Dickey eyes No. 20 in Citi finale
September, 26, 2012
By Matt Ehalt | ESPNNewYork.com
Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesR.A. Dickey admits personal milestones are "bittersweet" in a losing season, but he'd like to give Mets fans something to cheer for on Thursday.It will be extra sweet for R.A. Dickey if he's able to win his 20th game in front of the home crowd Thursday.
"I really hope for that," Dickey said. "That's one of the reasons I moved my start in the first place was to try to share a milestone such as that with the fans here. It would mean quite something. It may mean the most of things for me in this moment."
Dickey will get his first crack at 20 wins when the Mets face the Pirates in their home finale in a matinee game Thursday at Citi Field. Dickey also is lined up to start in the final series in Miami, giving him two chances to try to become the team's first 20-game winner in 22 years.
"I think there's obviously some energy that will be built into it just because of the nature of things but I don't feel like it's any additional pressure," Dickey said. "I'm just going to go out there and compete hard."
As Dickey has chased 20 wins, as well as the Cy Young Award, he and the team changed up his schedule to give him an extra start at home that could allow him to notch his 20th win at Citi Field. After he defeated Miami on Saturday for his 19th win, it set the stage for Thursday's start. Dickey opposes Pittsburgh's Kevin Correia at 1:10 p.m. ET.
Dickey is currently 19-6 with a National League-best 2.66 ERA. He is second in the NL with 209 strikeouts, and leads the NL in complete games, shutouts and innings pitched. He has 25 quality starts this season.
If Dickey can beat the Pirates, he'll be the team's first 20-game winner since Frank Viola in 1990.
"Obviously there's something that looks pretty about that number," Dickey said. "So I'm not going to pretend that it's not nice. My whole mentality is geared around how can I be consistent, so I'm going to go out there and try to put up a quality start, just like I always do, and hopefully it will equal a win."
Just like third baseman David Wright, who will become the team's all-time hits leader with his next hit, Dickey acknowledges the team's struggles in the second half will make any personal accomplishment "bittersweet." The Mets will miss the postseason for the sixth straight year despite Dickey's amazing season.
"Regardless of how well it finishes for me personally, it will be somewhat bittersweet in the sense that we didn't do as a team what we set out to do," Dickey said. "Of course, you have to try to hold on to the positives when you can, and I'm so happy for David and for any player in here that hits a milestone or a goal he set for himself. There's that, too. You got to hold them both."
He added: "I would trade it for a playoff [spot]."