Dickey’s last start says it all about 2012

dickeys-last-start-says-it-all-about-2012
R.A. Dickey. (Photo by paul.hadsall via flickr)
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Tuesday was a kind of 2012 Mets season in miniature.

At the center of it was R.A. Dickey, who pitched six solid innings in his final bit of resume-polishing for a Cy Young bid. He finished the season at 20-6, with a 2.73 E.R.A., while leading the National League in innings pitched and, barring a 10-strikeout or better game by Clayton Kershaw on Wednesday, strikeouts as well.

This performance came just hours after Adam Rubin reported that Dickey's future with the team was "not entirely secure."

Throw in a comeback to force extra innings followed by a bullpen loss, and the microcosm was complete.

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Then Dickey announced at his postgame media availability that he'd been pitching with a torn abdominal muscle since April. So that great pitching season, in which a 37-year-old journeyman knuckler became a baseball superhero, also happened while Dickey battled through an injury that will require surgery.

Typically, an injury has a detrimental effect on a player's ability to negotiate a long-term contract. But in Dickey's case, he managed to pitch well in 2011 despite pain in his foot that required pain killers for much of the season, and pitched even better in 2012 despite the abdominal injury. So in his case, the maladies seem to argue in favor of his durability, not against it. (It does serve as a reminder that pitching Dickey even more often, something the team considered for months, would just have been flat-out crazy, since he was managing this injury at the time.)

Still, as the Mets enter an offseason with overwhelming uncertainly and many holes to fill, even the storyline of team's heroic pitcher pitching admirably with hidden injury felt like a repeat, as anyone who remembers Johan Santana's last start in 2008 could tell you.

Will Dickey's story with the Mets end in that well-worn fashion of a stalwart leaving because the team can't sign him long-term?

Hopefully, the game wasn't a foreshadow: The key hit that beat the Mets Tuesday night was a Jose Reyes triple.

Elsewhere in New York sports:

YANKEES

Raul Ibanez, who slumped for much of the summer, punctuated a strong final two weeks of the season with a game-tying home run in the ninth, and the game-winning single in the 12th inning of a 4-3 Yankees victory that clinched at least a tie for the American League East. A win Wednesday over Boston, and the Yankees can rest until the A.L.D.S. A loss, and an Orioles win, and the Yankees head to Baltimore Thursday to play for the division, followed by a Friday wild card game if they lose.

RED BULLS

With just weeks to go in a successful Red Bulls season, the team fired its general manager, Erik Soler, without explanation. Jerome De Bontin, formerly of AS Monaco, was named new G.M., while former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier will oversee the team's football operations.

KNICKS

Jason Kidd believes Carmelo Anthony can be Dirk Nowitzki, which is interesting, since Nowitzki primarily plays power forward.

NETS

Deron Williams wasn't having any fun last season.