While Johan Santana and his pitching of the Mets’ first ever no-hitter rightfully captivated the area and had Mets’ fans practically worshiping him at his feet, it has been the pitching of one R.A. Dickey that is becoming the story this year for the Mets.
In case you haven’t heard, Dickey has been pretty good this year.
Good doesn’t even begin to describe the roll Dickey is on right now. Dickey was once again masterful on Wednesday night in Tampa, mowing down Rays’ hitters like they had no business being major league ballplayers.
For the night, Dickey allowed one hit (A hit that could easily have been ruled an error by David Wright. As such the Mets are appealing the decision) while allowing no walks and striking out a career-high 12 batters in the complete-game gem. This is Dickey’s second 1-hitter, as he had one two years ago against the Phillies.
And, oh yeah, Dickey just happened to pass Jerry Koosman in the record books for consecutive scoreless innings by a Met by going 32.2 innings without allowing a run. (BTW, his run in the 9th inning was a cheapie unearned run)
As you’re probably well aware, this was no isolated incident. Dickey has been straight dealing in his last five games. In this stretch, Dickey is 5-0 with an absolutely, ridiculous 0.23 ERA. If that wasn’t impressive enough, Dickey has amassed a whopping 50 strikeouts to just three walks in 39.2 innings pitched!
To go even further, in Dickey’s 13 starts this year only a torrential storm in Atlanta-in which Dickey couldn’t get a grip on his patented knuckleball- resulted in his only non-quality outing of the season. For a refresher, Dickey is now 10-1 (tied for the lead league in wins) on the year with a sterling 2.20 ERA and 0.94 WHIP.
This leaves absolutely no doubt: Dickey is the real thing and legitimate ace.
There is absolutely no question that he deserves to be the NL starting pitcher at the All-Star game. To put it another way, if the season ended today, he would have to be named the NL Cy Young winner. He’s been that good.
The path R.A. Dickey took to get this level is a story rife with determination, hope and triumph. Dickey had to reinvent himself as a knuckleball pitcher and in the process has shattered the mold on how knuckleballers are perceived. The velocity on his knuckleballs has baffled hitters and has made them look silly at the plate. With the improved command, Dickey continues to keep hitters guessing and making them looked over-matched.
Dickey is not just your ordinary pitcher. Just as much as he is an All-Star pitcher, Dickey is also a humanitarian (remember his Kilimanjaro hike), philanthropist as well as an established author.
In his book Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity, and the Perfect Knuckleball, Dickey opens up about his issues with sexual abuse with poise and aplomb. The book’s theme is about overcoming all the obstacles one faces in life with the prevailing thought that with hard work and perseverance, you could achieve anything.
It was not my intent to get profound in this post, but Dickey is clearly a one-of-a kind athlete-on an off the field. Dickey is the textbook definition of a role model, as he competes to the last out while being a great clubhouse mentor.
So, we should all step back and enjoy this ride as long as it takes us. If it weren’t for Dickey, the Mets would be nowhere near competitive.
While the Giants’ Matt Cain (after pitching a perfect game last night) may be the talk of baseball today, that’s okay because with the unassuming Dickey, he’s not one to clamor for the spotlight. Dickey has lived long enough in the shadow, but with the way he is pitching, he’s about to cast a shadow for himself as he has been nothing short of astonishing this year.
Right now, Dickey should take a backseat to no one.
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3 comments on “R.A. Dickey: One (Ace) of a kind”
When he was 40 years old, Tim Wakefield won 17 games and threw 189 innings. At 46 years old, Phil Niekro won 16 games and pitched 220 innings. There’s precedent to think that Dickey can be an effective pitcher for years to come. When we start talking about the team’s future rotation, when Harvey and Wheeler reach the majors for good, we should probably include Dickey in there, as well.
What an enjoyable ride this has been!
The Mets should give RA an extension because he can field his position , prepares for games, respects his body and is on a quest to find the perfect knucleball. I see him as long term solution also. If anyone hasn’t read his book yet, it is much more than a baseball book and a must read.
Congratulations RA, what a great night and run you’ve ha so far…it will be great to see you in the ASG! This Mets fan is absolutely taken by the pitcher you has been. It’s a privilege to see him take the hill and take total command. Breaking Kooz’ streak of scoreless ball, the season record for scoreless innings, 10 Ws before the ASG, <1 whip, K/BB insane. It's just amazin.
The flip side of this tale is now, David Wright, whose defense is becoming quite an issue. He lost game 3 in NYC. And he clearly spoiled a no hitter yesterday. He should have made the play on Uptons chopper (I would have scored it an error not in retrospect, but because he deserves it!). His throwing error in the 9th cost RA a shut out and and end to the scoreless inning run, which was set on perpetuity for all we can tell. What is all this hot defensive mess coming from? And by the way for the MLB talking heads (I'm looking right at you Memolo :-/), the Mets appealing Wrights bobble in the 1st is not because they hope to get it overturned (which it wont, and if I were the MLB, i wouldnt over rule the call) as much as it is the team telling RA "were fighting for you as hard as you are fighting for us".
Great job RA. You deserve far more accolades than you are getting.