The highly anticipated (by 12 year-olds and me) matchup of R.A. Dickey and Chien-Ming Wang went down today. For those who like to keep track of such things, Dickey beat Wang, with the Mets prevailing over the Nats 3-1.
Dickey is the first pitcher in the majors to make it to nine wins. He was masterful today, throwing shutout ball into the eighth inning while allowing only four hits. Wang wasn’t quite as hard on opposing hitters, allowing eight hits over five and a third. He allowed only two runs, but in a close game like this with his pitcher running out of stamina, Johnson had to pull Wang.
Lucas Duda hit a two-run homer for the Mets and Daniel Murphy singled in an insurance run in the seventh. The win averts a sweep by the Nats. And ends the matchup that I’ve been giggling about all week because, again, I am the most immature 38 year-old father of two you will ever have the misfortune of encountering.
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that the Mariners will sign Ichiro Suzuki to a minor-league deal. If he makes the roster he’ll make $750,000. At least until he retires.
I say that because it seems quite clear that the idea here, telegraphed since last season, is to activate Ichiro for the Mariners’ series against the Oakland Athletics in Tokyo on March 20-21 and for hoopla surrounding it all. The Mariners and A’s will have a 28-man roster for that series, which is officially part of the regular season schedule, but it will be pared back down to 25 once games begin in the United States.
Suzuki, 45, hit .205/.255/.205 in 47 plate appearances through May 2 last season, at which point he agreed to be deactivated to join the Mariners’ front office. Many assumed Ichiro would announce his retirement later that season or during the offseason, but the Japan Series soon crystalized as an obvious way for him to offer his final farewell to both his American and his Japanese fans.
Unless of course he goes 6-10 with three doubles in that series, at which point everyone will be tempted to keep him on the roster past Japan. Which, given the Mariners’ rebuild and likely poor performance this coming season, wouldn’t exactly be hurting anyone, would it?