Robert Allen Dickey. The man. The myth. The legend. The knuckleballer. The All-Star? Cy Young Award winner?! MVP?!? Hall of Famer?!?!
I may be getting a bit carried away there at the end, but no one can argue that Dickey has been anything but amazing for the Mets in his seven starts since filling in due to injuries.
Dickey improved his record to 6-0 in his first seven starts, lowering his ERA to 2.32 with a dominating eight-inning shutout performance. He has a 35/14 K/BB ratio, with a 1.295 WHIP. He has given up only two home runs in his seven starts, in all of which he has pitched at least six innings. He's also hitting .300 with a .364 OBP!
Dickey's six wins are as many as notable pitchers such as Cliff Lee and Fausto Carmona (whom the Mets are speculated to be trying to acquire), as well as Matt Cain, Francisco Liriano, James Shields, and Jake Peavy—except Dickey has as many wins as them in half the starts. He also has one more win than another potential acquisition, Roy Oswalt.
Many have speculated whether or not Stephen Strasburg deserves a roster spot in the All-Star Game. My personal opinions about the All-Star Game and Strasburg aside, if you think Strasburg deserves a spot on your team, you better reserve a spot for Dickey too.
He has been that good.
For me, Dickey is Exhibit A for why the Mets do not need to and shouldn’t trade for a pitcher this season.
Everyone thinks that mediocre pitchers making spot starts, despite having substantial success initially, are bound to get hit hard and return to mediocrity soon. I’ve been waiting for that to happen with Dickey, and after seven strong starts I don’t think that is going to happen anytime soon. Maybe a bad start or two, but certainly no implosion.
Dickey’s uniqueness as a pitching style is wholly responsible for his initial success, and it will be responsible for his longevity as a bona fide starter in MLB in the future.
Dickey is a hard-throwing knuckleballer, the only one of his kind in all of baseball. He has the dancing knuckleball of Tim Wakefield, which is hard enough to hit, but thrown 10 miles per hour faster. He also mixes that up with a mid-80s fastball with movement, keeping hitters off balance and proving to be a lethal combination.
As long as Dickey can continue to throw strikes and keep himself out of jams, he’s got the recipe for success.
On a side note, Jerry Manuel has to leave Dickey in to get the complete game shutout in situations like last night. Dickey started the eighth inning with 90 pitches and finished that inning with 96, having retired his last 13 batters in a row.
I hate when Jerry makes decisions like that and brings in the soon-to-be overworked bullpen (especially Frankie Rodriguez, who takes an average of 30 pitches and two baserunners to get through an inning) to treat the five-run lead like a save situation, against a team to which Dickey gave up only four hits. But they got the win, and that’s all that matters.
Nonetheless, baseball fans throughout the league have to love what Dickey is doing with the Mets. I, for one, hope to see him continue his stellar performances and pitch in the All-Star Game in Anaheim come July 13.