Saturday, September 22, 2012
Pregame notes: Dickey goes for 19
By Matt Ehalt
All eyes will be on R.A. Dickey on Saturday as the knuckleballer goes for his 19th win. With three more starts lined up on the year, two against Miami and one against Pittsburgh, the veteran has a good shot at becoming the first Mets pitcher to win 20 games since 1990.
"I think it'd be tremendous," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "With our struggles in the second half, you got a guy that wins 20 games -- that speaks volumes of what he meant to us."
Dickey will benefit from facing the Marlins twice in the final 12 games, a team he has dominated this season and throughout his career. He's 4-0 with a 1.16 ERA against Miami this year, allowing just four runs in 31 innings. In his career, he's 9-2 with a 2.81 ERA in 13 games (11 starts) against the Marlins.
To help Dickey defensively, Jason Bay is in left field and Josh Thole is behind the plate.
While the hope is that Dickey can win the Cy Young, Collins believes that possibly garnering 20 wins this year, regardless of awards, would be a special achievement for the 37-year-old veteran.
"You'd have to ask him, but I'm sure when you've driven the road he's driven to get here, and what he's had to go through, it would be the culmination of it to be able to sit down this winter and say, well, all the work, all the ups and downs were all worth it to get where he's going to hopefully be," Collins said. "I'm sure it means a lot to him."
DUDA BACK IN: After being benched Friday night for not running out a ball, Lucas Duda is back in the lineup Saturday and is playing first base and batting fifth.
"He knows he made a mistake, I know he made a mistake, but you got to move past it," Collins said. "I wanted to get him in there today. (Mark Buehrle) is a guy he hits. Ike's (Davis) had minimal success against him so I just thought you know what, we'll get him back in there and make sure he understands the past is over, let's move forward."
WRIGHT SLIPPING: David Wright has struggled in the second half, batting just .251 compared to a .351 in the first half. Collins attributes it to the third baseman wanting to carry his team and opposing pitchers being more careful in dealing with him.
"He's taken a lot on his own shoulders. He knows how important it is to this club. He probably is the one guy who said, this is my team now. He's kind of expanded the strike zone a little bit but that's what I love about him," Collins said.
"He know he has to be Mr. Reliable and he wants to be that guy, he wants to be out there, the guy that gets the big hit, so the players can rest assured that David Wright is going to watch their backs for them and get the job done and be the guy to rely on. That's what the stars do in my opinion."