|Photo by Ed Leyro/Studious Metsimus (not bad, huh?)|
On Friday night, the Mets traveled to Marlins Park in Miami for the first time since May 13, hoping to win their third consecutive series after taking two of three from both the Astros and the Phillies. If the Mets wanted to get off to a good start in the series, they had the right person on the mound for the series opener.
R.A. Dickey has been outstanding this season against pretty much everyone, but he's been especially at his best against the Marlins, and it's not just this year. Dickey has become a different pitcher against the Marlins since the beginning of the 2011 season.
Prior to 2011, Dickey had made six appearances against the Marlins, with four starts and two relief efforts. How did he fare against the Marlins in those appearances? To be blunt, he stunk worse than rotting fish.
Although Dickey's 2-2 won-loss record against the Marlins in those six appearances was so-so, the rest of his numbers versus the Fish were no-no good. In 26 innings, the knuckleballer allowed 20 earned runs for a 6.92 ERA. He also allowed 33 hits and walked ten batters, giving him a gaudy 1.65 WHIP. In addition, Marlins hitters hit .308 against Dickey (33-for-107) and reached base at a .361 clip while battering him to the tune of a .477 slugging percentage. Simply stated, it wasn't pretty.
But since the beginning of the 2011 season, Dickey has become the thorn in the Marlins' side, filleting them every time he's faced them.
Including tonight's 3-0 complete-game shutout, Dickey has made seven starts against the Marlins in 2011 and 2012, winning all seven. That's no losses, no no-decisions. Seven starts. Seven wins. In addition to his 7-0 record, Dickey has allowed a total of four earned runs in 51 innings for a sparkling 0.71 ERA. Over the past two seasons, Marlins hitters have batted a measly .204 versus Dickey, reaching base at a .255 clip, while slugging a Bud Harrelson-esque .280. In 186 at-bats, the boys of South Beach have managed only ten extra-base hits against Dickey (eight doubles, two homers), while striking out 40 times. Dickey has also walked only a dozen Marlins in two years.
Overall, Dickey is 9-2 against the Marlins in 13 appearances (11 starts). He does not have more than four wins against any other team in the majors, going 4-2 versus the Tigers (2-0 as a Met) and 4-5 versus the Nationals (4-4 as a Met).
In Friday's game, R.A. Dickey won his 17th win of the season, becoming the first Met since Al Leiter in 1998 to win 17 games in a season. But it was also his ninth career win against the Marlins, which is more than twice as many wins as he has against any other team over his career.
R.A. Dickey has already proven that he can beat any team in the majors. But whenever it's the Marlins' hitters coming up to the plate, Dickey reduces them to fish sticks, especially over the past two seasons. Pass the tartar sauce.