R.A. Dickey's chances of an NL Cy Young Award may have taken a hit with back-to-back losses, though it's mostly no fault of his own.
The New York Mets hope to provide Dickey with better support Saturday when he looks to continue his domination of the Miami Marlins.
Tied for second in the NL in wins and strikeouts (205) while leading it in ERA, Dickey (18-6, 2.67 ERA) has been the highlight in an otherwise disappointing season for the Mets (67-83).
However, while he's one of the leading candidates for the Cy Young, the knuckleballer has dropped his last two starts.
Dickey pitched well in both but received a total of three runs of support. Against Philadelphia on Monday, he allowed three runs - two earned - and five hits while striking out eight over seven innings of a 3-1 loss.
Dickey is 5-5 with a 2.40 ERA and two complete games over his last 11 starts. He has a 3.2 run-support average over that stretch.
"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," manager Terry Collins said.
Dickey hasn't needed much help versus the Marlins. He is 7-0 with a 0.71 ERA in his last seven starts against them, including four wins this season. Dickey has gone the distance in the last two, pitching a five-hit shutout Aug. 31.
Still, he's likely hoping New York's bats can keep things going after a 7-3 win Friday snapped the Mets' 16-game streak of scoring three or fewer runs at home and their five-game skid overall.
Coming off a 16-1 loss to Philadelphia at Citi Field on Thursday which led Collins to hint that players had quit, New York responded quickly. Scott Hairston hit a two-run homer in the first inning and the team led 5-0 after two.
The win moved the Mets 1 1/2 games in front of the Marlins (66-85) for last place in the NL East.
"It felt like a playoff game win," Collins said somewhat sarcastically.
While New York responded to Collins' criticism, for which he apologized, Miami's woes continued as it fell 19 games under .500 for the first time since the end of the 2007 season.
Before the loss, first-year manager Ozzie Guillen said he wasn't concerned about rumors he could be fired.
"That's the last thing going through my mind every day, if I'm going to have a job next year," Guillen said. "I'm going to have a job. I don't know if it's managing the Marlins, but I will have a job."
Mark Buehrle (13-12, 3.78) will take the mound for the Marlins, who have lost four of five. He won for the fourth time in five decisions last Saturday, giving up four runs and striking out seven over 7 2-3 innings to beat Cincinnati 6-4.
The left-hander is 0-2 with a 3.92 ERA in three starts against the Mets this year, with Miami giving him five runs of support. He allowed two runs over seven innings in his only career start at Citi Field, a 5-1 loss April 25.