R.A. Dickey can become the first 12-game winner in the major leagues tonight, when he leads the New York Mets into the second installment of a four-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Dickey has been one of the biggest surprises of the season and is 9-0 with a sparkling 1.64 earned run average in 12 starts since his only loss of the season back on April 18 at Atlanta. The Mets are 10-2 over that stretch with Dickey on the hill and he did not record a decision in Sunday night's 6-5 loss to the New York Yankees at Citi Field.
The right-hander and knuckleball specialist allowed five runs -- the most since giving up eight to the Braves a few months ago -- in six innings. Dickey is still 11-1 in 15 starts with a 2.31 ERA. He owns a 5-1 record in seven road assignments, but is 0-1 with a 2.13 ERA in two career starts against the Dodgers. Dickey has made one career start at Dodger Stadium.
New York opened this series with last night's 3-2 win thanks to Andres Torres' RBI double in the top of the fifth inning. David Wright homered and drove in two runs and has eight RBI in his last three games for the Mets, who stopped a four-game slide on Wednesday with a win over the Cubs and have prevailed in six of their last 10 games.
Mets starter Chris Young gave up two runs on six hits with six strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings for the win.
"It was fun with the pitching matchup, but I wanted to win the game," said Young. "My slider is getting sharper, but it's still a work in progress. I want to be better and I'll keep working hard to give my team a chance to win."
The Mets are 3 1/2 games off the top spot in the National League East.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles is mired in a five-game losing streak and lost the lead in the NL West, as it sits a game behind San Francisco.
The Dodgers were held scoreless in a three-game sweep at the hands of the Giants before returning home for a six-game residency last night. Elian Herrera and Juan Rivera each had two hits and an RBI for the Dodgers, who have dropped nine of their last 10 games and went 1-8 on a recent road trip.
Dodgers starter Chris Capuano lost for the first time in five starts and gave up three runs on five hits with five strikeouts over seven innings. Capuano fell to 0-5 in six career starts against the Mets.
"I felt good and that I had better stuff tonight," said Capuano. "I hung a few pitches up there, but other than that I thought I made some pretty good pitches."
LA will also welcome Cincinnati to Chavez Ravine and hopes Aaron Harang can pitch the club back into the win column. Harang is 0-1 in his past three starts and most recently surrendered three runs in six innings of a 5-3 loss against the LA Angels of Anaheim on Sunday. He walked two and did not strike out a batter in the no-decision and is 5-4 with a 3.81 ERA in 15 starts.
The right-hander is 1-1 in five outings at Dodger Stadium this season and 3-3 with a lofty 6.05 ERA in eight career starts against the Mets.
Los Angeles received some good news on outfielder Andre Ethier's strained left oblique muscle, as an MRI revealed no swelling in the area. Ethier is not expected to go on the disabled list and is day-to-day. He suffered the injury on a checked swing in Wednesday's loss to the Giants.
"Yesterday I assumed we were going to be in a DL situation," manager Don Mattingly said on the Dodgers' website. "But really the docs looked at it and didn't see any swelling, so it really couldn't be any better."
It has been reported the Dodgers reached a deal with Cuban outfielder Yasiel Puig. The pact is reportedly worth $42 million over seven years.
New York won five of seven meetings with the Dodgers last season.