R.A. Dickey is no lock to win the NL Cy Young Award, but a different individual achievement is still well within reach. Dickey is inching closer to the 20-win plateau, which no Mets pitcher has reached in over two decades.
22 Years Without A 20-Game Winner
The New York Mets haven't had a 20-game winner since Frank Viola in 1990, and nothing would help wipe away the bitter memories of another playoff-less year than Dickey hitting that mark.
20 wins in a season is a fantastic achievement, especially for a 37-year-old journeyman who never earned more than 11 victories in any other year.
It seemed like Dickey was a shoo-in to notch at least 20 victories after tallying his 12th before the calendar turned to July, but a 5.13 ERA in his last six appearances put a damper on that discussion.
Dickey will be gunning for his 15th victory when he takes the mound for the Mets' tilt against the San Diego Padres on Aug. 3, and you would expect him to take advantage of the light-hitting Friars club.
Getting to win No. 16 by mid-August would give him an excellent shot at victory No. 20 before the end of the season. As it currently stands, Dickey has a 14-2 record with a 2.83 ERA and 147 strikeouts.
A Dozen Starts Left?
Following Dickey's start against the Padres, he should have ten to 12 more starts left before the end of the season. Essentially, that means Dickey would need to earn victories in left than half of his remaining starts to get to the 20-victory mark.
If the remaining schedule holds up, Dickey will be up against several weak offensive teams and many non-contending squads, which basically gives him a much better shot at making it to the 20-win plateau.
With Dickey pitching every fifth day, he's slated to face the Miami Marlins at least twice, the Colorado Rockies, Atlanta Braves, Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies.
The Mets could also consider giving Dickey a heavier workload as the season winds down, if he needs just one or two victories to get to lucky No. 20 as October approaches.
In my view, there's no way Dickey will match the pace he started with before the All-Star break, but a 6-4 record in his final dozen starts this season seems quite doable, especially when you consider the competition he'll be up against.
I believe Dickey will easily reach the 20-win mark and the Mets won't need to increase his workload to get the job done. I see Dickey wrapping up 2012 with a 21-5 record.
Will Dickey notch 20 victories? Let me know in the comments.
Eric Holden is a lifelong New York Mets fan. Follow him on Twitter @ericholden.
www.mlb.com, MLB, player and team stats
- Sports & Recreation