Saturday, August 11, 2012

R.A. Dickey Could Set Two Records He'd Rather Not Have

On Thursday, R.A. Dickey pitched a complete game against the Miami Marlins to notch his 15th victory of the season.  Dickey is now 12 games above .500 (15-3) for a team that's five games under .500 (54-59, entering Saturday night's game).  How rare is it for a Mets pitcher to be that many games over the break-even point while pitching for a team with a losing record?  Also, how unheard of would it be for Dickey to finish with that great of a percentage of his team's wins?  To answer both questions, it would be rare and it would be unheard of.

Ten pitchers in Mets history have finished a season with at least 10 more wins than losses, accomplishing the feat a total of 14 times.  Those pitchers are:

  • Tom Seaver (1969): 25-7
  • Tom Seaver (1971): 20-10
  • Tom Seaver (1975): 22-9
  • Jerry Koosman (1976): 21-10
  • Dwight Gooden (1985): 24-4
  • Ron Darling (1985): 16-6
  • Bob Ojeda (1986): 18-5
  • Dwight Gooden (1986): 17-6
  • Sid Fernandez (1986): 16-6
  • Terry Leach (1987): 11-1
  • David Cone (1988): 20-3
  • Dwight Gooden (1990): 19-7
  • Bret Saberhagen (1994): 14-4
  • Al Leiter (1998): 17-6

No Mets pitcher has finished at least 10 games over .500 in the 21st century, a feat that R.A. Dickey can accomplish this season.  But let's look at one other thing regarding the pitchers listed above.

In 1969, when Tom Seaver became the first Met to win 10 more games than he lost in a single season, the Mets won 100 games and their first World Series championship.  The 1971 Mets also finished above .500, when Seaver repeated his 10-games-over-.500 feat, as did the 1975 Mets, the 1976 Mets, and so on.  It wasn't until Bret Saberhagen went 14-4 in the strike-shortened 1994 season that a Mets pitcher won 10 more games than he lost for a team that finished with a losing record.

In 1994, the Mets were 55-58 when the strike put the kibosh on the Major League Baseball season, giving Saberhagen the dubious distinction of being the only pitcher in Mets history to finish a season, albeit abbreviated, that many games above .500 while the team finished below that mark.  R.A. Dickey could soon be joining Saberhagen if his teammates don't start winning when he's not on the mound.

Yes, R.A.  That really is Bret Saberhagen's name above you.

Now let's look at Mets pitchers who won a high percentage of his team's games.  Once again, there aren't many pitchers on this list, as only five hurlers have completed a season for the Mets in which he earned at least 25% of his team's victories.  Those five pitchers have accomplished this rare feat a total of eight times.  Here is a list of the seasons in which these pitchers joined this exclusive club:

  • 1962 Mets (40-120): Roger Craig goes 10-24 (25.0% of the team's victories)
  • 1963 Mets (51-111): Al Jackson goes 13-17 (25.5% of the team's victories)
  • 1967 Mets (61-101): Tom Seaver goes 16-13 (26.2% of the team's victories)
  • 1968 Mets (73-89): Jerry Koosman goes 19-12 (26.0% of the team's victories)
  • 1969 Mets (100-62): Tom Seaver goes 25-7 (25.0% of the team's victories)
  • 1972 Mets (83-73): Tom Seaver goes 21-12 (25.3% of the team's victories)
  • 1975 Mets (82-80): Tom Seaver goes 22-9 (26.8% of the team's victories)
  • 1994 Mets (55-58): Bret Saberhagen goes 14-4 (25.5% of the team's victories)

Of the five Mets pitchers who completed a season in which he earned at least 25% of his team's victories, only Bret Saberhagen did it in the last 37 seasons, doing so during the strike-shortened 1994 campaign.

R.A. Dickey currently has a 15-3 record for a team that's 54-59, accounting for 27.8% of the team's wins this year.  Should Dickey maintain this pace, he would surpass "The Franchise" himself, Tom Seaver, to become the Mets pitcher with the greatest percentage of his team's victories in a single season.

Tom Seaver and R.A. Dickey, two masters of their craft.

The 2012 season has been full of ups and downs for the Mets.  But one aspect of their season has been way up.  R.A. Dickey has given the team one of the best seasons for a pitcher in their 50-year history.  But unfortunately, the rest of the team has had a difficult time of replicating Dickey's dominance.  In doing so, they might help Dickey accomplish two things that Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden and Jerry Koosman never did.

If the Mets finish with a losing record and Dickey remains more than 10 games over .500, he would become the first pitcher in team history to finish that many games above .500 on a team that couldn't make it over that hump.  Similarly, no Mets pitcher can claim to have won more than 26.8% of his team's victories in a single season.  That could all change this year.

R.A. Dickey hasn't stopped making history since 2012 began.  Now he can make some more.  But oddly enough, had his teammates played better, this particular type of history-making achievement might never have been possible.  As much as Dickey would appreciate becoming the first Mets pitcher to achieve the feats detailed above, he would surely trade both of those records for more victories by the team on days he didn't pitch.  We all would.

1 comment:

StardustShining said...

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