R.A. Dickey of the New York Mets has been about as dominant as humanly possible over the past few weeks, and it has put him in a spectacular position in the NL Cy Young race.
Dickey has been extremely impressive over his past several starts, baffling batters with his unhittable knuckleball.
In his past 5 starts, he hasn’t allowed a single earned run, becoming the first pitcher in MLB history to not allow an earned run and strike out at least 8 batters in 5 consecutive starts.
Going back to his previous start, where he allowed a single run in 7 innings, he has thrown 42 2/3 consecutive innings without giving up an earned run. If he manages to keep the dominance up, Dickey could break Doc Gooden’s franchise record of 49 straight innings without allowing an earned run.
Dickey could have even threatened Orel Hershiser’s untouchable record of 59 straight scoreless innings, had Dickey not allowed an unearned run during this amazing stretch. Dickey can still break Hershiser’s record for consecutive innings without allowing an earned run).
Most impressive has been Dickey’s past 2 starts, both 1-hitters. He’s the first man to throw back-to-back 1-hitters since Dave Stieb in 1988, and only the 9th man to do it in the past 90 years. An interesting side note is that Stieb lost his no-hitter in both those games with 2 outs in the 9th inning.
But getting back to Dickey, this story is not only a feel-good one, but it’s far from a fluke.
Dickey has been pretty good all season long, and he leads the NL in wins, ERA, and strikeouts. He is 11-1 with a 2.00 ERA and 103 strikeouts as a matter of fact. And while Dickey was never bad in the past, this does come as a big surprise.
A journeyman throughout most of his career, the 35-year old Dickey joined the Mets in 2010 and started the season in Triple-A. He’s come a long way, since then and is now on one of the most dominating runs in MLB history. In his past six starts, Dickey is 6-0 with a 0.18 ERA and 63 strikeouts. In his last start on Monday night, Dickey struck out 13 Orioles, a career-high, and set the franchise record for most consecutive hitless innings with 13.
Ironically, this all happened against Buck Showalter’s team, the man who introduced Dickey to the knuckleball when both men were with the Texas Rangers.
All this being said, it’s very clear that R.A. Dickey is the frontrunner to win the NL Cy Young Award. If the season ended today, Dickey would be the unanimous choice for the Cy Young, and would even have to be in the discussion for MVP as far as I’m concerned (see: Justin Verlander in 2011).
Behind Dickey, the usually hopeless Mets are 36-32, 2nd in the NL East and tied with the Giants for the lead in the Wild Card race. Things are looking up for the Mets, with Dickey’s powerful run and Johan Santana’s no-hitter (the first in franchise history), but history tells us that we have to wait until the end of the season to see if the Mets can actually stay this good.
History also tells us that we’ll have to wait before giving out any awards to Dickey as well. We’ve seen how quickly things can go south for a knuckleballer. One second they can be making a batter look like a complete a fool, and the next second they can be serving up a pitch on a silver platter to be cranked out of the park.
Despite that, I truly believe that R.A. Dickey will at the very least be in the conversation for the NL Cy Young Award. He’s on one of the most dominating runs in history, and it’s fun to watch. I wish him the best of luck going forward, and I hope he can keep this unbelievable stretch going.