The knuckleballer returns to the mound for the first time since tossing a one-hitter as the visiting Mets face the Houston Astros on Wednesday night.
New York (59-60) slipped to 11-20 since the All-Star break with a 4-3 loss to Houston on Tuesday, hours after it placed closer Francisco Rodriguez on the disqualified list.
The team is withholding Rodriguez’s pay after he suffered a season-ending thumb injury while punching his girlfriend’s father last week at Citi Field. Rodriguez was charged with third-degree assault.
“I just hope that he takes this time off to make things right with his family, get that stuff situated,” third baseman David Wright(notes) said. “When he’s ready to come back physically, we’ll welcome him back.”
Wright homered Tuesday, but New York failed to score more than three runs for the fifth consecutive game. Since the All-Star break, the Mets are batting .213 while scoring a major league-low 87 runs.
That’s a big reason why Dickey (8-5, 2.43 ERA) is 2-3 despite a 1.96 ERA in seven second-half starts, the best of which came Friday night against Philadelphia.
“I knew, from the way it felt out of my hand, I had a chance at a special night,” said Dickey, who would rank seventh in the majors in ERA if he had enough innings to qualify.
The right fielder drove in all of the Astros’ runs with two homers in Tuesday’s win, the 10th for Houston (52-66) in its last 13 home games.
Pence has never faced Dickey, whose only appearances against the Astros were two relief outings last year. Houston’s Carlos Lee(notes), however, has gone 5 for 7 with three doubles and a homer against Dickey, all from 2001-2004.
“It doesn’t mean anything,” Myers told the Astros’ official website. “It’s good the coaching staff is able to go out there and let me compete for six innings or more. … There’s been times I didn’t deserve to go six innings and they stuck with me.”
Myers has been plenty deserving lately, posting a 2.22 ERA and seven quality starts in his last eight outings - one against Pittsburgh on Friday. He didn’t get the decision, but struck out seven without a walk in seven innings of a 4-1 victory.
This will be Myers’ first start against the Mets since Sept. 5, 2008, when he struck out 10 in eight innings of a 3-0 win while with Philadelphia.
Wright is 6 for 28 against Myers, but four of the hits were home runs.