R.A. Dickey had his streak of scoreless innings snapped last night at 18 when the Braves took a 1-0 lead in the second on Melky Cabrera's RBI groundout. The Mets went on to win the game 3-2 and Dickey would exit with a no decision.
Like his signature pitch, Dickey has been underestimated and had sneaky success. He does not have enough innings pitched to qualify for league leaders, but in a comparable comparison amongst NL pitchers, he’s been one of the hottest over the last month.
Dickey has the seventh-best ERA (1.99) of any pitcher over the last 30 days with a minimum of 30 innings pitched.
After last night’s victory, Dickey has also thrown 13 of 15 quality starts (six innings or more of three earned runs or fewer allowed) this season.
Dickey’s kept games close, which is essential for a team that struggles to produce runs as much as the Mets have this year, and last night was a good example. Baseball-reference.com keeps track of a stat called cheap wins, which are when a team wins the game despite the starting pitcher throwing fewer than six innings or giving up more than three earned runs (also known as non-quality starts). The fewer cheap wins a team has, the more likely it is that it is a team that struggles to overcome deficits early in games or large deficits in general. New York is tied for the fewest such wins in the NL with just four, along with Colorado, Pittsburg and San Fransisco.
The last two games show why the Mets have just a few cheap wins. Johan Santana gave up three runs in the first inning on Monday and the Mets could not crawl back to make the game interesting, losing 4-1 to the Braves. Dickey exited the game down 1-0 last night to Atlanta, but the lead was close enough for the Mets to comeback and win 3-2.
Any way you slice it Dickey has pitched excellently. While there is no talk of a CY Young award for the knuckleballer, he’s been one of the most valuable Mets this season.