HOLY CRAP) and some fantasy leagues have already started their playoffs. This edition will be the last one with a focus on the current year. Next week (depending on if I push one out for Labor day) I plan on writing with an eye on next year, with an emphasis for keeper leagues. I will also end the year with a recap of how my buy, sell and holds have played out. So that will be neat, eh?

Tim Lincecum – SP, San Francisco Giants

Tim Lincecum

#152 on ESPNs 5×5 Player Rater for SPs

I write this knowing that Lincecum is throwing live on ESPN right now, but I’m not watching (still no cable) so the results shouldn’t be factored into what I’m about to write. Any-who, Timmy has had quite the wild ride of a year. After seeing the wheels completely fall off the train in the first two months with an ERA well north of 5.00, he has regained some of his magic of late. Post All-Star break he has an ERA of 3.10.

So what has changed? Actually, a lot, and not for the better. He is walking more batters (3.5+ BB/9) and is striking out batters less (15.3% from his avg of 22-24%). However, he isn’t giving up the long ball as he was in the first half of the year (HR/FB of 6.3% in August, 17% in July). After seeing these numbers, and knowing that he is allowing a lot of base hits still (30 hits in last 29  2/3 IP), I am still holding him. Going in I was solid in buying, but I’ve just changed my mind. He isn’t a keeper for your team next year but he still can provide a boost for your championship run.

My verdict: Hold,  just like that pile of clothes you keep meaning to give to Goodwill.

Gio Gonzalez – SP, Washington Nationals

Gio Gonzalez

#13 on ESPNs 5×5 Player Rater for SPs

Gio Gonzalez started the 2012 year lights out for his new team in the National League. He is a great example of a steal in the draft for where you picked him up at (134 ADP). The first two months saw him have an ERA near 2.00 and fanning batters at a rate in 10+/9. The case could be made that these numbers, along with a BABIP of near .230, that the NL opponents simply haven’t had a chance to adjust to seeing Gio for their first time.

That isn’t the case anymore, hitters are becoming very comfortable with Gio now. His ERA during the early summer months ballooned to above 4.00, but have now regressed to near 3.oo-ish. It seems that the hitters got to Gio the 2nd time through and he as made adjustments to end up somewhere in the middle of the two extremes so far. The downside is that his K/9 rate has fallen to under 8.0 the past two months and his BABIP has rebounded to near the league average. He still is a solid play in all formats and should be inserted into your lineup with confidence, just know that the beginning of the year is a distant past and to have reasonable expectations.

Side note, Gio might have the most hilarious face when he releases the ball out of any pitcher I’ve seen.

My verdict: Selling! His value has maxed out and now is the best time to try and capitalize on it.

Brandon Morrow – SP, Toronto Blue Jays

Brandon Morrow

#51 on ESPNs 5×5 Player Rater for SPs

After a bit of time on the DL, @2morrow23 has only made one appearance, and it was a short one (struck out 7 in 4 2/3 IP). Sure he plays on a team that has been playing with half of its firepower, not to mention completely cemented in the basement of the AL East. That won’t stop me from pursuing him on my team though. When he is on, his K/9 is on the front page of the leaderboard of all MLB. His 2012 year has been a little step back as far as K’s go, but his ERA is sitting nicely at 3.06. He has simply stopped walking as many batters as he used to (2.73/9 down from 3.46/9 in 2011).

If he can remain healthy for the rest of the year he could be a real nice piece to have for your fantasy baseball stretch run. Although I don’t have him right now, I’m mentally placing him on  my targeted list of starting pitchers I like for next year. As far as acquiring him this year, work the health angle with the current owner. His upcoming slate of starts is somewhat favorable too – vs TB, @ BAL and vs SEA. Go and get him!

My verdict: Buy and stash under your bed just like that guitar you purchased but never play.

Reactions and opinions are always welcomed. Find me on twitter: @pf_hayes

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fake stats

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Starting Pitching Valuation (SPv) Leaderboard

Posted on 16 August 2012 by Dylan Cain

Loyal Full Spectrum Baseball readers may remember an article I wrote a while back about an innovative new stat, one I call Starting Pitcher Valuation (SPv).  For a brief introduction to the statistic for those who have not read the article, SPv is a stat that encompasses 1) the number of base runners a starting pitcher has allowed, 2) how many earned runs he’s allowed, 3) how many batters he strikes out as opposed to how few batters he walks 4) and how well he can lead his team to a victory.

