R.A. Dickey strikes out 10, gives Mets another shutout

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Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey allowed three hits over 7 1/3 innings and moved into a tie for the major league lead with his seventh win Sunday as the Mets blanked the Padres, 2-0.

The Mets also got a shutout from Johan Santana on Saturday. It’s the first time they’ve had shutouts in back-to-back games since Santana and Dickey pulled it off in Aug. 2010.

Dickey fanned 10 today after striking out 11 Pirates in his previous outing. He was the first Met to reach double figures in strikeouts in back-to-back starts since Pedro Martinez in May 2006.

The loser today was Edinson Volquez, who fell to 2-5 despite giving up just two runs in 5 2/3 innings. The Padres have scored a total of 20 runs in his 11 starts this season, explaining why he has such a poor record to go along with his 3.46 ERA. Dickey, in comparison, is 7-1 with a 3.06 ERA.

Ian Kinsler lists the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central

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Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.

Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list

Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.

Angels demote C.J. Cron to Triple-A

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Angels first baseman C.J. Cron hit a grand slam against the Mets on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to keep his spot on the major league roster as the club announced his demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday. Infielder Nolan Fantana has been promoted from Salt Lake.

Cron, 27, was hitting a disappointing .232/.281/.305 with one home run and RBI in 90 plate appearances. I guess you can say that wasn’t the kind of Cron job the Angels were expecting. Cron was an above-average hitter in each of his first three seasons, finishing with an OPS+, or adjusted OPS, of 111, 106, and 115 (100 is average).

While Cron is figuring things out in the minors, Luis Valbuena, Jefry Marte, and Albert Pujols could each see some time at first base.