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Preview: White Sox vs Blue Jays – June 27, 2014

https://i0.wp.com/cdn1.sbnation.com/fan_shot_images/143611/sdickeycopy.jpg (Thanks Amazin’ Avenue!)

Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeere’s Dickey!

I know, his velocity cancels out whatever fear batters have when they see that face, but based on how the Sox played last night, I’m sure every team they play induces Shelley Duvall looks of all kinds.

Moises Sierra, doing what he does best in right field; Dayan Viciedo nearly letting a base-path liability pick up an inside-the-park homer (a.k.a. four-base error). Heck, this is a team that made J.A. Happ look like Cliff Lee last night.

Now this, of course, downplays the Happster’s dominant performance. 7.2 shutout innings, only four hits allowed, two walks, eight strikeouts, and a fastball that was reaching 95 M.P.H. late in the game. Good thing we held off on our Balkcast discussion of biggest trade busts over the last few seasons…

It’s been a while since I’ve watched Dickey pitch, and based on some of the trolls out there, you’d think he’s been a complete and utter bust. I beg to differ on that front.

No, he’s not the Cy Young contender we dreamed about, yes, he walks far too many guys, and yes, he did agree to be in not one, but two horri-awful (skip to 1:30) WestJet commercials.

But looking at his numbers this season, he’s actually been pretty solid – not ace solid, but necessary, however disappointing that may be.

Of his 16 starts, 10 have been quality starts; in fact he’s allowed more than three earned runs in a start only once since April 22, and his ERA is 4.04 – mostly a product of his first few starts, in which he allowed five runs or more in three of his first four.

If you compare these numbers to the 16-start plateau of last season, we see his ERA is down by more than a full run and he’s allowed 13 less earned runs. Many of his numbers are roughly the same – four less hits, two less walks, seven more strikeouts. The key? His homers are down from 17 to 12.

Not bad, right?

Let’s just ignore that at the 16-start plateau of his Cy Young season, he had allowed 17 less earned runs, 20 less hits, 17 less walks, and had struck out 37 more batters – all good for a 12-1 record, and a 2.15 ERA.

WHATEVER GUYS IT’S NOT THE SAME IN THE N.L. EAST, OKAY??

Now before you get upset about the lineup you’re about to see, keep in mind that tonight’s clean-up hitter, while not J-Bau, EE, ZZ Lind, or any of the usual suspects, we know he certainly can play the part on television.

Image

TONIGHT’S LINEUP
1. Jose Reyes, SS – four hits last night, including his 3rd triple – he was a triple short of the cycle on Wednesday.
2. Melky Cabrera, LF – Hitting .303 midway through the season – anyone see that coming?
3. Edwin Encarnacion, 1B – Now on pace for 128 RBI this season – certainly possible
4. Dioner Navarro, DH – Hitting .282 in June – a little more on him in a bit.
5. Brad Glenn, RF – What better spot in the lineup to make your MLB debut than the 5-spot?
6. Steve Tolleson, 3B – Eight of his 18 hits this season have been for extra-bases – positivity, guys.
7. Munenori Kawasaki, 2B – Hitting a respectable .244, thanks to his two-hit performance against Kuroda Wednesday.
8. Anthony Gose, CF – Regressing to the mean, performance caused Pillar to tantrum when Gose replaced him.
9. Josh Thole, C – Still on the team! Average down to .277, though.
FACING: John Danks: 6-6, 4.34 ERA – allowed six runs on ten hits over five innings in Minnesota in last start.

What a lineup, right? A rookie, two utility infielders, a pinch-runner and a back-up catcher.

Yeah, whatever Brady – why not seek out a co-host that stands up to you every once in awhile?

Anyway, we all know Gibby loves the platoons, and we all know Bautista and Lawrie are hurt, Rasmus and Francisco can’t hit lefties, and there’s nowhere to put Adam Lind if you want the red-hot Navarro in the lineup.

Here’s a fun stat – the White Sox are 1-5 in Danks’ last six starts against the Blue Jays. Word has it the Urban Dictionary is changing the term “Down in the Dumps” to “Down in the Danks”. One more fun thing…

The Benefit of a Competent Catcher

I know that our standards are not at an all-time high – the last great catcher this team had was Darrin Fletcher, if you don’t count the Bengie Molina/Gregg Zaun platoon (OR EVEN the Tom Wilson/Greg Myers platoon) – but Dioner Navarro has been pretty damn good this season for a guy who runs like a lazy sumo wrestler.

Consider this: Navarro is hitting .275 in 233 AB with four homers, 33 RBI and a .315 OBP.

At the 232 AB mark last season, J.P. Arencibia was hitting .214 with 12 homers (three times as many), 30 RBI (three LESS), 17 less hits, and MORE THAN TWICE AS MANY STRIKEOUTS (75 to 36). His OBP was .237.

And that’s ignoring his effect behind the plate, which we all know has helped the pitchers – just ask Mark Buehrle.

It goes to show you just how much a DECENT catcher can help transform a pretty bad team into a first place team…

As always, follow us on Twitter @JaysBalk.

For Jays Balk, I’m @TheAsherRoth.

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