One of the National League's presumed Cy Young Award candidates, R.A. Dickey makes his final start of the 2012 season tonight when the New York Mets face the Miami Marlins in game two of a three-game series at Marlins Park.
Dickey, a Nashville native who'll turn 38 later this month, got to 20 victories for the first time in his last start on Thursday, when he allowed three runs on eight hits in 7 2/3 innings of a 6-5 defeat of Pittsburgh.
He walked two and struck out 13 in the win, which kept his earned run average at a sterling 2.69 across 227 2/3 innings.
Dickey beat the Marlins for win No. 19 a start earlier in New York after eight innings of six-hit, two-run ball in a 4-3 triumph on Sept. 22.
A winner of 41 games in 204 major-league outings before this season, Dickey has held foes to a .225 batting average this season - a full 40 points lower than his career mark of .265.
He tossed complete games to defeat the Marlins on both Aug. 9 and Aug. 31, combining to surrender 10 hits and a run in 18 innings of 6-1 and 3-0 victories.
Miami opposes him with 21-year-old righty Jacob Turner, who began his career with the Detroit Tigers last season.
The ninth overall pick in 2009 was 0-1 in three starts with the Tigers last year and 1-1 in three starts with them this year before a trade sent him to the National League in July.
He's won once in six starts with his new team, downing Cincinnati, 4-0, with seven innings of two-hit ball in Sept. 14.
He dropped decisions to Arizona and Washington before that victory, then lost to the Mets and Atlanta in two starts since.
Against the Mets on Sept. 21, he allowed six hits and six runs in five innings of a 7-3 loss with a walk and three strikeouts.
On Monday, Rob Brantly's RBI double in the eighth inning lifted the Marlins to a 3-2 win.
Carlos Lee opened the frame with a walk, then moved to second on a wild pitch. Brantly followed with a line drive double to left field to knock in Lee.
"I got a pitch up in the zone away and got a good piece of the bat on it," Brantly said.
Giancarlo Stanton hit a solo homer and Jose Reyes knocked in a run for the Marlins, who won for just the second time in 11 games.
Heath Bell (4-5) earned the win with a scoreless eighth and Steve Cishek tossed a perfect ninth for his 15th save of the season.
Mike Baxter and David Wright drove in one run apiece for the Mets, who have dropped three straight.
Ramon Ramirez (3-4) was pegged with the loss after giving up Brantly's double. Jeurys Familia made his first career start and gave up one hit over four scoreless innings, but walked six batters.
"Too many walks," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "There's work ahead, but it's fun to work with when you have arms like that."
The Mets won 11 of the initial 15 games between the teams in 2012, including the last seven since they dropped a 13-0 decision in New York on Aug. 8. They will try to bounce back in the series tonight.