The New York Mets are stuck in reverse and R.A. Dickey has stalled on 18 wins. At this point, I only care about the second of the two situations.
Last week, I wrote about Dickey's quest for 20 wins (and a possible Cy Young Award) and how it's the only reason to watch the Mets. If that's the case, after last night's game, I figure there's only three more Mets games worth watching this season. On Monday, September 17, Dickey pitched seven strong innings, but the Mets fell to the Philadelphia Phillies, 3-1, at Citi Field.
It was New York's ninth loss in 10 games, but don't blame Dickey. He yielded three runs (two earned) with eight strikeouts in seven innings of work. Unfortunately, the Mets were stymied by Cliff Lee, who fired eight innings of one-run baseball with 10 strikeouts. Hey, you didn't expect Dickey to get any run support, did you? The Mets have scored three runs or less in a franchise-record 14 straight games.
''You feel for him, because all he's done is given himself a chance to win a baseball game,'' Mets manager Terry Collins told Mets.com. ''We'll go back at the end of the year and recount the number of games where he didn't get a decision, or he's allowed us an opportunity to win, and hopefully it doesn't get back to bite him too bad."
As of today (Sept. 18), Dickey ranks in the top two in the National League in wins, strikeouts and ERA. In my opinion, he should win the Cy Young, but there are no guarantees -- unless, he wins 20 games. If Dickey wins 20, I don't think there's any way voters will deny him the award. If he starts every fifth game from here on out, Dickey has three more cracks at getting two more wins and becoming the team's first 20-game winner since Frank Viola in 1990. Here's a look at his projected final three starts.
Miami Marlins (Sept. 23) --Great news! Dickey is 4-0 with a 1.16 ERA against the last-place Marlins this season. In fact, Dickey didn't allow an earned run against the Marlins in three starts last season and has a career record of 9-2 against the Miami franchise. He must win this start for a shot at 20.
at Atlanta Braves (Sept. 28) -- In three starts against the Braves this season, Dickey is 1-1 with an ERA of 8.80, his highest ERA against any opponent in 2012. Furthermore, in eight career games (five starts) at Turner Field, the Mets' ace is 0-2 with an ERA of 7.26. This will be a tough game to win.
at Miami Marlins (Oct. 3) -- Wouldn't it be ironic if Dickey needed to beat Miami on the last day of the regular season to reach 20 wins? The Marlins prevented the Mets from reaching the playoffs in both 2007 and 2008 with season-finale wins against New York. If Dickey has 19 wins going into this game, I can't even imagine him losing -- what a horrible way to end a horrible season that would be!
Adam Martini is a freelance sportswriter who grew up in Queens, N.Y. with a view of Shea Stadium from his bedroom window. He spent many nights in the upper deck at Shea rooting for the Mets. Adam follows back Mets fans on Twitter @PegCitySports.