Tony La Russa, who will manage the National League in the 2012 All-Star game, has elected to go with Matt Cain of the San Francisco Giants over New York Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey as his starter tomorrow.
To me, this confirms that the city of San Francisco has somehow struck a deal with the devil and in the fine print was a clause that handed the franchise rights to this year’s All-Star game. With Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey getting voted in as starters over more deserving counterparts in David Wright and Carlos Ruiz, the stage was set for La Russa to look downward, tip his cap to Beelzebub, and go with Cain over Dickey.
Some people, such as Jon Paul Morosi of Fox News, have tried to justify the decision:
Cain: 9-3, 2.62, 120 1/3 innings, 24 walks, 118 strikeouts, 0.96 WHIP, two shutouts, one perfect game.
Dickey: 12-1, 2.40 ERA, 120 innings, 26 walks, 123 strikeouts, 0.93 WHIP, two shutouts, back-to-back one-hitters.
Yes, Cain recorded exactly one more out than Dickey over the past three months.
Good luck, Tony. The decision is due Monday, in advance of Tuesday’s All-Star Game (MLB on FOX, 7:30 p.m. ET).
If La Russa asks my opinion — and he won’t — I will recommend that he start Cain. There are two reasons for that: Dickey’s midgame arrival could have a spellbinding effect on the American League hitters; and Cain has put together a better body of work over his career, with relatively little fanfare (at least, until the perfect game).”
Others, such as Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News,make a strong case for Dickey:
Dickey, who is tied with Gonzalez for the NL lead in wins, second to Strasburg in strikeouts and fifth in ERA, has done enough this season to be the All-Star Game starter.
And don’t get us started on larger metaphors about being penalized for being unique or on how the Mets were already rooked by the process because David Wright isn’t starting.
There’s plenty to like about the idea that an All-Star start would surely mean that more people would hear — and perhaps find comfort in — Dickey’s personal journey. He revealed in a memoir released this year that he was sexually abused as a child.
We are reminded, early and often, by Major League Baseball that the All-Star Game now “counts” and, at the same time, it is a showcase for baseball’s best. If we’re being told to care about these things, they might as well be done right — Dickey fits both bills.
He’s good enough that starting him could help the NL win home-field advantage in the World Series and his knuckler has been perhaps the best single pitch in the game this season.
Heck, it makes more sense to start Dickey rather than bring him out of the bullpen. That would give Dickey and Posey the most amount of time to work together before Dickey even got to the mound at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. They would share the entire pregame warmup, including Dickey’s bullpen session, giving Posey a crash course in knucksie nuance.”
For me, as a numbers guy, there simply has not been a better pitcher the first half of the 2012 season. If you want to make it a full calendar year, both pitchers were 4-6 after the All-Star break in 2011 and Cain’s 2.64 ERA was only slightly better than Dickey’s 2.87 earned run average.
More emphasis has to be put on this year and the fact is that Dickey started out hot, has remained hot, and hasn’t lost a game since April 18th of this season. In the end, I think Mets pitcher Jeremy Hefner best summed things up with the following tweet from earlier today:
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