R.A. Dickey has back-to-back 1-hitters

Asked right after the Tampa game how it felt to lose his Mets-record scoreless string on an unearned run in the 9th, the ever-placid Dickey said only, “It’s a good time to start another one.”

And how.

On the heels of his dazz-baffling 1-hit, 12-K, 0-walk, ER-shutout of the Rays, R.A. Dickey got a clean 1-hit shutout of the Orioles Monday night, with 13 strikeouts to match the Mets’ high of the last 5 years. The only blots were a line single by Wilson Betemit on a straight-ish knuckler with 2 out in the 5th, snapping a 12-IP hitless skein, and full-count walks to Betemit in the 8th and to pitcher Jake Arrieta in the 3rd, that one snapping the perfect game.

Perfect game? You think such thoughts with Dickey on the hill these days.

The tricksy pitch that was a wonder from the opening toss in Tampa got better as this game moved briskly on. Few balls were hit hard: Betemit’s single was the first ball to reach the outfield. David Wright, the maybe-culprit in the last one-hitter, snared a liner in the 6th, reaching to his right but not diving, then made a smooth swiping pickup of an in-between bounder (and then a steady throw) for the next out. That was about it.

The corner pasturemen got the night off. There were two lazy flies to CF; everything else was on the infield, mostly in Josh Thole‘s glove — or that of Ike Davis, when Thole had to track down strike 3 and complete the out. The shimmy-shake reached a sublimely ridiculous apex in the 8th, when a pitch to poor Nick Johnson — getting his first glimpse — took an abrupt left turn away from his bat in mid-swing. The next offering was fouled off his shin, leaving Johnson (as usual) hobbling. The next was called strike 3, strikeout number 11.

The O’s didn’t like some of the calls, and maybe they were right sometimes. Maybe the last pitch to J.J. Hardy in the 9th should have been ball four instead of strikeout number 12. But with a lineup that leads the majors in Ks, it was just a matter of time.

And to make sure it didn’t all go to waste, Ike Davis launched his first-ever grand slam with 2 gone in the 6th for the game’s first runs. It felt like ten runs. That rally, too, began with Dickey’s leadoff single. It all comes back to Dickey now.

You can’t help but think of Vander Meer and the record you’ve heard all your life would never be matched. You can’t help but think, how close it was. One split-second judgment and a skip off the infield skin, and one butterfly that missed the breeze: that’s all that came between Robert Alan Dickey and immortality.

We’ll save the rest of the “first since…” and “only guy ever to…” for another time. The performance, like the pitch and pitcher that produced it, is unquantifiable.

_______________

The Mets are having just about as interesting of a season as you can have without making the playoffs.

David Wright batting .400 through game 45. Ike Davis forgetting how to hit a pitched ball. The unexpected everyday presence of The Nieuw Kid. Back from dicey surgery, Johan slaking a half-century’s no-hit thirst. Frank Francisco, on the brink of rejection like a transplanted organ, delivering a post-game rant somehow redolent of Pedro’s “sitting under a mango tree without 50 cents to pay for the bus” monologue, then making an abrupt U-turn towards dominance. Shortstops and left fielders dropping like Spinal Tap drummers.

And now, for the first time in 27 years, a Mets pitcher has found a groove that makes him seem a no-hit threat every time out.

It can’t go on forever. Even as we dream that Dickey’s invention, the hard knuckler, is the new Perfect Pitch, we know in our hardened hearts that every action in this grand old game has an equal and opposite reaction. There’ll be another rainy night in Georgia when the floater flops. The spell will be broken, and Dickey will go back to the solid pitcher he was before the pixie dust fell.

Enjoy it while you can, baseball fans.

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85 Comments on "R.A. Dickey has back-to-back 1-hitters"

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Mike L
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Drink it in, John A. In sports, as in life, there are very few moments of perfect contentment.

Shping
Guest

Well said, Mike, and yes, savor it in good health John! Plus, there’s an added bonus for Mets and other baseball fans: continuing to steal headlines from the other NY team and their rumored winning streak.

Jason Z
Guest

Maybe it can’t go on forever. But with the injury to Roy Halladay,
and the Zitoesque all at once decline of Tim Lincecum, the door is
open for NL Cy Young.

The hard knuckler continues to baffle hitters for the rest of this
season. Eventually hitters will figure him out. His recent dominance
suggests it may not occur this season. If it doesn’t…

RA Dickey your 2012 NL Cy Young award winner…

Phil
Guest

Is is safe to assume that 95 and 96 are the highest back-to-back game scores ever?

birtelcom
Editor

The Play Index, going back to 1918, shows no previous consecutive games of Game Scores of 95 or more

Doug
Editor

Dickey’s gems are the first back-to-back one-hitters since Dave Stieb on Sep 24th and 30th, 1988. Stieb had only 12 strikeouts total in the two games (plus 3 BB and 2 HBP) for games scores of 91 and 88.

