With yet another sensational performance, New York Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey captured his 20th win of the season Thursday in the team's 6-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The knuckleballer confounded Pittsburgh hitters throughout the contest, striking out 13 batters and giving up three runs in 7.2 innings before giving way to the bullpen.
Dickey's record now stands at 20-6 after Thursday's game, and his 2.69 ERA is second in the National League behind the Los Angeles Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw. He is also the Major League's second 20-game winner after the Washington Nationals' Gio Gonzalez attained his coveted victory on Sept. 22 against the Milwaukee Brewers.
While both Gonzalez and Dickey deserve credit for their excellence all season, the 37-year-old Mets star has had a season that stands out above most in recent memory.
Most players who win 20 games are a part of top-tier playoff clubs whose run support buoys even the most questionable performance into a victory. That's not the case with Dickey, whose Mets have won just 72 games and have seemingly used Dickey's excellence as a beacon of light in a lost season.
Dickey also has one of the most interesting stories in all of baseball. Left at a career crossroads after injuries siphoned the zip from his fastball, Dickey transitioned to using the knuckleball in 2005.
In his third season in New York, he has become the toast of the town and is the Mets' first 20-game winner in 22 years.
Going forward, it remains to be seen whether he can keep this going long term. Nevertheless, it's a magical season that will go down as one of the best in franchise history.