Perhaps there's something in the water in the visitor's clubhouse when the Phillies come to town or perhaps they're just not a very good hitting team away from Citizens Bank Pinball Machine, but tonight marked the fourth consecutive time the Mets shut out the Phillies at Citi Field.
R.A. Dickey was showing the Phillies his knuckleball all night and batter after batter, they failed miserably against Dickey and his floater. Only a sixth inning single by opposing pitcher Cole Hamels kept Dickey from recording the first no-hitter in franchise history. He had to settle for his first career one-hitter and the second one-hitter by a Mets pitcher this season, following Jonathon Niese's gem on June 10 against the San Diego Padres.
The Mets have now taken six out of ten games from the Phillies this year. They've shut out the Phillies five times this season, including all four games played at Citi Field. Zeroes have been the theme even in non-shutouts, as the Mets have held the Phillies scoreless in 86 of the 96 innings they've come up to bat against New York.
Let's face it. The Phillies are not the same team when they're not playing in their bandbox. They don't hit for nearly as much average or power when they're away from home. These are their home-road splits this season:
At Citizens Bank Park: .266 average, 72 HR, 304 runs scored
On the road: .254 average, 46 HR, 241 runs scored
The Mets also pitch far better at home than on the road, recording 15 of their major league-leading 18 shutouts at Citi Field.
Still, when guys like R.A. Dickey get thisclose to no-hitting the Phillies (his second scoreless outing against Philadelphia this year at Citi Field), you have to wonder about the three-time defending NL East champions. Sure, they've had their share of injuries, but regardless of who they send up to bat, the Mets have had the answer to retiring those batters in almost every circumstance, especially at Citi Field.
Tomorrow, Pat Misch will make his first start at the big league level in 2010. With the way the Phillies have been looking, but not touching, anything thrown by a Mets hurler at Citi Field this season, Misch has to be salivating at the thought of facing the once-potent Phillies lineup.
Butterflies? Not in Pat Misch's stomach tomorrow and certainly not for R.A. Dickey tonight. The only things fluttering by tonight were the sensational knuckleballs by Mr. Dickey in his herculean effort on the mound.
Who's afraid of the big bad Phils? Certainly not anyone taking the mound against them at Citi Field.