LOS ANGELES — R.A. Dickey has one — maybe two — starts to go before the All-Star break. He's assured of being named to his first All-Star team when the rosters are announced on Sunday. But what about starting the Midsummer Classic?
“Oh, man, just getting to the All-Star Game would be fantastic,” Dickey said Friday night at Dodger Stadium after his latest fantastic outing. “Obviously, it would be a tremendous honor.”
Dickey, who shut out the Dodgers on three hits in eight innings in the Mets' 9-0 victory, is the majors' only 12-game winner. He has one loss. He has allowed 75 hits and walked 25 in 113 innings. He has struck out 116. He threw back-to-back one-hitters earlier this month. His ERA is 2.15.
With his knuckleball and his rags-to-riches back story, the 37-year-old has the goods to be a terrific draw for the July 10 game in Kansas City.
“It would give everybody who's ever played the game, who's dealt with adversity and who finally got here a ray of hope,” said Mets manager Terry Collins, who will be a coach on NL Manager Tony La Russa's staff. “The grinders in the minor leagues. The cup-of-coffee All-Stars. The never-gonna-be-good-enoughs. He went and did something extraordinary. And it would give them something to hang on to. Like, ‘Hey, it could be done.' You can actually achieve amazing things if you put your mind to it.”
Dickey, when told of Collins' sentiments, said: “Amen. I think if I can offer that with my performance, then that's a real honor. Any time you can be the picture of hope for someone else, it's a special thing. I know there have been a lot of people in my life that have represented that.”
Three Mets have started the All-Star Game: Tom Seaver in 1971 and Dwight Gooden in 1986 and 1988.
La Russa, the retired manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, probably will not announce the decision until the day before the game. The other candidates are the Nationals' Gio Gonzalez, the Cardinals' Lance Lynn, the Phillies' Cole Hamels, maybe the Giants' Madison Bumgarner or Matt Cain. But none has had the season Dickey has had.
“That's going to be Tony's call,” Collins said. “There's going to be a lot of choices, but (Dickey's) certainly going to be in the mix.”
Dickey also is in the mix to make an extra start before the break. Collins said the team has toyed with the idea of pitching him Tuesday on short rest against the Phillies and again Sunday against the Cubs. But it's much more likely that he'll take his regular turn this Wednesday.
Collins said he is unlikely to start Dickey twice because he doesn't want to disrupt his other starters, especially Johan Santana, who doesn't think he needs an extended break as he continues to recover from shoulder surgery.
As for the All-Star Game, La Russa has said he would be concerned about finding someone who could catch Dickey. The Giants' Buster Posey was the leading vote-getter in the latest tally, with the Cardinals' Yadier Molina second.
Dickey won't campaign for the honor of starting for the NL. But it's clear he would like it.
“I've said it before: I think it will give a real legitimacy to the knuckleball,” he said. “A lot of people think the knuckleball is a gimmick. I'd like to try to prove that it's much more than that. Nobody likes to be demeaned. And so I think there are some camps out there that would try to demean the pitch in an effort to try to explain it — as a gimmick or as a circus sideshow pitch. I have felt that from time to time from people. And that's OK. That's their opinion.
”But you're asking me what it would be like to start the All-Star Game. And I'm telling you, I think it would bring a real legitimacy to it.“
Distributed by MCT Information Services