Thursday, June 14, 2012

Stranger Than Fiction: R.A. Dickey Is One Of The Top Pitchers In Baseball

Matt Cain, the great Giants pitcher, threw the 22nd perfect game in baseball history last night, the first ever for a Giant.  And then there is R.A. Dickey of the Mets who, but for a scorekeeper's call, may have thrown a no-hitter himself.  In the first inning the Rays' B.J. Upton hit the ball to third which David Wright tried to snag bare-handed and muffed.  It was scored a hit and proved to be the only hit Dickey gave up.  Wright's throwing error in the ninth and a couple of passed balls by the catcher led to an unearned run, the first run Dickey has given up in 32 2/3 innings, a Met record, by the way.

Dickey is now tied for the most wins in the Majors with 10, and is near the top in virtually every pitching category.  Although he throws almost 30 miles per hour slower than Justin Verlander, he is just as dominant.

Dickey, now 37 years old, is not your typical ace pitcher.  After he was drafted by the Texas Rangers in 1996, was it discovered that he was missing the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching arm.  A mediocre pitcher with unconventional stuff, he developed a knuckleball, with which he finally gained some modicum of success as a Met over the last couple of years.

Even before this year Dickey endeared himself to Met fans with his intensity and his quirkiness (he is an avid reader and keeps a stack of books in the dugout) and by his fairly decent playing for a pretty dismal team (winning 11 games in 2010 and pitching well last year despite an 8-13 losing record.) 

He has also written a remarkably courageous book, Wherever I Wind Up, in which he discusses not only his baseball career and the knuckleball, but his painful and traumatic childhood during which he was sexually abused.

Over the winter, after Dickey climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro for charity (seriously) I wrote with only a little bit of irony that this would probably be the highlight of the Mets' season.  (See Dickey Reaches Peak of His Game.)  But not only are the Mets playing surprisingly well this year, R.A. Dickey truly is reaching new heights.


Ty said...

Interesting b/c they say that the official scorers tend to call the first possible error an error not a hit, but I guess this was too early in the game to be thinking he might have a no-hitter. If the same exact play was in the 7th, they would have called it an error.

lonbud said...

I love when you write your own stuff, Andy. Almost every time, what you have to say is insightful and well put. Keep up the good work!

Unknown said...

Lovechilde - you are right on, as usual! Dickey is HOT, and as we know,
baseball is all about the team energy - when its cold, no one hits, errors get made, etc.. Cain's perfect game was also a defensive gem by the error prone Giants. Psychology crosses over into physiology in these times and it seems like grounders get thru when you're winning, close calls go your way, etc..
No other game has a "team energy" like baseball I think. Football, basketball, hockey, all have moments where one person gets hot, and maybe it'll catch and spread into a team sync, but baseball seems the most obvious.

Great job Lovechilde - love the playlists as well!

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