With a 4-0 win over the Cardinals this afternoon, R.A. Dickey, of all people, is cementing his place as the ace of the Mets' pitching staff. Dickey went 8.1 innings today, allowing no runs and only four hits while lowering his ERA to 2.32.
In 14 starts since being called up from Triple-A Buffalo, Dickey has allowed four or more runs just twice, while averaging 6.2 innings per start.
I would still pick Johan Santana to start a must-win game, but Dickey has been the most consistent starter since May and has put up excellent numbers while pitching deep into games.
There can't be enough said on how important the emergence of Dickey has been to lightening the load that manager Jerry Manuel puts on his bullpen. All of this from a man who has two primary pitches and is missing his ulnar collateral ligament.
The Mets brought Dickey in before spring training for insurance and to add depth to their rotation. After a rough spring training, it looked as if Dickey would have no chance of pitching for the Mets unless injuries occurred.
Well, injuries to Maine and Perez opened the door for Dickey to get an opportunity. Pitching coach Dan Warthen had a talk with Dickey when he arrived and suggested that he throw his knuckleball harder to create sharper movement when the ball entered the zone.
He took that advice from Warthen and hasn't looked back since.
Dickey has created a problem for the Mets. If he continues his success for the rest of the season, do the Mets give the soon-to-be 36-year-old journeyman, with no real prior success, a contract? More than that, can the Mets depend on him to be a solid piece of their rotation in the future?
I think he can continue to be fairly successful; a solid starter in the back end of the rotation at CitiField. There are still two full months left in the season, but at this rate the Mets need to re-sign their ace, R.A. Dickey.