R.A. Dickey may not be considered one of the elite pitchers in the National League, but the Mets knuckleballer sure is consistent.
Dickey tries to extend a string of 14 straight quality starts this afternoon as New York concludes a three-game series with the Atlanta Braves.
The 37-year-old is off to a 2-0 start, a span that includes a victory over the Braves on April 7. Dickey allowed two runs on five hits and four walks over six frames of that one, bringing his career record versus Atlanta to 2-4 with a 3.90 earned run average in 11 games (8 starts).
Dickey continued to put New York in the win column last time out in Friday, with the right-hander leading the charge in a 5-2 win at Philadelphia. Dickey worked around nine hits to allow just one run while striking out seven over seven innings.
Dickey's string of quality starts dates back to July 25 of last season, five days after he allowed four runs over 6 1/3 frames in a no-decision to the Cardinals.
Today's meeting will be a rematch of the April 7 encounter between these clubs that saw Dickey get the best of Braves starter Jair Jurrjens.
In his first start since Aug. 30 because of a knee injury, Jurrjens lasted only 4 1/3 innings and took the loss after allowing three runs, including solo homers to David Wright and Lucas Duda. He then got a no-decision versus Milwaukee on Friday, with the 26-year-old Jurrjens yielding five runs on seven hits, including another two home runs, over five innings of his team's eventual 10-8 win.
The 26-year-old has a 7.71 ERA through his two starts and is 8-5 with a 3.10 ERA in 14 career games versus the Mets.
Jurrjens will try to pitch the Braves to a series victory this afternoon after Atlanta beat New York for the first time in five tries last night thanks to a 9-3 win. Rookie Tyler Pastornicky highlighted a five-run second inning with a two-run double and starter Randall Delgado gave up three runs over 5 1/3 innings.
The Braves had dropped five in a row to their NL East rivals, including the opener of this three-game set on Monday -- a 6-1 setback that halted Atlanta's winning streak at five games. The Mets had posted a season-opening three-game sweep at Citi Field and also took the final meeting of 2011.
"That New York trip wasn't the best trip for us, to get off to that start, but we've picked up our play and everything's been good," Pastornicky said.
The Braves roughed up Johan Santana in the shortest outing of his career, with the former Cy Young Award winner allowing six runs -- four earned -- while recording just four outs and 55 pitches.
"[New York manager Terry Collins] told me there were too many pitches in that inning and he didn't want to take any risks," said Santana, who missed all of last season due to surgery on his throwing shoulder.
Wright went 2-for-5 and has reached base safely at least twice in all eight games played this season to extend his own team record.
New York had won three of four.