I have taken all these stats and “blended” them together, creating a pitching stat that ranks starters (not relievers) on a scale of 100%-0%. This gives analytically-minded  fans like you the chance to see one stat that is “easy-to-digest” as opposed to reading a long line of the 10-15 most commonly used statistics.  I wrote this article in hopes of providing a weekly “leaderboard” of SPv and to also give my opinions and some notes about how they (starting pitchers) have done of late.  Here are your season-to-date SPv leaders (as of  August 12th). Enjoy!

1) Jered Weaver (84.87%)- The Angels’ ace has been dealing this year, even in an offensive powerhouse division like the AL West. He’s only lost one game this year and with the offensive production of the Halo’s lineup, he doesn’t seem to have that much pressure on him.  With guys like Mike Trout (.340 AVG) and Albert Pujols (Did you hear about his 24 homeruns?? Talk about coming back after a slow start…), any pitcher would feel relaxed on the hill.  His fastball isn’t Aroldis Chapman caliber but it’s enough to get the job done.

2) R.A. Dickey (81.19%)- The Tim Wakefield impersonator has looked slightly more human of late, with his ERA going up .74 points since his second consecutive one-hitter.  Remember, he still has the best SPv in the senior circut, meaning he is on track to have the best season a knuckleballer has ever had, statistically. His 15 wins are tied for the most in the the bigs, he still makes batters look silly, and he is still very likely in line to win the NL Cy Young Award.

3) Chris Sale (80.96%)- The lanky southpaw for the Chicago White Sox has given his rotation a big boost, even with his young, inexperienced arm.  He puts on a show with the radar gun and can shutdown powerful lineups.  He does have an advantage of facing some weaker offensive teams in the AL Central, however.  Six of his 13 wins have come against the Royals, Indians and Twins.  He is a great pitcher but needs a little more experience to convinced me. The addition of Jake Peavy helped him greatly and Francisco Liriano will give him more of an advantage.

4) David Price (79.77%)- The three-time All-Star is on pace to get the most wins of his career and as far as the AL Cy Young Award voting is concerned, he is breathing down the neck of Sale and Weaver.  The only thing he actually lacks is a big bat to support him offensively.  Evan Longoria coming back will hopefully help with that problem.  If any pitcher can help Tampa Bay get a playoff spot from the A’s it will be Price.  He WILL have a Cy Young Award on the wall before his career is done.

5) Justin Verlander (78.62%)- Finally on the list, Verlander comes in at fourth place in the junior circuit, quite surprising for the Detroit Tigers ace. In my opinion, he is the most overrated pitcher in baseball.  Sure, he has a blazing fastball. Sure, his ERA is under two and a half.  But, he has been inconsistent at moments and is on pace to have the most losses in his career since 2008.  I will give him credit, however, because he tends to dominate one of my favorite statistics (WHIP).

6) Stephen Strasburg (77.71%)- The Strikeout king is now on the list and he is very deserving.  In seven of his twenty three games this year, he has struck out nine batters or more!  That is 30.4% of the time.  Looking for a whiff?  He’s the guy you have to call.  His innings limit has been in the news lately and I think if the Nationals want to keep winning he must be in the rotation. We’ll have to wait and see how this all plays out.

7) Matt Cain (76.7%)- “Mr. Perfect”, “Cain-O Insane-O”, “The San Fran Man”…regardless of what you call him, he is still a dominant force on the hill out on the west coast.  His ERA is under 3 for only the second time in his career but he’s currently regarded as the best pitcher in the Giants’ stacked rotation.  This is due mostly to Tim Lincecum‘s recent struggles, and the fact that most of the rotation is considerably “young talent”.  One of his statistics which catches my eye the most is the fact that his walks per 9 is the lowest in his career.

8) Felix Hernandez (76.44%)- “King Felix” is one of my favorite pitchers and I feel he is very underrated.  Although he may only have 10 wins, he already has 3 shutouts, leading the league.  He continues to strikeout batters (he is nearing his 1,500th strikeout) and his ERA is staying low.  His division rivals include the Texas Rangers and the LA Angels, two huge offensive teams.  Hernandez continually gets the job done, though.

