Ever since the All-Star break ended, the New York Mets have been struggling. The pitching has not been how it was in the first half of the season and the offense is struggling to produce runs. Now with the final two-month stretch coming up before the playoffs arrive, the Mets chances of making the playoffs look slim. That has brought up some talk about pitching R.A. Dickey on three days rest.
This kind of talk is not unusual to hear from a team that is trying to make a late push into the playoffs. A few years ago, the Milwaukee Brewers traded for C.C. Sabathia and pitched him on three days rest to help get them into the playoffs. The Brewers knew that Sabathia was a rental and that he most likely sign somewhere else at seasons end so there really wasn’t much to lose. However, in the case for the Mets, this situation doesn’t warrant Dickey pitching on short rest.
The concept is that since Dickey is a knuckleball pitcher he is using less stress on his arm and has the ability to go out on short rest. That may be true, but he is 37 years old which should be a factor whether he is a knuckleball pitcher or not. No one has ever defeated father time and the Mets don’t need to rush the process of it catching up to Dickey.
As of right now, the Mets are 11 games out of first place in the N.L. East and are 8.5 games out of the wild card. Their playoffs hopes are all but gone. The odds of the Mets making up that gap on one team is hard enough, but they will have to leap frog multiple teams to make the playoffs. So with low playoff odds, is there really any gain to pitching Dickey on three days rest?
The answer is no.
Dickey is clearly the best pitcher on the team right now for New York. However, he has come back to Earth some in his last few starts and his not as dominate as he was earlier in the season. Pitching him more often will not solve the any issues especially if he isn’t pitching lights out constantly anymore.
If the Mets can somehow make a late playoff push that would be great, but it has to be done with Dickey pitching on normal rest. He is too valuable to the team for the rest of this season and for next year to risk screwing anything up.
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