That was fun. 12 runs, 5 home runs, a solid start from “ace” R.A. Dickey, a perfect inning and a third from Marcus “the saviour” Stroman. All combining to give the Jays a 4 game sweep of the Phillies and their 5th win in a row.
And hey, don’t look now, but the Blue Jays are just a game back of first place in the AL East. They also have by far the best run differential at +20 (Baltimore is 2nd at -1). Granted, the Jays are also just 2.5 games out of last place but HEY, don’t look over there either.
Pretty much all positives to take out of this one. R.A. Dickey threw 6.1 innings, allowing 3 runs (including one that Aaron Loup let in after Dickey was pulled) striking out 8 and walking 3. It felt like John Gibbons had a short leash with Dickey when he pulled him right after Jimmy Rollins doubled in the 7th, but Dickey was already up to 122 pitches by that point. In fact, he was probably lucky Gibbons even let him start the inning considering how miserable he’s been late in games.
I find it’s always hard to tell exactly what to expect from Dickey, not only on a start to start basis, but even inning to inning. Most pitchers seem to settle in to grooves as games go on, getting a feel for their pitches and the zone, but obviously that’s a little harder for Dickey to do considering he throws a pitch that he has limited control over. Even in the early going of this one, a situation where he’s had his most success this year, he allowed a few hard hit balls and a couple deep fly balls. Outs are outs, but hard hit outs and deep fly ball outs are going to turn in to hits at some point.
Taking a look at some of the advanced numbers on Dickey, they seem to be in disagreement about how lucky he’s been so far this year. His FIP is nearly a full run lower than his ERA, which suggests he’s been unlucky. His .307 BABIP suggests he’s been pretty much league average in terms of lady luck. And his 6.1% home run to fly ball % (career 11.2%) suggests he’s got a horseshoe up his ass.
Speaking of home runs, Dickey hasn’t allowed a long ball in 18 2/3 innings spanning three straight starts. Through 8 starts last year, he allowed 8 home runs. This year? 3. Unfortunately, he’s still allowing a lot of fly balls – and the eye test confirms a lot of those are deep fly balls – and eventually those are going to start leaving the park. Anyway, I don’t want to be too nitpicky on an all around lovely night for the Jays, so I’ll let it slide like Johnny Manziel’s draft stock (had to work that in somehow).
Speaking of home runs, the Jays – specifically Edwin Encarnacion – continue to put the ball in to the cheap(er) seats. With 2 jacks (and Edwings) tonight, Encarnacion is 7-for-13 with a triple and 4 home runs in the last three games, good for a .538/.538/1.923 slash line. Also, on his second homer tonight, he graced us with this fantastic trot/staredown (apologies for the quality). As a team, the Jays are second only to the Rockies in home runs. In other words, amongst teams who don’t play half their games in performance enhancing thin air, the Blue Jays lead the MLB in home runs.
The at bat after Edwin’s glorious trot, Juan Francisco went deep as well. Now that Adam Lind’s back, Francisco’s presence on the team is a bit redundant. He’ll be in the lineup at 3rd base until Lawrie’s good to go, but what do you do once he’s healthy? It’s hard to take Francisco’s bat out of the lineup right now considering he’s hitting .311 with 5 home runs in 17 games. But are you really going to have him at third, a less-rangey-than-you’d-think Jose Reyes at short and move Brett Lawrie to second, a position he claims he doesn’t want to play? Tough decisions lie ahead, but considering Francisco’s prooooobably playing a little over his head right now, plus that infield defence, plus Lind homered tonight making arguments to play Francisco over him a little bit more far fetched, I keep Francisco on the bench for now.
Couple of other happy things: Bautista extended his reach-base-safely streak to 35, two games away from Carlos Delgado’s team record. Over the last few games Bautista’s made things interesting too, reaching base in his last at bat in 3 of the last 4 games.
Also, Marcus Stroman pitched a perfect inning and a third. The Jays are still unbeaten since Stroman joined the team. His stuff has looked phenomenal so far, it makes you wonder how much better the team would be if the Jays let him go more than an inning and change at a time…
Finally, here’s something funny as a reward for reading the whole post:
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