Mets look to R.A. Dickey to help end three-game skid
Tonight Robert Allen “R.A.” Dickey takes the mound for the New York Mets against the Baltimore Orioles as they attempt to halt their second three-game skid in ten days out in Flushing. In a season that’s already provided Mets fans with more highlights than they ever dreamed possible, Dickey has been the brightest spot of all. And given the history of where he came from and what type of pitcher he is, that’s pretty damn remarkable.So the Orioles come to Queens tonight having won seven of their last eight and the suddenly streaky Mets needing to snap another slide. And who better to help them accomplish this than their 37-year-old knuckleballer. It’s funny to even write such a thing. The adjectives usually reserved for describing knuckleball pitchers are along the lines of, “unpredictable,” “hot and cold,” and flat out “wild.” And guys who rely on the knuckleball are usually back-of-the-rotation types who are clinging to their place on the team and in the league. Yet here’s R.A. Dickey, nice guy, team player, knuckleballer, and the pitcher the Mets and their fans can’t wait to see on the hill tonight as they look to get back to their winning ways.
Last week Dickey became the majors’ first 10-game winner as he baffled the Tampa Bay Rays en route to a one-hit, 12-strikeout performance. The win could have easily been the Mets’ second no-hitter of the young season if not for a tough first-inning chance by third baseman David Wright. Although the Mets appeal to the league office fell short, Dickey was good-natured about the whole thing throughout, even joking with teammates about possibly having to stage a mock no-hitter celebration upon their return to Citi Field. First and foremost that’s what he strikes you as, a good teammate. He’s a 37-year-old knuckleballer who didn’t break into the bigs until he was 26. He comes across as a genuinely humble guy who realizes how lucky he is to be playing baseball every day and getting paid for it. How many guys can you say that about?
While Johan Santana justifiably grabbed lots of national attention with his recent no-hitter against the Cardinals (the first in Mets history), it’s really Dickey who has had consistently electric stuff. He’s 8-0 in his last 10 starts and he enters tonight’s game sporting a 2.20 era while riding a personal five-game winning streak. If that’s not enough, he also set a Mets franchise record by going 32 2/3 innings without allowing a run, before the Rays pushed one across in the ninth courtesy of an error by Wright and two passed balls. Afterwards Dickey shrugged off the accomplishment and the way in which it ended by saying, “It’s a good opportunity to start another one.” That’s the type of person he is, a competitor for sure, but one with some perspective.