Mets morning briefing 6.30.12

LOS ANGELES -- R.A. Dickey tossed eight scoreless innings to improve to 12-1, Daniel Murphy matched a career high with five RBIs and Ruben Tejada reached base a career-high five times as the Mets blanked the Dodgers, 9-0, Friday night.

Johan Santana (5-4, 3.00 ERA) attempts to increase the Mets' winning streak to four games when he opposes right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (0-4, 4.04) at 7:15 p.m. ET today at Dodger Stadium.

Saturday's news reports:

• After his latest stellar outing, Dickey said starting the All-Star Game would be a validation of the knuckleball, and combat the perception among some that it is a "gimmick" pitch. Terry Collins said team officials had discussed skipping Santana for the remainder of the first half after Saturday's outing as a way to ensure the southpaw's health down the stretch in addition to giving Dickey an extra start before the All-Star break. But, the manager added, that plan is unlikely to materialize because Santana is opposed. Before the game, Collins had suggested Dickey might have been distracted by all the attention he was getting leading into a Subway Series start, although Dickey dismissed that late Friday.

Brian Costa in the Journal writes this about Dickey's incredible run:

Bill James invented the game score as a way to determine how good a pitcher was in a given game. The highest known mark for a nine-inning game is 105, set by Kerry Wood in 1998 when he struck out 20 Houston Astros and gave up just one hit. Dickey's one-hitters are the only time in Baseball-Reference.com's database, which goes back to 1918, that a pitcher has scored 95 or higher two straight times in one season.

• Read game recaps in Newsday, the Post, Star-Ledger, Times and Daily News.

Ike Davis was fined $750 but will receive no suspension for touching, apparently inadvertently, umpire Manny Gonzalez on Tuesday in Chicago.

• A baseball official familiar with the Mets' plans told ESPNNewYork.com he did not foresee the Mets acquiring a large-salaried closer from another team at the trading deadline -- a Brett Myers type -- since the Mets already have Frank Francisco. The official added that trade talks really have not started percolating yet since most teams are not willing to concede publicly they are out of postseason contention. Clearly, though, the focus of any Mets improvements will be the bullpen. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Daily News (which suggests San Diego's Huston Street is an option, although he seems to fall in the same category as Myers).

• ESPN's Buster Olney believes Murphy is a fit in a trade with the Dodgers.

• After Murphy had a 2-for-5, five-RBI game Friday that included another homer, Collins said he could not believe the second baseman ever was in a slump. "You're just seeing a quicker bat through the zone, much better balance at the plate," Collins said. "He's seeing the ball probably better. I was shocked as anybody that Dan Murphy ever got in a slump. He's such a good hitter. He has such a great approach at the plate. I mean, I was taken aback. I didn't think this guy could ever get in a slump the way he uses the field to hit -- hits lefties, hits righties. But it shows you it can happen to anybody."

Andrew Keh profiles Murphy in the Times. Writes Keh:

Murphy projects an uncommon air of serenity this season. Even as he admitted his shortcomings, he described this season as “unbelievable” and “extremely enjoyable.” His current state of mind, he said, can be traced to a choice he made last fall, as he was rehabilitating his most recent injury, to devote his life to Christianity. He needed to be more humble, he decided. He needed to untether his identity from the game, to untie his mood from the scorecard. “For a long time, if I got hits, I was happy; if I didn’t get hits, I was unhappy,” Murphy said. “That’s how I evaluated my self-worth.”

Read more on Murphy in the Post.

• Collins said Francisco will resume the closer's role when he returns, with Bobby Parnell again returning to complementary duty.

• Sixteen-year-old Dominican shortstop Germán Ahmed Rosario is due to sign with the Mets for $1.7 million on Monday, when the new group of international teenagers is eligible to be signed, according to ESPNDeportes.com's Enrique Rojas.

Matt Harvey retired the first 14 batters he faced and tossed seven scoreless innings in Triple-A Buffalo's 8-0 win against Louisville. In Brooklyn, Rainy Lara retired the first 12 batters he faced while striking out 10 in 5 2/3 innings. Read Friday's full minor league recap here.

• Collins all but dismissed using Lucas Duda in left field in Jason Bay's absence. Bay should attempt to run Saturday for the first time since suffering a concussion 15 days ago.

• Right-hander Chris Schwinden's crazy waiver journey this month has taken him from the Mets to the Blue Jays, to the Indians and now to the Yankees in rapid succession.

• Costa in the Journal notes that in Chris Young and Santana, the Mets have two starting pitchers returning from the same seldom-performed surgery in baseball circles.

TRIVIA: Who has the worst single-season batting average in Mets history among players with at least 500 plate appearances?

Friday's answer: Behind David Wright (582) and Darryl Strawberry (580), Bud Harrelson ranks third in franchise history in walks with 573.