R.A. Dickey was solid, but had no margin for error

R.A. Dickey allowed three runs and eight hits with three walks and only two strikeouts in seven innings last night against the Nationals.

“It’s not the worst outing to give up three runs in seven innings against that club,” Dickey said afterwards. “But at the same time, your margin for error is probably minute.”

“This is the best lineup I have faced,” Dickey later explained. “They are just so functional. … I had a mediocre knuckleball tonight and had to pitch with it.”

Dickey fell to 18-5 and saw his ERA rise slightly to 2.68. Last night was his 24th consecutive start in which he’s walked three batters or less in a game.

Michael Baron, Contributor

Last night, there was a lot of talk about the lack of humidity and how it may have played a factor in Dickey’s feel for his knuckleball. The thing is, he still pitched well despite not having his best stuff. The Nationals have a terrific lineup and, as Dickey pointed out, he had zero margin for error, which I assume was a reference to how bad his team’s offense has been. As such, he had to resort to his fastball more often than he usually does, especially early in the game. But for the most part, Dickey didn’t give up and he kept the Mets in the game.

Over his final four starts of the season, Dickey will have some stiff competition among Kershaw, Gonzalez, and Johnny Cueto for the Cy Young Award, all of whom are pitching for contending clubs. Still, Dickey has been the best and most consistent pitcher in baseball all year long. Given that and what Dickey needs to do in order to be successful on a daily basis – which is to throw an unusual pitch and deal with a severely flawed offense behind him – to me, there is no question he should win the award.