A not so funny thing happened to R.A. Dickey on the way to September. In July of this season, on Friday the 13th no less, Murphy’s Law came rumbling through Flushing. Since then, all that could go wrong for the Mets, has. The rubble of a continued post All Star Game collapse is piling high. But Mets fans need to wait until the end of the season before assessing the damage more closely. First they must allow this season to run its course, wait for the tremors to subside, and patiently let the dust settle.
Since that fateful Friday the 13th, it has become increasingly evident the team is playing down to the expectations set by experts back in Spring Training. Depending on your perspective, they may be playing above or below popular opinion. This much is fact, with a 59-69 record to date, the Mets are in fourth place and losing credibility fast. After a day off, they enter tonight’s action a mere 1.5 games ahead of last place Miami.
Unlike the Flushing Nine, the underachieving Marlins were predicted to be much better than they’ve been. And for what my opinion is worth, as long as Jeff Loria owns that team, they will continue functioning in an impetuous manner. But I digress. Today, the Mets are now resoundingly considered nothing more than a first-half wonder. And in truth, all that separates the Amazins from the National League East cellar, is a mishandled cooler of rotting fish.
Here is another unfortunate aspect of this whole season. The Mets poor second half may conspire against R.A. Dickey, and thwart any efforts towards winning the Cy Young award. Although the knuckle ball pitcher continues to excel on the mound, his mates continue to dig themselves deeper into the ground.
Recent history says I could be over blowing the situation. Clayton Kershaw won last year’s award with a 21-5 record despite his team finishing 11.5 games out of first. With a 19-6 record, Jake Peavy won the 2007 Cy Young for a third place, eighty-nine win Padres team. And here’s the one that hits home for Mets fans. In 2006, Brandon Webb won the award with a 16-8 record, while pitching for the fourth place; 76-86; Arizona D-Backs. Like Arizona then, ten games under .500 and in fourth place is precisely where the Mets find themselves at this very moment. So winning this season’s Cy Young award while pitching for a bad club is by no stretch out of the question.
R.A. Dickey is up against some very stiff competition however. Cincinnati’s Johnny Cueto and Washington’s Stephen Strasburg will be getting major consideration. They are having equally stellar seasons. Among others, Clayton Kershaw’s name is back in the mix as well. The Reds and Nats are in first place of their respective divisions. Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers trail the N.L. West leading Giants by two games. We already discussed the Mets situation.
Hypothetically speaking, should R.A. Dickey finish the season shades better than other Cy Young candidates, does the Mets lack of contention hurt his chances? That scenario is more than plausible. Individually, R.A. Dickey, Johnny Cueto, and Stephen Strasburg have hurled similarly dominant seasons. So the deciding factor may very well boil down to which team benefited more from a Cy Young worthy effort. There should be no backlash with that decision process. Say R.A. Dickey does not earn the award despite slightly superior numbers, Mets fans may just have to take it in stride. No one says you have to like it though. And for fans who base the award based purely on numbers, I feel for you.
In a wholly Mets point of view, winning the Cy Young would actually be somewhat appropriate, if not ironic. Although things are going badly for the Mets as a team, the season has been rich with personal achievements. David Wright’s career as a Met, with emphasis on this season in particular, has greatly altered the Club’s record books. Johan Santana threw the first ever no-hitter in Mets history. Jordany Valdespin broke a club record for pinch hit home runs. Mike Baxter entered the books by drawing five walks in a game. Matt Harvey set the team rookie record for strikeouts in a Mets debut. And then there is R.A. Dickey’s season. He broke Jerry Koosman’s club record for consecutive scoreless innings pitched. And it was during that streak R.A. Dickey triumphantly tossed back to back one-hitters.
Last year, Mets fans agreed R.A. was better than his record indicated. With better run support and a little more luck, many thought R.A. Dickey could have a substantially better 2012 season. But did fans or experts expect him to be this good? I thought he could be a fifteen game winner. Is that about right Mets fans? But who could have predicted in March and April, R.A. Dickey’s season would turn into this? Regrettably, R.A. Dickey’s name potentially faces exclusion from the list of 2012 Cy Young award candidates. The latest in a series of second half collapses for the Mets, stands poised to adversely affect R.A. Dickey’s consideration for the post-season honor.
R.A. Dickey last pitched on August 25th against the Houston Astros. The Mets won that game and snapped a six game losing streak in the process. Sadly, at the time it was the only club’s seventh win in August. I’m not trying to beat a dead horse here. But while the team’s season has taken a turn for the worse, I would argue R.A. Dickey’s performance still warrants consideration for the Cy Young award.
Among National League pitchers, R.A. Dickey leads the circuit with sixteen wins. He is actually tied with Johnny Cueto. His one hundred eighty-three strikeouts and four complete games top the League as well. He is third with 182.1 innings pitched. And his 2.76 ERA, and a 1.02 WHiP, each rank fourth.
Dickey needs four more wins to reach the traditionally celebrated benchmark of single season proficiency. His first chance to win number seventeen is scheduled for this coming Friday against Miami. After that, he might be able to squeeze another five starts out of the 2012 regular season. If he continues pitching in line with his remarkable .800 winning percentage, R.A. is a cinch to reach twenty wins.
With seventeen more strikeouts, he will also have racked-up two hundred for the season. While we’re at it, if he keeps his ERA below three, what a magnificent 2012 pitching line Dickey’s will be. Cy Young or not, maybe consideration is all he deserves. The debate still has time to unfold. Regardless, R.A. Dickey’s season is well on its way towards becoming one of the ten best a Mets hurler ever had.