NEW YORK – Terry Collins has kept an eye on R.A. Dickey from a distance and the New York Mets manager has a theory on why his former ace has had so many ups and downs this season.
“If you take into consideration all the innings he pitched last year, he might be a little fatigued, and it might take a while for his arm-strength to totally come back,” Collins said Monday. “That’s a workload he put in, and sometimes the next year guys see a drop in (velocity).”
Dickey – 8-10 with a 4.69 earned-run average in 20 starts for the Toronto Blue Jays – logged 233.2 innings during his National League Cy Young campaign in 2012, following seasons of 174.1 innings in ’10 and 208.2 frames in ’11.
Compounding matters for Dickey this year was an injury between his back and neck which sapped some of his velocity. While he managed to throw through the pain, on average his pitches have been two m.p.h. slower than in 2012, scaling back the wicked movement that made his knuckleball so unhittable.
Whatever the issue, Collins knows from experience that Dickey will work relentlessly to find a solution. That’s what happened in New York, and while Mets pitching coach Danny Warthen did what he could to familiarize himself with the knuckleball, when it comes to adjustments, “R.A. did a lot of it on his own.”
“When things weren’t going good, he was the first guy on the phone to those other guys that threw that pitch,” Collins said in reference to Charlie Hough and Phil Niekro. “They’d fly into town and he’d talk to them every time he got a chance to see them, ‘Hey, what am I doing wrong, am I quick in my wrist, whatever it might be.’ He pretty much fixed himself.”
The Blue Jays can only hope Dickey regains that form more consistently after the all-star break.