Should R.A. Dickey win the Cy Young Award, the Marlins deserve some of the credit. Without them, Dickey’s numbers wouldn’t sparkle quite as brilliantly.
The bearded knuckleballer twisted them in knots once again on Friday as the Mets handed the Marlins a 3-0 defeat. It was the fourth time in as many starts that Dickey has beaten the Marlins this season.
“When he gives his speech for the Cy Young Award, make sure he mentions the Marlins,” said manager Ozzie Guillen. “We would appreciate that.”
Dickey dealt the Marlins their major-league leading 15th shutout loss, holding Miami to only five hits in a complete-game performance that was over in two hours and five minutes -- the quickest game of the season for the Marlins.
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In his four wins over the Marlins, Dickey (17-4) has held Miami to just four runs for an ERA of 1.16. He has now defeated the Marlins the last eight times he’s faced them.
“I think he was the best I’ve ever seen him throw, and I’ve seen him throw quite a bit,” Guillen said. “I thought the ball today was moving a lot. We had a few opportunities but couldn’t get it done.”
Despite turning a fine outing of his own, Marlins rookie Nathan Eovaldi was no match for Dickey. Eovaldi turned in seven sharp innings, holding the Mets to three runs on four hits, the big blow coming in the seventh when Ike Davis belted a curve into the front row of the upper deck in right.
Otherwise, Eovaldi delivered his best performance so far for the Marlins since coming over in the Hanley Ramirez trade with the Dodgers. Eovaldi threw strikes, issuing only one walk after allowing 16 in his first 21 2/3 innings with the team.
“I felt a lot better today,” Eovaldi said. “I was just trying not to do too much, be relaxed and attack the strike zone. It was really just mental, knowing that good is good enough.”
Eovaldi gave up a run in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Davis, who provided Dickey with extra cushion in the seventh with his 25th home run.
“That was the main (pitch) I would like to have back,” Eovaldi said. “Just didn’t finish the curveball. Kind of left it right down the middle, and he crushed it.”
Remarked Guillen: “Eovaldi was very good, the best I’ve seen him throw since we got him. I think his control was very good. He’s still working on his breaking ball. The home run was a breaking ball, chest high. But I was very pleased with the way he threw. The last few outings he’s been very rough. Hopefully, this outing will create a little more confidence in him and he’ll pitch better for the rest of the season.”
It was only the second time in 17 starts this season that Eovaldi has managed to complete seven full innings. He also went seven in his very first start on May 29 against Milwaukee.
But Dickey was even better, recording his third shutout of the season and fifth complete game.
The Marlins only had a couple of scoring chances against him. Giancarlo Stanton and Greg Dobbs reached on back-to-back singles with one out in the fourth before Donovan Solano grounded into an inning-ending double play.
The Marlins also put two men aboard with one out in the eighth but came up empty, as Jose Reyes grounded into a fielder’s choice and Carlos Lee flied out to center. Lee struck out twice and looked bad both times. It was the first time Lee struck out twice in a game since Aug. 9. The pitcher that day? Dickey.
“Carlos Lee, in the past, has had really good success against him,” Guillen said. “Today, he made him feel uncomfortable.”