The story of the game is undoubtedly R.A. Dickey’s best pitching performance of the season. 6.1 innings, 5 hits, 1 run, 0 walks (!!!), 6 strikeouts. But the story behind the story is how short of a leash Dickey had.
Dickey was pulled with one out in the 7th inning with runners on second and third after hitting Will Middlebrooks with a 3-2 pitch and allowing a Bogaerts double. He had only thrown 95 pitches, and Gibbons wasn’t even going for a lefty-lefty matchup. Gibbons brought in Steve Delabar to face Jackie Bradley Jr.
We all know the stats about Dickey’s awful stats the third time through the order, and that’s probably what Gibbons was thinking. But before that jam, the third time through the order had gone like this: ground out, ground out, fly out, ground out. It’s not like the Red Sox had been doing much damage. But Gibbons gave Dickey the quick hook and it’s hard to argue with it considering the numbers and Delabar’s ability to shut Boston down. But I did find it interesting and Dickey did not look pleased coming out of the game. Could be something to monitor, especially with the Jays’ starters inability to go deep in to games all year. Is Gibbons going to continue to give Dickey a quick any time he gets in a bit of trouble his 3rd time through the order? It’s going to put a lot of stress on an already over worked bullpen. It should also be noted that Dickey didn’t walk anyone today (basically did by hitting Middlebrooks with a 3-2 pitch), which marks the first time he’s done that as a Jay. Wow. The Blue Jays as a whole also didn’t walk anyone today. Double wow.
As for the lineup, there were a lot of positives today, starting with Brett Lawrie. He went 2 for 4 with a homer and an RBI double, putting him up to 20 on the season. Again, Lawrie is leading the team with 20 RBI despite hitting .179. He is hitting .364 with runners in scoring position, which will probably not continue. Also, the percentage of fly balls he hits that go for home runs is over 17%, which will also probably not continue. In fairness, it does definitely look like Lawrie is turning things around at the plate. Over his last 7 games (yay, arbitrary end points!) he’s hitting 8 for 24 (.333) with 3 homers.
Speaking of arbitrary end points, Edwin Encarnacion appears to be breaking out. He hit the ball hard in all 5 at bats today, going 2 for 4 with a double and 2 RBI. On April 10th he was hitting .162 and has gone 17-54 (.314) since then.
Also of note, Jose Bautista got on base via Bogaerts fielding error in the 8th – which was change to a single – extending his streak of reaching base safely in every game this season. I’d be interested to know if there’s a story behind the official scorer’s decision to change that to a single. I know one of the official scorers for the Jays and was told that Bautista once was so livid that the scorer had charged an error and taken away a hit from him that he got someone to call up the scorer (mid-game) to try and get him to change his decision. Not saying that happened today, but it’s certainly a possibility. It also coincides with Bautista’s unwillingness to hit 2nd in the lineup because he won’t have as many RBI opportunities. The guy obviously cares about his personal stats. But hey, if he’s going to put up numbers like his league leading 193 OPS+, he can do all the whining he wants!
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