The Rising Apple staff chooses one player to highlight on our site for their outstanding or unique performance for the last week. If you have a nomination on who should be crowned as the Rising Apple Player of the Week, please let us know! You can leave us a comment, tweet us (@RisingAppleBlog) or make a comment on Facebook.
With two more dominant starts under his belt this past week, R.A. Dickeyhas earned his second Rising Apple Player of the Week award this season. The knuckleballer continues to impress everyone around the league as he makes a push to be considered for this year’s NL Cy Young. Since giving up 5 runs on 10 hits on August 15th in Cincinnati, Dickey has buckled down and get back to the version of him we’re used to in his last four starts, as he’s only allowed 4 runs and has struck out 20 hitters.
Before we get into his historic season, let’s take a look at what he’s specifically done this week that convinced our staff that he was the most outstanding performer. On August 31st in Miami, the knuckler was dancing big time as he stifled the Marlins for his fifth complete game of the season, and third shutout of the year, giving him his 17th win of the season. In St. Louis on Wednesday, Terry Collins asked him to prevent the sweep, which he’s done brilliantly multiple times, and this was no different. He gave up 2 runs while pitching into the 7th inning, and used an Ike Davis home run to pitch with a cushion for a good portion of the afternoon.
Dickey currently owns a R.A.diculous 18-4 record, 2.64 ERA, and 1.03 WHIP. While no one expected him to mirror his 12-1, 2.40 ERA first half, he’s done a good job at staying consistent, producing a 6-3 mark and 3.00 ERA since appearing in his first career All-Star game. While Johnny Cueto‘s 2.58 ERA slightly edges Dickey’s, the Mets righty is tied for first with his 18 wins, which is the most for the Amazins since Frank Viola‘s 20 wins in 1990. He’s second in the NL with 198 innings pitched, has the third lowest opponent batting average (.221), the second-lowest WHIP (1.03), and the second-most strikeouts (195), which is tied with strikeout machine, Stephen Strasburg.
So, as if you couldn’t tell, no one needs to convince me that this man deserves the Cy Young this year, as it’s clear that he’s been the most consistently dominant pitcher in the National League in 2012. When asked about the possibility of getting to 20 wins for the first time in his career, and first time in 20 years for someone in a Mets uniform, Dickey couldn’t have had a better response:
“I hope for that; I hope to win beyond 20. I don’t know how many starts – maybe five left – why not try to win them all? As far as getting to that plateau, it would be really satisfying.” (thanks to NorthJersey.com for the quote)
Every baseball player strives for perfection; it’s something that happens constantly in a game of failure. That’s why ballplayers keep on coming back for more, to get that feeling of perfection. If they ever do get it, they spend the rest of their career trying to get back to that feeling. It’s refreshing to hear Dickey come out and just say that he’s shooting for 20 wins, and even more so, to win every start he has left. Who doesn’t want to do that? With the way that knuckler has been dancing this year, he could be on his way.
Honorable Mention: A shutout goes to the Mets bullpen; even though they’re still among the league’s worst when it comes to reliever ERA (4.73), collectively, the ‘pen had a tremendous week, as