Sports

A Closer Look at R.A. Dickey’s Dominance

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R.A. Dickey’s nine-game winning roll came to a halt on Sunday night against the Yankees. His streak of 44 2/3 innings without an earned run melted away. Yet rather than harp on an off night from baseball’s hottest pitcher, the end of an unforgettable run gives us a real chance to reflect back on the enormity of his accomplishments. We do it here with exclusive audio clips and some nifty numbers to absorb.

Even the team that defeated him for just his second loss of the season spoke admirably about the Mets unassuming, yet highly effective starter. “He’s got one pitch, but he is probably the hardest-throwing knuckleballer of all time,” Yankees catcher Russell Martin said. “He has really proven he can become an ace.”

Dickey’s locker at Citi Field does not seem like the home of a star hurler. It’s humble, with books along the top and no music pumping or any real excessive extras. It’s the lair of a very serious man who values his space to think and go through his routines. Dickey does not smile much, and he eyes visitors to his locker with a palpable sense of caution. He’s not rude, but you can feel the imaginary wall between him and the outside world. Dickey thinks everything through, he’s a legendary detail man to his teammates who can truly shatter his veneer. Whether it’s preparing for the next start, reading a book or even playing in a Fantasy Football league, Dickey executes everything to the fullest extent. He plays in a dynasty Fantasy league. He’s going to outwit, ouwork and outpoint you no matter what he engages in.

So after allowing five earned runs in six innings to the Yankees, Dickey is surely dissecting all the details of his performance. Just like he surely did after his worst start of the year, on April 14, when he surrendered eight runs in 4.1 innings. Dickey then went on a tear that culminated with him registering historic back-to-back one hitters on June 13 and 18. It was the most electric consecutive performances New York has seen since the Knicks’ Bernard King scored 50 points on successive nights in 1984.

Along the way, here are some of the notable numbers Dickey notched:

  • Became the only pitcher in modern Major League Baseball history to throw back-to-back complete games while striking out 10 or more and allowing one or no hits in each game.
  • Had five straight starts where he did not allow an earned run and notched eight or more strikeouts, the longest streak in MLB history.
  • Dickey won his six starts prior to Sunday, recording 63 strikeouts and allowing only two runs during that span. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no other MLB pitcher since 1900 went 6-0 with at least 60 strikeouts and two or fewer runs allowed over a span of six straight starts.
  • In his June 13 start against Tampa Bay, Dickey set a Mets record with 32.2 consecutive scoreless innings pitched, breaking Jerry Koosman’s 31.2 scoreless mark set in 1973 .
  • Became the first Met since David Cone in 1988 to have two separate back-to-back double-digit strikeout games in the same season…

  • In his last 11 starts dating to April 25 prior to Sunday, Dickey was 9-0 with a 1.21 ERA (11 earned runs in 81.2 innings pitched). He had a quality start in all 11 turns. Among all MLB starters during that span, Dickey ranked first in wins (nine), first in innings pitched (81.2), first in ERA(1.21), and first in opposing batting average (.162).
  • Dickey was the first Met since Dwight Gooden in 1985 to not allow an earned run in five straight starts…
  • Dickey was 11-1 entering the Mets’ 74th game of the season on Sunday. No pitcher in Mets history had ever been 10 games above .500 that early (in terms of team games played) in a season.
  • Dickey tossed 12.0 consecutive hitless innings over his last two starts before Sunday to set a Mets franchise record.
  • Dickey was named the National League Player of the Week for the period beginning May 21. He went 2-0 with a 0.63 ERA (one earned run in14.1 innings pitched). He struck out 21 in those 14.1 innings.

There’s much more to chew on, enough to spend much more time and copy on, and it’s all impressive considering the Mets have a pitching-rich history that features names like Seaver, Gooden, Koosman and many more. Now it’s time to hear from the guys who work with him the most intimately, though. They take you closer to this season’s most unlikely pitching standout.

Josh Thole talks about how he prepares for an R.A. Dickey start.

Get the rest of this article over at TheXLog.