The final episode of "Lost" is easier to figure out than the Mets are this season. Just when the team seemed ready to be buried under the weight of its own drama, as in Tuesday's bizarre episodes involving K-Rod and Darryl Strawberry, the Mets emerged looking better than ever with last night's 8-0 victory over the Phillies at Citi Field.
"I don't know about odd," Jason Bay said when asked about the off-field circus that follows the Mets, "but maybe we should get our own TV show at some point. There's never a dull moment, put it that way."
Somehow, it makes sense that R.A. Dickey, a knuckleball pitcher, baffled the Phillies with six scoreless innings - and had to survive a line drive off his left elbow. Dickey, the replacement for Oliver Perez, also matched a career high with seven strikeouts. Raul Valdes added three scoreless innings and even an RBI double in the ninth off old pal Nelson Figueroa.
Add to that the resurgence of Jose Reyes, who had three hits - including his 1,000th - and scored three runs to go with an RBI triple. Bay and Jeff Francoeur each had two RBIs as the Mets earned their third straight win after starting 1-6 on their last road trip. They are 3-1 in their last four against the Yankees and Phillies, the World Series teams of a year ago.
"Between the lines, that's our safe haven," said Francoeur, who spent Tuesday afternoon fielding questions about Strawberry's calling out team members. "We beat the Yankees and we still hear about how we're not good enough. But that's what the offense is supposed to be capable of doing."
The Mets put together one of their most complete efforts of the season with their fifth shutout and first since April 27. Dickey never has to worry about a rising pitch count. But the ticking clock for him was the swelling inside his left elbow after Ryan Howard's liner. As Dickey spun to avoid it, the ball somehow caromed off his elbow, which was trailing behind him.
The trainers tended to him between innings, and he even had in-game X-rays, which were negative. Twice the Phillies loaded the bases against him and did not score. In the second, they did it with none out, but Dickey was helped by a 1-2-3 double play and whiffed Jamie Moyer.
"I hate to give the SportsCenter answer, but it's good to beat a team in your division," Dickey said. "We're playing well right now and we need to take this momentum and try to channel it into longer streaks."
After the Phillies' fifth loss in seven games, manager Charlie Manuel faulted his team as much as Dickey's floating pitches.
"We're getting outhustled, we're getting outplayed," Manuel said. "The last three or four games, we've been playing real bad . . . We can play better. We're supposed to play better."
Like Jerry Manuel's decision to start Dickey, just about everything the Mets did worked to perfection. They led 4-0 after five innings and didn't let up against nemesis Moyer (5-4). In the sixth, after Francoeur's double, Manuel sent up Chris Carter for Dickey and he ripped a single to make it 5-0.
"I'm not worried about the drama," Rod Barajas said. "I think these last four games we've played have been our best of the season."