Friday, September 21, 2012

Why I Think R.A. Dickey Is Still A Lock For 20 Wins

Yes, you read the title right.  Despite the Mets' recent inability to score runs and despite R.A. Dickey suffering his first consecutive losses of the year, I still think the Mets' resident knuckleballer, author and documentary star is a lock to become the first pitcher since Frank Viola in 1990 to register a 20-win season for the Mets.

Call me crazy but I have three words that will explain why I'm making what appears to be a bold statement.  And those three words are:

The.  Miami.  Marlins.

For his career, R.A. Dickey is 9-2 versus the Marlins.  How great is he against the Marlins compared to other clubs?  Dickey doesn't have more than four wins against any other team in the majors.  But it's what Dickey has done against the Marlins since the start of the 2011 season that's really eye-opening.

Over the past two seasons, R.A. Dickey has made seven starts against Florida/Miami.  He's been the winning pitcher in all seven of them.  That's seven starts, 7-0 record.  Even with an 8-13 overall record in 2011, Dickey still managed to go 3-0 against the then-Florida Marlins.  And this year, he's won all four starts against Miami.

Of course, you might say that his seven victories over the Marlins over the past two seasons came at a time when the Mets were scoring more runs than they are now.  (Over their last 29 games, the Mets have scored 78 runs, an average of 2.7 runs per game.)  The lack of points on the board would make any pitcher struggle to get wins.  Just ask Matt Harvey.  But that shouldn't deter Dickey against Miami.

Since taking the mound for his first start against the Marlins in 2011, Dickey has allowed four earned runs in 51 innings versus Miami.  Four runs in seven starts.  That's an ERA of 0.71.  So basically all the Mets have had to do is scratch out a run and Dickey could put it in the books against the Fish.

R.A. Dickey will be starting against the Marlins at Citi Field on Saturday.  He will also be making a start against them in Miami during the final series of the season.  In between those starts, he will be facing the fading Pittsburgh Pirates, another team he has dominated since joining the Mets.  In four starts versus Pittsburgh as a Met, Dickey has a 1.71 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and two complete games.  Earlier this year, Dickey pitched seven innings of one-run ball against the Bucs, striking out 11 batters while picking up the win.

It's tough to say anything is a lock with the Mets these days.  But it's not tough to say this.  With three starts left, all against the Marlins and Pirates, R.A. Dickey will win 20 games this year.  You can put that prediction in the books.

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