I’ve got a question for Mets fans. At what point do you look at the success of R.A. Dickey and proclaim him as a solid dependable starter and no longer an aberration?
Well, yesterday was my cutoff point. I have seen enough to know that yes, Dickey is more than a quality pitcher and one you can depend on every five days.
On three days rest, and coming off a game where he seemed to injure his hip and had to fight Jerry Manuel to stay in the game, Dickey came back and mowed down the St. Louis Cardinals in yet another impressive performance.
His line for Thursday was 8 1/3 innings pitched while giving up only four hits, two walks and no runs. 73 of his 118 pitches went for strikes.
His knuckleball is constantly keeping hitters guessing. What makes him so effective is the change in speed on his knuckleball. Dickey doesn’t just lob it in there. Dickey is dependable, efficient and more than trustworthy at this point.
Dickey has now made 14 starts, way more than a sample size, since he was called up on May 19. Ever since Dickey was called up, he has helped the Mets remain relevant in the pennant race. Dickey’s performance is making it easier to forget how disastrous Oliver Perez and John Maine were in the rotation this year.
Sure, it’s natural to guess a 35-year-old pitcher hitting his peak after such a mediocre career has all the makings of fools’ gold. But Dickey is not an ordinary pitcher and has taken what he has learned in the past to reinvent himself and the results have been stellar.
You can say after five games that his pitching was a fluke. Heck, I’ll give all the benefit of the doubt and say you can still say Dickey was a fluke after 10 games. But with 14 starts, you got to stop and say, “Hey this guy could be for real.” 14 starts is almost a half a season of baseball.
Dickey’s only real bad start was in a bandbox (Puerto Rico’s Hiram Bithorn Stadium vs. the Marlins) where he gave up five runs in five innings. If that is a pitcher’s worst, then we should be all so lucky. Heck, the Mets unquestioned ace Johan Santana gave up six runs in one inning alone on Wednesday.
In Dickey’s 14 starts he has posted 11 quality starts (at least six innings pitched with three or fewer earned runs). That is a phenomenal run of quality pitching.
For the season, Dickey is 7-4 with a 2.32 ERA. He should have more than seven wins, as he has fell victim to poor run support. In July, Dickey’s ERA is 1.51, but he did not get a win in five previous July starts before finally getting back in the win column on Thursday.
So again I ask, when are you going to consider Dickey anything but an aberration?
If not by now, then you might be waiting a while. Dickey is here to stay.