Thursday, June 14, 2012

No One Can Have Just One (No-Hitter)

R.A. Dickey had the most amazing, most tremendous, most [insert your favorite superlative here] start of his career last night, coming within two David Wright muffs of pitching the first perfect game in Mets history.  His performance came less than two weeks after Johan Santana tossed the first no-hitter in club annals and on the same night that Matt Cain pitched the first perfect game in San Francisco Giants history.

Before Wright's error allowed Elliot Johnson to reach base safely in the ninth inning (which led to the only run scored off Dickey in the game, ending his franchise-record 32⅔ inning scoreless streak), the only base runner allowed by the Mets' knuckler was a first-inning infield hit off the bat of B.J. Upton.  Upton hit a slow roller near the third base line that Wright tried to field with his bare hand.  The ball tickled Wright's fingers before dropping to the artificial turf, allowing Upton to reach base on what was credited as a base hit.  It became the only hit allowed by Dickey in the game and gave him credit for pitching the 36th one-hitter in franchise history.

But stop the presses!  There's a new story to report!

Apparently, Terry Collins thinks that there's a chance an appeal could reverse the call on Upton's infield single to an error by Wright, allowing Dickey to be credited with the team's second no-hitter of the month.  Collins goes on to say,

"We said in the ninth inning that we've got to appeal that play.  We're probably not going to win it, but ... what the heck?  What do you got to lose except to have somebody say no?  You've just got to give him his due.  He deserves it." 

It's great that Collins is sticking up for his pitcher.  But in all honesty, the Mets should have just settled for a one-hitter without trying to get an after-the-fact no-hitter for Dickey.  Besides, earlier this month, when Santana pitched his no-hitter, a call by third base umpire Adrian Johnson took a base hit away from Carlos Beltran.  So this pretty much evens it out.  Santana got a no-hitter in a game that should have been a one-hitter and Dickey gets a one-hitter in a game that could have been a no-hitter.

Notice how I said that Santana "should" have had a one-hitter while I said Dickey "could" have had a no-hitter.  It was an umpire's error that allowed Santana to keep his no-hitter intact.  But it was David Wright's non-error in the first inning that rightfully gave the Rays their first and only hit of the night.  And it should remain an error after the appeal is reviewed.

I understand Terry Collins wanting to reward his pitcher for a tremendous pitching performance, a performance that might have been more dominant (career-high 12 Ks, no walks) than Santana's, as Johan allowed five Cardinals to reach base via the base on balls.  But trying to get him a no-hitter after the fact is taking it a little too far.  It's not going to happen and it should never have come to this.

Collins should see it for what it is and what will remain in the record books.  Dickey pitched a one-hitter, retired 22 batters in a row from the first to the ninth innings, struck out a career-high 12 batters and set the Mets' all-time record for consecutive scoreless innings, supplanting Jerry Koosman in the team's record book by one inning.  It was a fantastic pitching performance by R.A. Dickey.  It was not a no-hitter.

The Mets already got a no-hitter that shouldn't have been.  They shouldn't get greedy and try for a second.  I guess it's true that no one can have just one.

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