Though most New York Mets fans have written off this 2012 season already at this point anyway, with every day that passes the Mets chances of making the playoffs are mathematically diminishing, leaving fans little reason to make the trek out to the ballpark.
But there is still one reason, and that is R.A. Dickey.
Fans still want to be at Citi Field to partake in R.A.’s quest for 20 wins in what has definitely been a Cy Young type season for the 37-year old knuckle ball pitcher. Let’s face it, it’s the only exciting thing left about the Mets this year.
While the Cy Young award is voted on upon by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America, and it’s not necessarily about statistics, I want to throw some statistics out there anyway, just to make it obvious as why to R.A. Dickey is deserving of this honor.
1. Record. Dickey earned his league leading 18th win, tied with Gio Gonzalez of the Washington Nationals, against the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night. Not only does he have 18 wins, he only has four losses. Four. Only four times this whole entire season has the ball been put in the hands of R.A. to start a game, and the Mets have walked off the field as losers (due to R.A.). It’s gotten to the point where you think he is going to win every time he starts a game. Aside from Johnny Cueto of the Cincinnati Reds with 17 wins, the next closest pitchers in the National League are three wins behind (Stephen Strausburg and A.J. Burnett with 15 wins each).
2. ERA. Dickey’s 2.64 ERA is second in the league only to Cueto’s 2.58, and that number was really inflated by the one terrible game Dickey had in the beginning of the season when he gave up eight earned runs to the Atlanta Braves in his third start.
3. Innings pitched. Now of course R.A. is a knuckle ball pitcher, so velocity isn’t his thing, which allows him to go deeper into games. He has pitched 198 innings so far this season, which is second in the league and 9.1 more innings than Cueto. It’s like R.A. really pitched another 1.5-2 games more than Cueto.
4. Hits. Dickey has only given up 158 hits in those 198 innings pitched. And only 18 of those hits have been home runs.
5. Runs. R.A. has given up only 64 runs all year, 58 of which were earned. 48 other pitchers have given up more runs in the National League.
6. Walks. Only 45 walks have been yielded by R.A. this year. That’s less than half of the National League leading 94 walks given up by Edinson Volquez from the San Diego Padres.
7. Average. Batters are only hitting .221 off of Dickey, which is the third lowest average in the National League.
8. WHIP. While I swear that WHIP has only become popular this year, and most of us are still trying to figure out exactly how it is calculated, you can find Dickey’s name atop that list also. Second in the league by only one hundredth of a point to Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers, R.A.’s WHIP is a commanding 1.02
9. Complete games. Dickey has five of the Mets seven complete games this year. Every single team in the National League, witch the exception of the Reds who have eight and the Mets with their seven, have as many or less that R.A. Dickey does alone.
10. He’s a good guy. Aside from all the other stats like his three shutouts, or the fact that the Mets lack of run support in some of his losses and no decisions prevented him from acquiring more wins, there is no denying the fact that R.A. Dickey is a great story, from his personal life to his professional career. Baseball writers have to have some kind of heart, don’t they?
In an era of America’s pastime that’s very much confused right now (are we still in the steroid era or aren’t we?), it’s a breath of fresh air that a man so well established into his career can step up and have the type of season he’s having. Especially considering the season the Mets are having.
Throughout the last few weeks of this season I will be at the games that R.A. is starting only. Sure go ahead and question my loyalty, but if you make it out to the stadium anymore this year do me a favor and take a quick poll. How many people in attendance are there to truly cheer on their team, and how many are there for the Shake Shack burgers?
Come on baseball writers. The man already lost his bracelets. Don’t deny him of this award that baseball fans across the country knows he deserves.