9) Madison Bumgarner (76.4%)- When looking at the ERA leaders, you could easily think his fellow teammate Ryan Vogelsong has the edge. However, Bumgarner has a higher SPv for a couple of reasons.  One, he strikes out more batters and walks less, as opposed to Vogelsong.  And secondly, Bumgarner has a better WHIP.  Walks plus Hits divided by Innings Pitched is a crucial statistic in the makeup of SPv.  The first round pick in the 2007 draft is off to a good start in his career and he makes a good #2 behind Matt Cain.

10) Kyle Lohse (76.27%)- I was very surprised when I realized Lohse had made the Top 10. When we look at his stats, he has the second most wins on the St. Louis Cardinals staff (12, just behind Lance Lynn‘s 13) against only has 2 losses.  He hasn’t had much popularity since 2008 when he had 15 wins but the baseball community should know that Kyle still has his stuff.  His WHIP and ERA are at career bests and along with Jake Westbrook and Lance Lynn, they are filling the hole left by the Chris Carpenter injury quite nicely.

11) Johnny Cueto (76.18%)- I can truly say that in my mind, Cueto is the best pitcher in the packed NL Central.  I say this because he doesn’t allow many base runners, keeps batters guessing and even when things do get out of hand, he can still often get the win.  This is because of an offense led by Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, and Brandon Phillips.  These athletes, led by Cueto, will help the Reds gain an even larger lead over Andrew McCutchen and the Pittsburgh Pirates as the season winds down.

12) Jordan Zimmermann (76.14%)- I know I say the word underrated too often, but it’s one of the few words that describes Zimmermann accurately.  The reason I feel he hasn’t had instant stardom is due to the fact that, earlier in the year, he lacked run support.  At one point he had a losing record with an ERA under two and a half.  He doesn’t strikeout very many batters but he doesn’t walk many either. This keeps men off the base, keeping his WHIP low.  If anyone on this list will win the NL Cy Young Award in dramatic fashion, it’s Zimmermann.

13) Cole Hamels (75.75%)- This southpaw has been the talk of trade rumors year in and year out, but he remains in Philly, being the only pitcher to have double-digit wins for the Phillies.  He also has the most strikeouts, most innings pitched, leads in ERA+ and the lowest hits per nine innings.  Once the #2 pitcher to Roy Halladay, he is now the ace of the struggling team.  He just signed a huge, $153 million contract, so expect him to stick around for a while.

14) Clayton Kershaw (75.17%)- “The Claw” is the same man as he has been his whole career but isn’t quite as dominant as he was last year.  He is in the very pitching dominant NL, hurting his chances of winning back-to-back Cy Young Awards.  He strikes out a whole batter less per 9 inning than he did last year but he still has a WHIP of 1.027.  He leads the league in shutouts (2), is still the ace for the NL West leading (tied) Los Angeles Dodgers and no longer has to face Melky Cabrera due to a 50 game suspension.

15) CC Sabathia (75.06%)- CC has been on the DL for an extended period of time.  I think the Yankees are in a good enough position to where they can retain first place in the AL East without him.  If you asked me a year earlier, I would’ve told you that New York couldn’t have competed without Mariano Rivera and with Sabathia out, however, that’s exactly what they are doing.  Yankees’ fans just need to hope that C.C. can bounce back from the injuries, and continue on the pace where he left off.

16) A.J. Burnett (74.81%)- I would’ve expected the Pirate’s righty to be higher on this list, with 14 wins and a new beginning in Pittsburgh, however, he is not.  Like many of the pitchers ranked above him, he doesn’t possess a high number of K’s.  Through 21 starts, he already has the most wins in his career since 2008 in Toronto.  Not only does he have a career low WHIP (with 21+ games started), but he has a one-hitter under his belt.

17) Ryan Vogelsong (74.64%)- The reason this guy may not quite be a household name is because he hasn’t performed in the past, as he is just showing signs of greatness.  The last season that he had 25 or more starts before San Fransisco, he had an ERA of 6.50 with a 6-13 W-L record. He has redeemed himself, however, in his second stint for the Giants.  His two years back have been astounding, posting 249 strikeouts and a 23-13 record.  He does walk a few too many, but nothing to worry about. Expect him to have more than one all star selection in his career.

18) Scott Diamond (74.35%)- I consider this young man the only “stud” in the Minnesota Twin’s rotation.  He isnt like many of the guys on this list as far as strikeouts are concerned (5.0 strikeouts per 9 innings), but he makes up for it because he doesn’t walk many either (1.3 walks per 9 innings, a league lead).  He’s only pitched 18 games, and I really don’t expect the trend to continue, as he allows almost a home run a game.  That’s low enough to be a quality pitcher, but not to consistently be on this list.

