Not that I want to try to make something out of nothing here, but R.A. Dickey had a wide-ranging talk with Eno Sarris of FanGraphs published this morning, and while it’s all pretty interesting– particularly the stuff about Dickey’s health, which sounds not even close to 100%– a couple comments really stood out to me, and maybe not in a good way.
Sarris: How does this relate to, you called it 75% effort vs when you were a conventional thrower… Did this remind you of your age? The thing about knuckleballers is “oh, they can pitch forever.”
Dickey: I don’t know if it reminds me of my age, as I look to my left and right, I see far younger players on the DL for far lesser things.
Dickey: So it’s hard or me to equate this with just my age. What’s much more important to me is to take the ball every fifth [day] and be counted on for 200 innings. You have to be able to take the ball when you’re not feeling great. The guys that can’t really pitch unless they are 100% that don’t ever get to those milestones. Do I feel old? Not really. Am I old?
Hi Brandon Morrow and Josh Johnson!
Now, I have no idea if those are the guys who Dickey sees when he looks left and right from his locker, but it’s pretty hard to avoid reading between the lines here, given the spotty health of those two. After all, they are counted-on Jays starters who, so far, have made just two more starts combined than the ailing knuckleballer has alone.
But let’s not be too hasty in slamming Dickey for possibly calling out a couple of teammates– or, y’know, in praising him for it.
For one, thing, when Brandon Morrow was scratched from a mid-May start, he made it very clear to reporters that the decision was not his. It’s ”out of my hands,” he said at the time, noting that the club was just being “extra-cautious,” while John Gibbons told reporters that “we just want to make sure he’s as close to 100% as possible.”
Here, Morrow comes off like a gamer who was willing to go out and pitched, yet was forced back to the bench by the club. Could that have been spin? Did we perhaps also not get the full story back in May, either, when Josh Johnson, a day after telling Barry Davis he was “feeling better” and was looking forward to pitching, ended up on the Disabled List?
I’m sure the negative fucking suckholes out there will now insist that we didn’t, and that the maligned Dickey is now the patron saint of veiled truth-telling, but… man… I don’t know.
Mostly, it just kinda looks bad to be on a roster with seven pitchers on the DL, and two who just returned from it this week, shitting on the weak constitutions of the young wretches who actually have ulnar collateral ligaments to feel barking, and who can’t survive as big league pitchers while topping out in the low 80s. Doesn’t it?
And somewhat frustratingly, Dickey knows he’s a different animal, too! He admits to Sarris that “if I was a conventional pitcher, with this injury, I’d be out. There would be no way. I couldn’t pitch. In fact, in Texas I had a similar injury to my rhomboid in 2004 and I was out for more than a month.”
Yes, with this injury. Not with whatever widdle ouchies today’s delicate little flowers won’t pitch through.
Thing is… uh… R.A., could your big man injury maybe be healing faster if you were out? Because we kind of need you to not be the shitbag who has allowed six or more runs in five of his first fourteen starts– including three of the last four.
Granted, you could have been spared some of those runs if you were less willing to stay in games in order to save the bullpen. But still, it’s been real fucking ugly a lot of nights. Real, real fucking ugly. And while I do genuinely have hope that the knuckleball going to get working again consistently, until it does, there’s no other way to put it. And whether these comments were directed at teammates or not, they sure as fuck aren’t helping.