R.A. Dickey Makes You Want to Believe

Dickey carries a shutout into ninth for his seventh victory

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    The latest blow to the Mets' chances at finishing this season with a playoff berth came on Thursday afternoon when Roy Oswalt agreed to move to the Phillies in a trade.

    The move solidifies the biggest Philly weakness just as they start to pull away from the Mets into what's increasingly looking like a two-team race in the NL East.

    The latest reason to believe in the Mets came a few innings later when R.A. Dickey took the mound against the Cardinals. The bearded knuckleballer once again reminded us why baseball is such a marvelous game. Dickey, a man with as unimpressive a resume as you'll find after 14 years in professional baseball, threw another gem in a seaon full of them to lead the way to a 4-0 victory.

    After watching Dickey throw eight-and-a-third shutout innings, the question you ask yourself isn't about how a pitcher can suddenly become such an irresistable force. No, the question has to do with how you can write off the Mets, six-and-a-half games back at the close of business Thursday, when so many wrote off Dickey before he became the most pleasant surprise of the 2010 season. If this man, pitching without a ligament in his elbow, can do it, why not the Mets?

    It's an important question as we close in on the trading deadline. Since the All-Star break, it has steadily become clear that making a splashy trade for immediate help would be a bad idea. It would be a repeat of the disastrous 2004 deadline when the Mets dealt Scott Kazmir and Ty Wigginton for Victor Zambrano and Kris Benson in a pair of deals that live in infamy.

    The best thing that's come out of this season has been the realization that there's some pretty decent pieces for the future in Queens right now. Dickey, with his ageless knuckler, is one of them. There may be some more on their way up the ladder and sacrificing even one of them for a shot at a playoff spot -- a long shot if you believe the seven percent odds -- would be brutally shortsighted. 

    That's what the head says, anyway. The heart, tricky organ that it is, sees Dickey crafting a masterpiece and giving a fiery interview after the game and wants to go all in with his beard leading the way to glory.  

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.