19) Gio Gonzalez (74.15%)- Gio is one of the best parts of the Washington Nationals “Big 3″ (Strasburg and  Zimmerman included).  He has the most wins out of all of them (15, 2 away from a career high), he has the league lead in home runs per 9 innings (0.4), and the league lead in hits per 9 innings (6.9).  His wicked curveball is similar to those of fellow teamate Stephen Strasburg and Barry Zito.  With Strasburg supposedly being out of postseason play, Gio is the man who needs to step up even further, if possible.  This would be by walking less and staying consistent.

20) Ryan Dempster (73.62%)- The Texas new-comer is lucky to even be on this list.  His ERA has gone up 79 points in 4 games, but I think he still has some success in him.  He is aging, however, and is struggling to get wins.  He is a great #3 or #4 in the Rangers rotation, and run support won’t be an issue anymore, as it was with the Cubs.

Think one of your favorite pitchers deserved to be on the list or would you like to just discuss Starting Pitching Valuation, contact me on Twitter @pitchingstats or use the comments section below. I’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have about about this list, how to calculate SPv and/or how to apply its usage to fantasy baseball. Thanks for reading and be sure to check back next week.

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Murphy’s Law Part III: R.A. Dickey

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Murphy’s Law Part III: R.A. Dickey

Posted on 10 August 2012 by Trish Vignola

R.A. Dickey pitched a 6-1 gem against the Miami Marlins this afternoon. His complete game masterpiece was the 15th victory notch on his belt. He stopped Jose Reyes‘ 26-game hitting streak, which is kind of a conflict for me. As a Mets fan, who wouldn’t want to see Reyes get his comeuppance?

I’m not a sentimental idiot though. He was my first round fantasy draft pick. It seemed like such a good idea at the time.

Today ended a dreadful New York Mets’ nine-game home skid. ”That nine-game streak that was stopped today is more important than the 15 wins,” Dickey told the Associated Press (AP). Don’t worry, R.A. We didn’t like watching it either.

Dickey allowed five hits and struck out 10. It was the third straight spectacular outing for the knuckler, who is starting to make me wonder why his nickname isn’t “The Freak.” (Sorry, Tim Lincecum.) In his previous two starts, Dickey allowed only two earned runs combined.

Here’s my second conflict. I’m probably the most ardent Dickey fan (he’s on my roster as well). Nonetheless, I thought that his month long drought after the All-Star Break was the beginning of the end. Come on! We’re talking about the Mets here!

After that insane 12-1 start, he got played by Tony La Russa and his All Star politics. Coming out of the break, he was 2-2 in his next six starts. Now I am starting to think, could I have been wrong? As my fantasy baseball team slides down the tubes, is a New York Met actually not falling victim to Murphy’s Law (for once)?

Was last month actually an apparition?

Today’s weather in Flushing, Queens, was 89-degrees and hot. It was ideal weather for the fluttery pitch. Today marked the fourth complete game of the year for Dickey and eighth of his career. ”He’s got the feel for it back, again,” manager Terry Collins told the AP. ”All I can tell you is I hope the next eight starts are like this one.”

I’m sorry Terry. You can’t pitch him every day. Or can you?

Collins was prepared to ride his ace down the stretch. That’s right. Dickey is now considered the team’s ace. He wanted to go to Dickey on three days’ rest. However, that idea went out the window once the team essentially fell out of contention. The Mets have gone from 46-40 at the break to 54-58 after Thursday’s win.

Justin Ruggiano homered off Dickey in the fourth to tie it 1-all. Take away that and the Marlins have had little success against a pitcher, whose story makes “The Rookie” look pedestrian. Jose Reyes went 0 for 4. He twice stranded runners on third base and ending the longest hitting streak of his career.

I don’t even want to look at my team’s stats tonight.

Regarding today’s game, the holder of the best hitting streak in the majors this season could only mutter, ”Nothing close, nothing close.” Reyes took his bafflement into the field apparently. He lost a popup in the sun allowing the struggling Andres Torres to drive in the go-ahead run.

Torres homered off Josh Johnson in the sixth and got an RBI triple in the eighth after umpires went to replay to review whether the ball had left the park. If Torres has truly got his groove back and Dickey continues driving the National League to distraction, the last month and a half of the season is going to look far more palatable for the Mets.

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