After R.A. Dickey allowed five runs in six innings to the New York Yankees in his last start on June 24th, speculators started to question whether the knuckleballer could continue his stellar performance later into the season.
They believed that his last performance was going to be a sign of things to come for Dickey. The clock is eventually going to strike midnight for the Cinderella of the Major Leagues, they said.
So much for that.
Dickey bounced back very nicely from his rough outing with another dominant performance of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Granted, the Dodgers have been missing NL MVP runner-up Matt Kemp and 2011 All-Star Andre Ethier from their lineup because of injuries.
Along with that L.A. lost five straight and nine of their last 10 heading into Friday's contest with the Mets. So the Dodgers have not been the hottest team on the planet lately, but as Dickey has done all year, he just took care of business.
Dickey pitched eight innings of shutout ball, only surrendering three hits while striking out 10. He is now the major league leader in wins with 12 and WHIP (.88) among starters. He also has 116 strikeouts and a minuscule 2.15 ERA.
His performance in the first half of this season is a major reason that the Mets are even in contention in the National League East. There is no pitcher who has meant more to his team than Dickey.
For the aforementioned reasons, manager of the National League All-Stars, Tony La Russa, should pencil in Dickey's name to the be his starter for the All-Star game.
Names such as the San Francisco Giants' Matt Cain and the Washington Nationals' Stephen Strasburg, among a few others, are possible candidates to start instead of R.A. Dickey. While they have obviously had great seasons, they have not been as consistent or dominant as Dickey.
Not only does Dickey deserve this accolade because of his performance, his knuckleball can really disrupt the rhythms of the AL starters, who tend to get two at-bats each before being subbed. If La Russa started the game with Dickey's tantalizing knuckler for the first few innings and then inserted the flamethrower Strasburg directly after, it could work the National League's advantage.
In a contest that that has so much significance, the NL must seek any advantage they can get.
R.A. Dickey has one more start scheduled before the All-Star game against the Philadelphia Phillies, and unless he has an abysmal performance against them, there is absolutely no reason why La Russa should not pick him to be the starter for the NL.
And what a storyline it would be if he is named a starter. Even R.A. Dickey couldn't have written a better story.
Erick Fernandez is the creator of I Want to Thank My Hood & My Psychiatrist