There’s no question that Johan Santana, who tossed the first ever no-hitter in club history just days ago, is the ace of the New York Mets. That said, the guy who has to follow him isn’t half bad either. That man is 37-year-old pitcher turned knuckleballer, R.A. Dickey. Back in 2010 the Mets signed the journeyman pitcher to a minor league deal and he burst onto their radar when after allowing a leadoff single in the first, he retired 27 straight batters. Upon making his Mets debut soon after, it was clear that the Mets had found something in Mr. Dickey and it’s only gotten better ever since.
After a very impressive 2011 season, R.A. Dickey has taken it to an entirely different level in this 2012 campaign. In 11 starts this year Dickey is 8-1 (tied for the most wins in all of baseball) with a 2.69 ERA and has won his last four starts. In fact if you take out one start in Atlanta where it rained all day (as many know, it’s incredibly difficult to throw a knuckleball effectively in the rain), Dickey is 8-0 with an ERA of just 1.82.
On Friday, as you all know, Johan Santana pitched an unbelievably gritty no-hitter. The man who had to follow that act was Dickey. So what did he do? He threw a complete game shutout of his own, allowing 7 hits and only being in real danger once. In his last three starts R.A. has been incredible, striking out 30 and walking just one. Think about that. For any pitcher, walking one batter in the course of three starts is amazing, but this is a knuckleball pitcher, he shouldn’t have that kind of command. Too bad he does.
He throws a “normal” knuckleball, one that rises, a fast one and even a slow one (clocked as low as 54 MPH in Saturday’s start) and unlike pitchers like Tim Wakefield, his fastball isn’t a horrible pitch either, usually topping out at 84 MPH. He may not be the ace of this staff but there would be a slew of teams who would love to have him anchor their staff. One thing’s for sure, the Mets have a hell of a 1-2 punch.
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