The New York Mets are only two games out of the lead in the wild-card race, and in our pretend end-of-the-world playoffs, they'd actually have a play-in game for the play-in game. But no matter what happens the rest of the year, history has already been made by the team's two star pitchers. Johan Santana obviously has his legacy secure after his no-hitter. But what R.A. Dickey is doing might actually be more impressive.
Dickey threw a masterful one-hitter against Tampa Bay last night in a 9–1 win, and you can make a pretty strong argument that Dickey's game was actually better than Santana's. Dickey struck out twelve Rays and walked zero, and the one hit he gave up possibly could have been called an error. (So much so that the Mets are appealing the error call, sorta dumbly. Stop being greedy, Mets!) It was the best game Dickey has pitched in his life, though the three scoreless outings in a row he threw before this game are certainly in competition.
Dickey is breaking Mets records left and right. Last night, he set the all-time Mets record for scoreless innings, reaching 32 2/3 innings before giving up a ninth-inning run. And by "giving up," we mean "a guy scored on an error and two passed balls." He's almost certainly going to make the All-Star game, and it's possible he'll start it. (His tenth win last night ranks him atop the majors in that category.)
The best part about this is that Dickey isn't only the last knuckleballer in baseball; it's that he's probably having the greatest season by a knuckleball pitcher in baseball history. The key, as ESPN's David Schoenfield pointed out last night, is that his knuckler is different than a traditional knuckler; it moves less but comes in harder and dives later, essentially the knuckleball version of Mariano Rivera's cutter. And it's working at this moment as well as any pitch on earth. And he's the Mets' property for a bargain-basement price ($4.25 million this year, a $5 million option next year). R.A. Dickey is one of the best stories in baseball, but that's not such a big deal anymore. Now he might be the best pitcher in the game. Baseball is so crazy and awesome.