Doug
Editor
Others are: – Sam McDowell, Apr 25 & May 1, 1966. 18K, 11 BB. – Whitey Ford, Sep 2 & 7, 1955. 7 K, 10 BB. Neither game a shutout – Jim Tobin, Apr 23 & 27, 1944. 6 K, 3 BB. No Ks in 1st game. No-hitter in 2nd game. – Mort Cooper, May 31 & Jun 4, 1943. 7 K, 3 BB. – Johnny Vander Meer (of course), Jun 11 & 15, 1938. 11 K, 11 BB – Lon Warneke, Apr 17 & 22, 1934. 18 K, 8 BB. 1st game on opening day & 2nd game not… Read more »
MikeD
Guest

Doug, thanks. I was wondering when the last pitcher tossed back-to-back one-hitters. I did see John reference R.A. as the first Met pitcher in twenty-seven years to be a threat to throw a no-hitter each time out, so I thought maybe Dwight Gooden had done it in the mid-80s.

Has any pitcher ever tossed three consecutive one-hitters? Or a couple one-hitters and a two hitter consecutively? Just wondering what we should be looking for the next time R.A. takes the mound!

topper009
Guest

Stieb’s were his last 2 starts of 88 (preceded by a 4 hit shutout). He started 89 with a pathetic 4 hit, 1 run 8 inning no decision, but followed that with another 1 hit shutout.

So 3 of 4 outings, but over 2 seasons.
5 outings covering 44 IP with only 11 hits allowed.

Alexander Cartwright would not tolerate this level of baseball blessing for long, the next outing for Stieb lasted 0.1 IP yielding 6 runs.

Doug
Editor

I can tell you that:
– Tobin preceded his pair with a 3 hitter in his first start of the season
– Vander Meer sandwiched his no-hitters with a 3 and a 4 hitter. Preceding the 3 hitter were two straight 5 hitters. He won every time in that string of 6 complete games.

Doug
Editor

Here are the longest complete game streaks (3 games) allowing 3 or fewer hits:

1918-1968: http://bbref.com/pi/shareit/aYKAG
1969-2012: http://bbref.com/pi/shareit/TsSbV

Most recent is Roger Clemens for the Blue Jays, Aug 20, 25 & 30, 1998, all shutouts. In his next start on Sep 5, Roger allowed 3 hits over 8 innings.

Richard Chester
Guest

And I have mentioned in a recent post that there have been 6 pitchers who threw a total of 3 games with 0 or 1 hit in a game in a season: Virgil Trucks, Jim Tobin, Bob Feller, Dean Chance, Nolan Ryan and Dave Stieb.

Max
Guest

I can’t tell which name is more fun to say, Dickey or Duda. Both make me giggle.

topper009
Guest

Nice job mentioning Vander Meer, he was the first thing to come to my mind. Clearly, his record is not unbreakable. It is a long shot but its not like Vander Meer was the greatest pitcher in history. Stieb and now Dickey have back-to-back-one-pitch-away-from-tying efforts plus maybe others.

511 wins, unless MLB implements a rule banning relief pitching, is unbreakable.

Also this is now 43 straight IP without allowing a run, might the bulldog be sniffing a contender in his yard?

nightfly
Guest
Sadly, that last streak is going to be safe for a while. Tampa scratched an unearned run off RA last start – error, passed ball, passed ball, ground out. I do think Vander Meer’s record is unbreakable, however: none other than Charlie Hustle pointed out that to better it, you would need to throw THREE consecutive no-hitters. Hard enough lately to throw three straight complete games. Consider that only three pitchers in all MLB history have ever thrown three no-hitters in a career… There’s just so much game-to-game variance, it’s hard to imagine getting through the lineup without a Baltimore… Read more »
MikeD
Guest
I’ve been following Dickey since 1996 when he was first signed by the Texas Rangers. A variation on a well-told story, I was a subscriber to Baseball America (only print in those years) and remember quite well the photo of Dickey and four other Olympic pitchers posing on the cover. At that point in my career I worked with photographers quite a bit, so I was kind of mystified as to why the person who shot the cover had all five pitchers aligned, with their arms hanging flush, that is all except one. Dickey’s was at a slightly cocked angle… Read more »
MikeD
Guest

I forgot the most important question I meant to ask related to Dickey and his missing ligament.

Has anyone wondered if the reason he has such a unique knuckleball is because of his unique arm? Maybe the missing ligament is why he can throw a harder knuckler and with more control than post knuckleballers. Sorry if this has been written about in the past and I’m late to the party.

birtelcom
Editor

In 2011, the Mets in games not started by R.A. were six games under .500. In 2012 thus far the Mets are yet again six games under .500 in games not started by R.A.. But last season the Mets were two games under in games R.A. started and so finished the season eight games under. This season the Mets so far are 10 games over .500 in games R.A. has started, and as a result, if the season ended now the Mets would be in the wild card play-in game versus the Giants.

Jimbo
Guest

Is Dickey a pitcher that could conceivably pitch on less than 4 days rest with consistency? Ala Wilbur Wood in the 70’s?

A top pitcher that could start 40+ games per year without being affected would be almost a surefire Cy Young/MVP no?

