R.A. Dickey tosses five-hit shutout vs. Marlins for 17th win

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UPDATE: Dickey and Cueto have some company. Gio Gonzalez just tossed a five-hit shutout of his own vs. the Cardinals for his 17th win.

9:50 PM: R.A. Dickey tossed a five-hit shutout tonight as part of a 3-0 victory over the Marlins, putting him into a tie with fellow National League Cy Young candidate Johnny Cueto for the major league lead with 17 wins. He is 4-0 with a 1.16 ERA in four starts against the Marlins this year.

Dickey walked three while all five hits he gave up were singles. He struck out seven and threw 114 pitches. According to Brooks Baseball, he induced 20 swings and misses.

Ike Davis provided all the offense Dickey would need, collecting a sacrifice fly in the top of the fourth inning and a two-run homer in the seventh. The 25-year-old first baseman is still batting just .225 after getting off to an absolutely dreadful start, but he now has 25 homers and 74 RBI on the year.

But this night was all about Dickey. The knuckleballer continues to build a compelling case for individual hardware, as he ranks third in the National League in ERA (2.63), second in strikeouts (190), and first in WHIP (1.01), complete games (five) and shutouts (three). Only Clayton Kershaw, Justin Verlander and Felix Hernandez have logged more innings than Dickey (191 1/3) this year.

Mike Trout has been really good at baseball lately

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“Water wet,” “Sky blue,” “Dog bites man” and “Mike Trout good” are not exactly newsworthy sentiments, but once in a while you have to state the obvious just so you can look back later and make sure you were, in the moment, aware of the obvious.

And to be fair, “Mike Trout good” is underselling the Angels outfielder lately. He’s on the greatest tear of his great career lately, and dang it, that’s worthy of a few words on this blog.

Last night Trout went a mere 1-for-1, but that’s because the Diamondbacks were smart enough not to pitch to him too much, walking him twice. There was no one on base the first time he came up and he got a free pass. There was a guy on first but two outs the second time, so he was once again not given much to hit and took his base again. Arizona was not so lucky the third time. The bases were loaded and there was nowhere to put Trout. He smacked the first pitch he saw for a two-run single. They probably shoulda just walked him anyway, limiting the damage to one. The last time up he reached on catcher’s interference. Maybe Arizona figured that literally grabbing the bat from him with a catcher’s mitt was the best bet?

If so you can’t blame them, really. Not with the month he’s had. In June, Trout is hitting .448/.554/.776 with five homers. He currently leads the league in the following categories: home runs (23), runs (60), walks (64), on-base percentage (.469), OPS (1.158) OPS+ (219), total bases (179) and intentional walks (9). He currently has a bWAR of 6.5. WAR, in case you did not know, is a cumulative stat. When he won the 2014 MVP Award, he “only” had 7.6 for the entire year.

Sadly, one man does not a team make, so the Angels are only 9-8 in the month of June and have fallen far back of the red-hot Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners in the division race. For this reason I suspect a lot of people are going to do what they’ve long done and overlook Mike Trout’s sheer dominance or, even more ridiculously, claim he is overrated or something (believe me, I’ve seen it even this month).

Feel free to ignore those people and concentrate instead on the greatest baseball player in the game today, who has somehow managed to up his game in recent weeks.