New York Mets starting pitcher R.A. Dickey is having a good season so far and there are many who are already considering him the frontrunner for the National League Cy Young Award.
Dickey improved his record to 11-1 on the season with a dismantling of the Baltimore Orioles Monday night at Citi Field. Dickey allowed just one hit, a clean single to Wilson Betemit in the fifth inning in a 5-0 Mets win, his third complete game and second shutout of the season. The one-hitter followed up his one hit complete game performance over Tampa Bay last Wednesday. Dickey became the first pitcher since Dave Stieb of the Toronto Blue Jays to throw consecutive one hit complete games. Stieb accomplished the feat in his final two starts of the 1988 season.
Dickey struck out 13 Orioles hitters Monday night, establishing a new career high. His previous best was 12, set in the start against the Rays five days earlier. He’s the first pitcher of the modern era to throw back-to-back one hit complete games with at least 10 strikeouts in each. In addition, Dickey is the first pitcher in big league history to throw back-to-back one hit complete games in interleague play.
Dickey leads the majors in earned run average with a mark of 2.00, in complete games with three and he’s tied for the league lead in shutouts with a pair. He boasts the majors best WHIP at 0.889 and is top in strikeouts, with 103. He joined a select group of pitchers to boast at least 11 wins, an earned run average below 2.50 and average at least one strikeout per inning in the first 14 starts of a season. The others who make that accomplishment list include Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and Francisco Liriano, who was the last person to pull the feat off before Dickey. Liriano did it in 2006.
Dickey has not allowed an earned run in his last 42.2 innings of work and set a major league record with five consecutive starts allowing no earned runs and striking out at least eight hitters. That puts Dickey in striking range of the franchise record; Dwight Gooden went 49 consecutive innings with allowing an earned run in 1985. Last week, Dickey broke the franchise record for consecutive scoreless innings with 32.2; the previous mark of 31.2 innings was held by Jerry Koosman in 1973.
He already matched his career best in victories and is on pace to shatter his career best in strikeouts. He fanned 134 hitters last season in 208.2 innings of work last season. He now holds the franchise record for the earliest point in the season that a Mets pitcher got to ten games over .500, besting Tom Seaver, who accomplished it in New York’s 77th game in the year of the Amazin’ Mets in 1969. Dickey accomplished the feat in game 68 for the team.
The Mets hold a $5 million option on the 37-year-old Dickey for 2013 and it seems a virtual certainty that the team would pick it up. With the All Star Game less than a month away, it’s a two pitcher race between Dickey and Matt Cain for the starting role for the National League. They are also considered front runners for the National League Cy Young Award.
Would Dickey get your vote for the National League Cy Young Award?