Mark in Sydney
Guest

On knucklers, anyone seen

http://knuckleballmovie.com/

The shorts look intriguing.

deal
Guest

Somebody may want to check my math – If you take out the Rainy Night in Georgia game RA Dickey has an ERA of 1.33 for the Season. Since that Braves game I have him at 11 ER in 81.2 Inn for an ERA of 1.21 over his last 11 starts.

Add Note1: Both Teams Dickey 1-hit would be in the Playoffs if the season ended today.

Note2: If you count the Santana Faux-Hitter, the Mets have 3 CG 1 Hitters this month.

Michael E Sullivan
Guest
So nobody is thinking what I’m thinking — what the heck happened to R.A. dickey? Looking at his stats, it’s crazy — he looks like a random journeyman pitcher, makes the league at 26, gets a couple decent but unspectacular years as a back-rotation starter/reliever, then appears to wash out. Comes back two years later similarly, then suddenly in 2010 at *35*, he has a really good year, full season starting with a 138 ERA+. Continues with a lesser but still good year last year. And now, at 37, suddenly he’s out of the gate with a first half looking… Read more »
Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

He was a star in college and a 1st round draft pick.
But how and why a man puts it all together at age 37?
Don’t think any of us can answer that.

mosc
Guest
He’s two different pitchers. One who had a low 90s sinker that he threw >60% of the time and another who throws Knuckleballs. In recent years, he’s even started throwing two different types of knuckleballs. 2001-2005 Dickey is a “conventional” pitcher. In 2006, he was a knuckleballer. It was a 6HR affair that had him sent down immediately to the minors after one appearance. He worked it out and has been ever improving since. Obviously it doesn’t get much better than his most recent two games. Seriously though, I find this post surprising on here. Your comments are a little… Read more »
Michael E Sullivan
Guest

I guess this is what happens when my easy baseball listening/watching prospects include pretty much every yankee game and most red sox games, but honestly not a lot of mets games, and I’m no longer in contact with any big mets fans except through here.

Until this year, I’d never even heard of R.A. Dickey.

CursedClevelander
Guest
Concerning Dickey’s current arsenal, he was interviewed today on Sirius-XM MLB Radio, and one of the hosts (former Rookie of the Year and Tribe Legend Todd Hollandsworth, I believe) mentioned that he occasionally throws a ’96 MPH four seamer.’ He quickly corrected himself, as Dickey complements his fast-knuckler with an 86 MPH four seamer. If he could still throw 96 in addition to that knuckleball, I think you’d see guys pulling a Norm Cash and going up to bat with a table leg. Either that or they’d just go on strike for the day. Reminds me of making those “create… Read more »
Jim Bouldin
Guest

“I think you’d see guys pulling a Norm Cash and going up to bat with a table leg”

Tell more…
🙂

CursedClevelander
Guest
The full story can be found many places. Here’s one of them: http://blog.detroitathletic.com/2011/11/01/when-norm-cash-took-a-table-leg-to-the-plate-for-the-detroit-tigers/ Basically, Nolan Ryan had a no-hitter going, and he was close to tying some sort of K record. I think it was Feller’s AL record for most K’s in a game. Anyway, Cash was 0 for 3 on the day with 2 K’s and a ground-out. When he went to bat with 2 outs in the 9th, instead of a bat, he first came to bat with a table leg. It was ruled illegal by the umpire, of course. Cash was always known as a notorious practical… Read more »
Jim Bouldin
Guest

HP Ump: That looks like a table leg you’ve got there Cash
Cash: It is
Ump: You can’t hit with that
Cash: True, but I can’t hit hit him using a bat either, so what’s the difference?
Ump: That’s not what I meant
Cash: What did you mean?
Ump: I meant you can’t bat with a table leg, it’s against the rules
Cash: Show me in the rulebook where it says that
Ump: Cash, look…

birtelcom
Guest
R.A. is the 86th major league pitcher to have won at least 11 games in his age 37 season. The average (and the median) number of career wins those guys had coming into their age 37 season was 162 wins. R.A. had only 41 career wins coming into this season. Only three of these guys with 11 or more wins at age 37 had fewer career wins through age 36 than Dickey, and none of those three guys was really pitching in a true major league in his age 37 season. George McConnell had just 12 wins in the majors… Read more »
Jameson
Guest

R.A. Dickey was interviewed recently by Terry Gross for Fresh Air on NPR. He is an interesting guy.
http://www.npr.org/2012/04/10/150283169/winding-up-as-the-mets-knuckleball-pitcher

Fireworks
Guest

NO JA! NO!

Have faith in Dickey.

Believe that he will pitch from age 37-46, make 300 starts, go 200-60, win 2 Cy Youngs, and so on.

BELIEVE.

RJ
Guest

Your first sentence would be very confusing to a German.

tag
Guest

Yes, it would because “no” is not a word and has no meaning in German. You’d basically be speaking gibberish. 🙂

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Gosh. All this talk about steroids.
Here’s a clip that demonstrates, once and for all, how bad the problem could be.

Note: Some of this footage may may a sensitive person queasy:

http://www.hulu.com/watch/124975

Jeff
Guest

Can anyone explain to me why Matt Cain hasn’t been credited with 3 shutouts this year? He has a perfect game, a one hit and two hit shutout. Confused…

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