|New York Mets (48-53) at Arizona Diamondbacks (51-50)||4:10 PM ET|
|Season||Rd/Hm||Last Start||Last 3 App|
|R. Dickey (R)||20||13-2||2.97||6.0||7-1||3.09||7/24||WSH||L||6.0||8||4||1-1||14.1||5.65|
|J. Saunders (L)||16||5-6||3.51||6.0||4-4||4.66||7/24||COL||W||7.0||3||2||1-1||19.0||3.79|
Dickey has nowhere near resembled the pitcher who was an All-Star in the first half of the season and enters tonight's tilt on the heels of another poor showing against the Washington Nationals. Dickey gave up five runs (4 earned) and eight hits in six innings of that one, dropping him to 13-2 to go along with a 2.97 ERA.
"It's tough when things are going on what seems to be a downward spiral," Dickey said. "In order to change it, we have to stand up and own what's ours to own. I could have pitched better. Two strikes, an 0-2 count with two outs in the sixth inning, and five straight hits. Four runs later, we're in a hole that we can't get out of. I've got to make a pitch. Somewhere during that sequence, I've got to make a pitch."
Dickey has now allowed 19 earned runs in 26 1/3 innings, for a 6.49 ERA in five July starts.
Despite his recent struggles the right-handed knuckleballer is tied for the National League lead in wins with St. Louis' Lance Lynn and Washington's Gio Gonzalez, who also pitches on Sunday. Tampa Bay's David Price is the only starter in the league with 14 victories.
Dickey beat the D'Backs earlier in the year and is 1-1 in two starts against them with a 2.40 ERA.
Arizona, meanwhile, will rely on lefty Joe Saunders, who is 5-6 with a 3.51 ERA. Saunders won for the first time in four starts on Tuesday against Colorado, as he allowed two runs and three hits in seven innings. He also struck out nine in the win.
"My arm felt great," Saunders said. "I kind of knew when I was warming up that I had good life on my fastball and everything was kind of working in the bullpen, so I was like, 'I can't wait to get this thing started.'"
Saunders has faced the Mets on one other occasion and did not get a decision, but pitched well, surrendering just a run and two hits in six innings.
Arizona went over .500 on Saturday, as Ian Kennedy hurled 6 1/3 effective innings in Arizona's 6-3 win. Miguel Montero clubbed a two-run home run, Gerardo Parra went 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI, while Aaron Hill and Ryan Wheeler contributed RBI for the Diamondbacks, who have won seven of their last nine.
Ike Davis accounted for all the Mets' runs with three solo long balls in the team's 14th loss in 16 tries. New York continued on its crash course with the NL East basement, having stumbled to a 2-13 record since the All-Star break.
"Obviously, Ike (Davis) is swinging the bat really well right now, but Ian pitched really well and got us the win," remarked Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson.
Chris Young (2-5) was saddled with the loss after allowing six runs on seven hits and two walks with two strikeouts in four innings.
"It's bitter sweet for sure," Davis said of his stellar game at the plate. "It's always good to feel good at the plate, but the ultimate goal is to win the game and we didn't, so take it as a positive moving forward but obviously you want to win."
These teams have split six meetings here in 2012.