In R.A. Dickey’s Cy Young season in 2012, he did something for the New York Mets not many people talk about. Dickey threw a pair of one-hitters in back-to-back starts.
Dickey did that and more in his ridiculous 2012 campaign. The 37-year-old knuckleballer led the league with 230 strikeouts, 5 complete games, and 3 shutouts. In a pair of June interleague match-ups, Dickey did something more people should mention whenever his name comes up.
When Dickey took the mound on June 13, 2012, he was already 9-1 with a 2.44 ERA. He continually dazzled on the mound. Less than two weeks removed from throwing a shutout against the St. Louis Cardinals, Dickey went with the Mets down to Tampa Bay to face the Rays.
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Despite having a designated hitter to deal with and up against the man who would go onto win the 2012 American League Cy Award, David Price, Dickey was fantastic. Among the 29 batters he faced in this complete game, only one reached base via a hit.
With two outs in the first inning, Melvin Upton as he was known at the time, reached first base on an infield single to third base. No other Rays would reach base until Elliot Johnson got to first on a ninth inning David Wright error. A pair of passed balls helped moved him up to third base where Desmond Jennings would drive him in with a groundout.
Dickey finished this game with 12 strikeouts and two plays shy of a no-hitter. The Mets won with ease by a score of 9-1.
In his next start on June 18, Dickey was back at Citi Field. This time, the American League team was visiting his turf. The Baltimore Orioles were in town and Dickey would once again go the distance while allowing only one hit all day.
This game may have been a little less disheartening in terms of how close Dickey Came. Wilson Betemit hit a line drive single in the fifth inning to break up the no-hitter. Dickey did issue a pair of walks as well, facing a total of 30 batters on the day.
Just as he faced Price in his previous start, on this day, Dickey was going up against future Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta. Dickey got the best of him and the Orioles in the 5-0 win backed by his 13 strikeouts.
Only one player in MLB history has thrown back-to-back no-hitters, Johnny Vander Meer. The 1938 accomplishment is something Dickey came close to matching. Instead, he’ll settle with the pair of one-hitters and a large piece of hardware awarded to him at the end of the year for being the best pitcher in the National League.
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It’s a worthy consolation prize for a missed opportunity at making history.