R.A. Dickey Hopes to Lock up NL Cy Young Tonight

By Matt Musico

It’s been a magical year for R.A. Dickey; the first half of the season was capitalized by his back-to-back one-hitters, while going 12-1 with a 2.40 ERA on his way to getting his first ever All-Star collection. The second half was consumed with fans following him on his road to 20 wins, a mountain he climbed to the top of last Thursday in the Mets’ home finale against the Pirates. Now, his last start of what has been a career year will come tonight, and he couldn’t be happier to have it come against the Marlins.

Not only has he set a record this year by beating Jose Reyes and the Fish five times, he’s abused them over the last two seasons, as Adam Rubin reported the knuckler has gone an insane 8-0 with a 0.92 ERA in eight starts since the start of 2011. Tom Seaver also had an eight-game win streak against the Pirates back in the early 1970s, while Dwight Gooden holds the franchise record by beating the Cubs nine times in a row. So, with 20 wins already under his belt, Dickey is hoping for one more dominant performance to convince the Cy Young voters that he’s worthy of the prestigious award.

Sep 27, 2012; Flushing, NY,USA; New York Mets starting pitcher R.A. Dickey (43) heads to the dugout after being relieved during the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-US PREWIRE

What I love about Dickey is that most pitchers would play down all the speculation that goes with this, but he’s brutally honest about his desire to win the award. His latest comments about the race, which seemingly is a two-man race between him and Gio Gonzalez, are as follows (excerpt taken from ESPN New York):

"“My sole concern again is just to try to put up a good outing. And, at the end, you hope your statistics speak loudly enough that you’re in the race, I guess. Look, the award obviously would be nice. It would be silly to say that it wouldn’t be fantastic. At the same time, you’ve got to be able to lay your head on your pillow — whether you’ve won it or not — and know that you’ve done your best. And I can do that. A 20-win season is also very difficult to get, and thankfully we’ve been able to do that. So, at the very least, to say you were a 20-game winner for the New York Mets, that’s pretty significant for me.”"

Speaking of the statistics, New York’s favorite knuckleballer has put together an impressive resume; as it stands right now, Dickey owns the NL lead in innings pitched (227.2) and strikeouts (222),  while being in the top-five when it comes to wins (20), ERA (2.69), opponent batting average, and WHIP. In the categories he’s not leading, he’s edging out Gonzalez in all but two of them. Dickey is also the first pitcher since Roger Clemens to win 20 games for a team with a losing record, which he did with the Blue Jays in 1997.

After R.A. won his 20th game last week, Terry Collins made a great point in his post-game press conference; Gio Gonzalez is a fantastic pitcher, but it helps that his team owns the second-best record in all of Major League Baseball. What R.A. has done has been more impressive because of the Mets’ struggles and his ability to win despite that. No one even wants to think about where this team would have been without the type of season he’s had. Inevitably, the Cy Young is given to the most outstanding pitcher, and Dickey has been just that, while throwing the most unpredictable pitch in baseball history.

Even though Gonzalez is pitching tonight and can still hold onto the wins title, it’s important for Dickey to have a strong showing against the Marlins, because the voters will remember his last start the most. There’s no better team for the knuckler to finish on a high note against than the Marlins.

Do you think R.A. Dickey will lock up the Cy Young award with tonight’s performance? Let us know what you think.