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The Early Lead
Posted at 12:18 PM ET, 06/19/2012

R.A. Dickey is one-hitting his way toward an All-Star game start

What the heck has gotten into R.A. Dickey?

Four years ago the guy was pitching his way out of baseball as a middle reliever with a 4.62 ERA and now he’s the best pitcher in baseball.

On Monday night in New York, the Mets’ unlikely ace tossed his second consecutive one-hitter with a 5-0 complete game shutout of the Orioles. Dickey is the first pitcher to throw back-to-back one-hitters since 1988. He walked two and struck out a career-high 13 while extending his scoreless innings streak to 42 2/3 innings.

Say it with me now: “Ri-Dickey-lous!”

Asked to explain himself after notching his ninth straight victory, the 37-year-old knuckleballer with a knack for introspection had only this to say: “I’m going to leave it to you guys to explain it. I’m just going to try to be in the moment with it.”

With the All-Star game fast approaching, Dickey is suddenly neck and neck with San Francisco Giants ace Matt Cain for the National League starter spot.

After years of bouncing back and forth between the Rangers and the minors, former Texas skipper Buck Showalter suggested a new approach for a pitcher who had yet to end a season with an ERA south of 5.00.


R.A. Dickey’s knuckler has been nearly un-hittable. (Bill Kostroun - AP)
So it was fitting that Dickey’s dominant 2012 run continued with a stellar showing against Showalter’s Orioles.

“You know, and this is a tip of the hat to him: It was fairly poetic, I thought. The last game he saw me pitch live I gave up six home runs and tied a modern-day major league record,” Dickey said. “It’s really incredible.”

With Monday’s performance, Dickey moved into a tie atop the majors in both ERA (2.00) and strikeouts (103). He also leads baseball in wins (11) and WHIP (0.89) and over his last five starts has produced an astounding 52-to-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

But while the numbers seem mind-boggling for the lone knuckleballer still starting in the big leagues, the signs were there over the last two seasons when Dickey’s ERA was down to 2.84 and 3.28 respectively due to increased consistency and control.

If he keeps this up, should Dickey be the NL All-Star starter? Here’s how he stacks up against Cain, who last week threw baseball’s 22nd perfect game.

--------------W-L------ERA-----WHIP------K-----BB-----AVG.-----HR

Dickey ---- 11-1---- 2.00 ---- 0.89 ---- 103 --- 21 --- .194 ------ 8

Cain -------- 9-2 ---- 2.34 ---- 0.91 ---- 100 --- 20 --- .199 ------ 8

Who would you rather see on the rubber on July 10 in Kansas City?

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By  |  12:18 PM ET, 06/19/2012

Tags:  MLB

 
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