R.A. Dickey’s Cy Young-worthy season ended last night with a painful revelation: That he’d been pitching with a torn abdominal muscle since April 13, injured in Philadelphia.
Ironically, Dickey will have surgery there Oct. 18.
Dickey called it a dull pain after last night’s no-decision, his eighth of the year, indicating a frustrating lack of run support.
“The pain was fairly significant from time to time,” Dickey told reporters last night in Miami. “We just did a good job of managing that. Whether it was backing off in the bullpen in between starts or getting the treatment that I needed or whatever else I needed to help with that pain, we were able to do it in a way that I was able to perform and not worry about it.”
Dickey finished the season with a 20-6 record and 2.73 ERA and 230 strikeouts while throwing 233.1 innings. That’s not good enough to win any of pitching’s Triple Crown, but good enough to be among the leaders, and even moreso considering he’s pitching on a team 15 games below .500 and with an injury.
One must also factor in opponent’s .226 batting average against him and a WHIP of 1.05. All his significant numbers showed domination on a team far from it.
There’s a school of thought the knuckleball would work against Dickey because many consider it a trick pitch. That nobody else throws it should be an endorsement for him because it is such a difficult pitch to master and one containing a high probability of error.
To wit, Dickey gave up 24 homers, including one last night. That shows he had incredible command of the pitch in the strikezone and they just wouldn’t knuckle for him those times.
There was bias from Tony La Russa in not starting him at the All-Star Game and I wonder how many of the voters might be swayed by that kind of thinking. It shouldn’t, because whether it is a knuckleball, fastball or curve, you still have to control it and Dickey was remarkable in doing it.
Perhaps also working against him is an anti-New York bias, which is often the case in voting such as this. It shouldn’t, but there are always some with phobia’s and Dickey has some significant opposition.
That Dickey did not pitch for a winning team shouldn’t work against him. This isn’t like the MVP voting where team placement in the postseason is usually an overriding factor to consider. There have been several cases of pitchers winning the Cy Young for teams not making the playoffs and Dickey should be one of them.