All-Star Rosters 2012: R.A. Dickey Cheated Out of Start in Favor of Matt Cain

Alex GiobbiAnalyst IJuly 9, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 05:  R.A. Dickey #43 of the New York Mets pitches in the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field on July 5, 2012 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

As much as I respect Tony La Russa, as much as I admire his winning ways, I have to say that he goofed in picking San Francisco Giants starter Matt Cain over R.A. Dickey to start the All-Star Game. 

This is the second time the Mets have been given the short end of the stick in favor of San Francisco, following the Pablo Sandoval over David Wright controversy. And since it was La Russa who chose Cain, not the fans, it almost feels as if La Russa got far too acquainted with the salty air from McCovey Cove.

Let's take a look at what has happened so far this year for both men: Dickey has won a league leading 12 games (with one loss), is fifth in the NL with an ERA of 2.40 and is second in the NL in strikeouts.

He has pitched two consecutive one-hitters, a feat rarer than both a no-hitter and a perfect game, and he seems to be the leading candidate to win the NL Cy Young. Sure, his last start was shaky, but he hasn't lost since April in Atlanta, when he threw "water balloons".

On the other side of the spectrum, Cain is ninth in the NL in wins with nine (against three losses), seventh in ERA with a 2.62 mark and fourth in strikeouts with 128. Cain did pitch a perfect game, but then again, so did Phil Humber this year.

This may have been expected, as La Russa had mentioned that for "comfort issues", he might go for Cain over Dickey. But come on, Dickey and his personal catcher, Josh Thole, both offered to teach Posey the art of catching the knuckleball.

What really bothers me is Terry Collins, who is one of La Russa's coaches, didn't try to convince his superior otherwise, simply letting the matter go. A manager needs to stick up for his players, even if it means putting his neck on the line.

La Russa isn't the best in baseball. If he was, then he would have won the World Series every year, fielded a lineup chock full of All-Stars, and had been named Manager of the Year every year from 1976-2011. 

All in all, this should incite the Mets, their fans and any anybody affiliated with the team to make a push for October in the hopes of facing San Francisco—whether it be in the Wild Card round or later.

In addition, Dickey needs to continue to outperform Cain in every possible way. He needs to pitch with a fire in his belly and hope for the ultimate confrontation. He needs to forget about Philadelphia and prove that the first half was no fluke. This is Dickey's year and he knows it.

Let's hope he can prove La Russa wrong and pitch flawlessly this game. Let's hope it is he and Wright who make it known that they should have been the starters, that they deserve to win, that they can take down the AL and keep the NL as the top league.