Mets morning briefing 6.24.12

The Mets were ahead 3-0 in the seventh inning, but it all went south from there as the Yankees hit two home runs to beat the Mets, 4-3, Saturday night in Flushing.

Sunday's news reports:

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, The Record, New York Times and Newsday.

R.A. Dickey will look to continue his magical season when he faces the Yankees Sunday night. Daily News' columnist Mike Lupica writes about the stretch of excellence from the knuckleballer. Writes Lupica:

We look to the 20-year-old Dwight Gooden, pitching the way he did in the magical summer of 1985, or even back to last winter and Jeremy Lin, coming off the bench the way he did for the New York Knicks. We remember young guys out of the recent past and distant past, even as we talk about a 37-year-old knuckleball pitcher, and witness once again the power of a story like this, one that surprises us and continues to surprise us the way R.A. Dickey’s has.

• The Post examines the pitching matchup between CC Sabathia and Dickey. Columnist Ken Davidoff writes how the two pitchers have followed different paths to this point. Writes Davidoff:

These two men, coming from such different places, will be at the same place tonight. They’re the headliners in the 2012 Subway Series finale at Citi Field, in the most highly anticipated intra-city pitching matchup since … well, probably since Sabathia faced off against Johan Santana twice in 2010

• The Record columnist Bob Klapisch writes about the pitching matchup and how all eyes will be watching to see how Dickey fares against the Yankees. Writes Klapisch:

Dickey could very well embarrass the Yankees, the same way he recently left the Orioles and Rays with a serious case of vertigo. But it’s just as possible the Bombers could nuke Dickey’s streak of 42 innings without an earned run, and not just because they’re the majors’ No. 1 home run hitting team.

• The Star-Ledger's Andy McCullough writes about how Dickey has become a fan favorite for the Amazins. Writes McCullough:

Yet fans say they see humanity they believe lacking in other famous athletes. Dickey grew up a child of divorce, with an alcoholic mother. He is a father of four who nearly retired in 2007 to become a teacher. They praise his courage for revealing in his memoir the sexual abuse he suffered as a child, for detailing his contemplation of suicide, for admitting he needed therapy later in life.

They find joy in his redemption, because he appears real, and because, Dickey insists, “I’m very ordinary in a lot of different ways.”

• The Record's Mike Kerwick writes that the Mets are smart not to mess with Dickey's rest between his outings. Writes Kerwick:

For some Mets fans, that’s not enough. Instead of throwing him every five days, why not throw him every four? Mets manager Terry Collins conceded he had mapped out a plan for Dickey to go every four days, but then scrapped it because of the impact it would have on his other pitchers.

Good call.

Frank Francisco was unavailable to pitch Saturday with stiffness in his left oblique. His status for Sunday's night game is undetermined. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Daily News, Post and The Record.

• Left fielder Jason Bay said his symptoms have cleared. He suffered a concussion on June 15 and has not been cleared to begin physical activity yet. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Post, New York Times and Newsday.

"The first few days I kind of felt a little groggy, a little headache and stuff," Bay said. "But over the last probably two, three days, I feel astronomically better. I did all my tests, all that stuff, and am waiting to hear back (from the doctors). ... Hopefully in the next couple of days I can start up activity again and go through that progression and within a couple of weeks be fine. But I actually feel really good."

• The Mets and Tim Byrdak are looking for a home for their new chicken mascot, Little Jerry Seinfield. The chicken was brought into the clubhouse before the game Friday. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Daily News, New York Times and Newsday.

"We're trying to get him into a chicken sanctuary or somewhere where he can rest comfortably for the rest of his life and not worry about a deep fryer. Or an oven," Byrdak said. "I went to Twitter last night to try to have people help me, but a lot of people said they wanted to throw him in a KFC bucket. That wasn't funny."

Chris Young pitched well, but the three-run homer he gave up to Raul Ibanez instead left him with a no-decision for his efforts. He gave up three runs over six.

Ike Davis was a late scratch with potential food poisoning.

Sandy Alderson said that he expects Ruben Tejada to be back in a few days. The shortstop is trying to return from a right quad strain.

Jon Rauch gave up the game-winning home run to Eric Chavez but was not ticked off about as he was the the last time he did.

• The seventh inning is when it all got away from the Mets. Filip Bondy of the Daily News wrote how that inning changed the fortunes for the Mets in the Subway Series. Writes Bondy:

Every once in a while, the Mets remember they’re the Mets and start shooting themselves in the cleats again for old time’s sake. Even in a feel-good season like this one, with all the fun, with the unexpected victories and with a clucking chicken in the clubhouse, the Mets can turn that smile upside down much quicker than one of Chris Young’s 85-mph fastballs.

Mike Vaccaro of the Post writes about how the Mets have survived this tough 25-game stretch that featured games against teams that were all .500 or better. Writes Vaccaro:

It will also be the final installment of the 25-game segment of their season was supposed to define – and likely doom – the Mets, 25 games against winning teams that would tell us so much about who the Mets were and where they were going.

At the start, they were six games over .500. This morning, they awake six games over .500. It isn’t often that 12 up and 12 down qualifies as a feel-good stretch of season, but the Mets have survived it, no matter what happens tonight.

• The Post looks at Jose Quintana, who played in the minor leagues for both the Mets and Yankees but has now ended up as a White Sox.

• The Star-Ledger columnist Jeff Bradley looks at the relationship between Jordan Valdespin and Robinson Cano, who are both from Pedro De Macoris.

TRIVIA: Rauch's seventh loss on the year ties him with for the league lead in losses by a reliever. Which other reliever also have seven?

Saturday's answer: Besides Johan on Friday, keys to the city have been presented to: Starting pitcher Tom Glavine in honor of his 300th career victory (Aug. 8, 2007); Closer John Franco received a key in honor of his 400th career save (April 27, 1999); The 1986 New York Mets received keys in honor of their World Series victory (Oct. 28, 1986).