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R.A. Dickey Can't Win For Losing

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Watching the Mets fail to capitalize on another sharp start by R.A. Dickey on Sunday reminded me of a brief debate that broke out in the comments section of my post last week about the closer credentials of Pedro Beato

The crux of the debate revolved around one commenter's misunderstanding of Dickey's effectiveness in wins as compared to losses -- or, as one might guess blindly, that the Mets knuckleballer pitched more effectively in wins than in losses. It's not a claim without validity; pitchers factor into results just like any of the other position players.

Despite the claim being promptly snuffed out by the majority of you lovely readers and commenters who know better than to merely judge a pitcher's performance based on his win-loss record, the debate enticed me to take a casual glance at Dickey's win-loss splits to see if there was anything glaring in his performance.

And there was, much to Dickey's detriment this season.

Without further ado, here's some selected stats from Dickey's win-loss splits in 2011:
Split G W L IP ERA FIP BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB BA OBP SLG BAbip
Wins 5 5 0 33.2 1.87 4.10 3 7.8 2.6 .242 .305 .406 .281
Losses 11 0 11 73.1 4.54 4.32 2.7 5.2 1.9 .277 .334 .422 .301
ND 11 0 0 60 3.75 3.93 1.5 5.7 3.8 .258 .297 .376 .282
Total 27 5 11 167 3.72 3.96 2.3 5.9 2.5 .263 .315 .402 .290

Stats provided by Baseball-Reference.com

What struck me about Dickey's peripherals wasn't that he pitches better in wins than losses. A quick glance reflects that he strikes out fewer batters in losses than wins, which may be attributed to the smaller sample size or to any trouble that Dickey may have had harnessing his knuckler. SO/9 ratios of other knuckleballers like Tim Wakefield and Joe Niekro aren't so wide over their careers, though it's admittedly not fair to directly compare a single-season performance to career averages like that.

All besides the point. What struck me was how well Dickey has pitched in no-decision performances this season. He's arguably been even better in those games, which is further observed in seeing that the Mets went on to win six of Dickey's 11 no-decisions after he couldn't factor into the decision. It's not enough to end calls for the Mets to seek out an ace or grow one on the farm or put in a cheat code before their next outing to supersize Mike Pelfrey, but Dickey's been everything one can ask of a starter in any Major League rotation -- let alone this one.

Far be it from Darth Dickious (his nickname for himself, not mine) to cry about spilled milk after an outing like yesterday, though. From MLB.com's Aaron Taube:

"We can't mope around and feel sorry for ourselves," Dickey said. "Everybody can look at the schedule and look at who we're playing, and it's not going to get any easier.

"Our moms and our wives are the only ones who are going to feel sorry for us right now."

Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be knuckleballers for the 2011 Mets.