The New York Mets’ R.A. Dickey didn't need to pitch when his last start came Tuesday night against the Marlins in Miami. With the team eliminated from playoff contention weeks ago, Dickey's 20 wins, 2.69 ERA, and 222 strikeouts already amounted to one of the best pitching seasons in Mets history.
But Dickey pitched anyway, as he has every time his rotation turn came around this season. He gave up three runs in six innings with eight strikeouts, and did not pick up a win or a loss in New York's 4-3 defeat.
After the game Dickey revealed he has played nearly the entire season with an abdominal tear suffered in April. He is scheduled for surgery in two weeks.
"I was on my knees about it many times, hoping that it wasn't going to get more significant than it was," Dickey told MLB.com. "My wife and I prayed quite frequently together about that because I was in the middle of a good season."
To say Dickey, major league baseball's only knuckleball pitcher, has had a "good" season is an understatement. Pick virtually any statistical category for starting pitchers and Dickey ranks near the top of the list. He walked off the mound for the final time in 2012 leading the National League in strikeouts, innings pitched, complete games, and shutouts, and ranking second in ERA and wins—for a team that won just 73 games.
Dickey's injury revelation makes even more remarkable his career year at age 37. An All-Star for the first time, Dickey finished with a 20-6 record and is considered a top contender for the National League Cy Young award. The outcome may depend on how Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, another Christian, pitches in his final start tonight.