The subject brought up to R.A. Dickey after another masterpiece was completed was of a potential Cy Young Award and the possibility of winning 20 games.
It was a topic that Dickey downplayed.
“You try to focus on what you’re responsible for. I’m responsible for executing pitch No. 1 in the first inning. Then I’m responsible for executing pitch No. 2 and so on and so forth. That’s where I’ve tried to train my mind to go. Hopefully I’m able to do that 115 pitches every game and ultimately it turns into whatever it turns into organically,” Dickey said after throwing his fourth complete game of the season in the Mets’ 6-1 win over the Miami Marlins Thursday afternoon at Citi Field.
The win ended the Mets’ nine-game home losing streak.
Dickey was backed by a 13-hit attack, spearheaded by Andres Torres (3-for-3 with a home run, three RBI and two runs scored) and Josh Thole (2-for-3 with two RBI). Ruben Tejada, Mike Baxter and David Wright added two hits each.
“I don’t set out saying, ‘I’m going to win 15 games this year. I’m going to win a Cy Young.’ I might have done that in my youth. I’ve identified that, for me, as folly,” Dickey said. “You have to exercise your mental muscle to get tunnel vision. I’ve made enough mistakes, thankfully, to see when I do something the right way and when I do something the wrong way. For me, I’ve worked real hard to try to stay in the moment as much as humanly possible.”
Dickey (15-3) was dominant in becoming the first 15-game winner in the National League. He joined Anaheim’s Jered Weaver as the only two 15-game winners in the majors. Dickey’s 10 strikeouts marked the sixth time this season he recorded a game with 10 or more strikeouts which is tied with Texas’ Yu Darvish for most in the majors. He is tied with Detroit’s Justin Verlander for the lead in strikeouts with 166.
He limited the Marlins to five hits and none in the final three innings. His lone mistake was a one-out solo home run allowed to Justin Ruggiano in the fourth.
“I would have to say at this particular moment he’s the ace of the staff. He’s certainly gone out and did nothing but prove that right now he’s pitching as good as anybody [in the game],” manager Terry Collins said of Dickey. “He’s got to be up there in the top three [pitchers for the National League Cy Young]. I just hope we have enough starts left for him [and] win enough games [so] he’s [there] at the end. Certainly, he has to be one of the candidates; there’s no question."
While noting that Dickey would not want the rotation schedule manipulated so he would have a chance to win 20 games — bringing up the criticism of Jose Reyes leaving the last game of the 2011 season following a bunt single in the first inning to protect his lead in the NL batting race — Collins suggested he could change the schedule if the knuckleballer was close to the 20-win plateau in September.
“R.A. Dickey does not want the perception that he’s pitching for the Cy Young Award. That’s not the perception he wants out there by any stretch of the imagination. The only thing he wants to do is help this team win. If that means he has to pitch more, he’s willing to pitch more,” Collins said. “He doesn’t want it to look like, hey, look, we’re just running him out there to win a Cy Young Award. That’s not how he’s wound up.
“But would I? I certainly might, yes. I think he deserves it. I think he deserves that shot.”
Follow Mets beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.