R.A. Dickey’s Next Start is Critical

R.A. Dickey won his 19th game of the season today, which is the most wins by any Mets pitcher since 1990. That was the year that Frank Viola won 20 and Dwight Gooden won 19.

Today’s win against the Marlins also gives Dickey 12 wins in day games, which ties Cincinatti’s Johnny Cueto for the most in the majors.

The Mets swapped their rotation around to afford R.A. Dickey the luxary of pitching another game at Citi Field, this time against a more formidable opponent, the Pittsburgh Pirates, who are still in contention for a Wild Card spot.

This is a team that is coming off a nine-game losing streak at home, and a run where they scored less than three runs in 16 straight home games. We all know the offense is streaky and Dickey’s record should really reflect better than what is actually is. But people still come to Citi Field if they know Dickey is pitching. I had the privilege of seeing him pitch his one-hitter against Tampa Bay, and I was just in awe. Even in a matchup that seemed like a pitcher’s duel on paper (it was Dickey vs. David Price after all), Dickey dominated his opponent and did the job the Mets are paying him to do.

Dickey and pitching coach Dan Warthen suggested that Dickey pitch next Thursday’s home finale against Pittsburgh instead of pitching Friday in Atlanta. It may have been the best move Dickey has made this season; in his three starts against Atlanta, he has an 8.80 ERA (even though one of the games was waterlogged). In his start against the Pirates this season, Dickey has allowed one run over seven innings pitched.

I think Dickey’s 20 wins will give the Mets and their fans something to be proud of. In a season mostly downs, R.A. Dickey will dominate the highlight reel. In years to come, we will be able to go back and say, “Hey, 2012 wasn’t all that bad. That was the year Dickey won 20 games.”

And in 2013, we’ll hopefully see better things to come with Dickey and Matt Harvey sitting at the top of the rotation.

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