R.A. Dickey was great on Friday night. R.A. Dickey was awful on Friday night.
Four innings, no hits, six strikeouts. Two innings (plus three batters), five hits, three home runs, three strikeouts, one walk.
This sort of inconsistency has been the maddening pattern for the former Cy Young winner in his second season with the Blue Jays. Worse, if there’s a physical reason for the fact that his OPS against has gone from .606 in innings one-through-three to .810 in innings three-through-six, it’s not showing up in a lack of velocity, a change in release point, or any other superficial way. I had a conversation last night with a reader I ran into while out on the town about this and many other things, and my basic contention was that there isn’t a whole lot of reason we can yet point to that would suggest this difference — or at least how drastic it is (because most pitcher will see some decrease in effectiveness the more times they’re asked to turn a lineup over) — is more than just an unfortunate coincidence to a large degree. But the more I think about it — and I know a lot of fans are way ahead of me on this, and always were — the more it seems like the consistency he showed in his 2012 Cy Young season is the outlier, and what we’re seeing now feels more real.
It’s easy to be pessimistic, though, especially after a performance like that (yet again), and to forget that last season, after battling a stiff back/neck that sapped his velocity and made him far more ordinary than he is at full health, Dickey had a pretty excellent second half. Or… a pretty very good one, at least. It’s also easy to look at his age and think the worst, even though I would contend that he’s a far different pitcher than the kind of one you have to worry about that stuff so much on, simply because he’s not relying on velocity, even though he kind of totally is.
I don’t know. For some reason I’m still optimistic that it’s all going to click for an extended stretch. Maybe not one resembling his 2012, or the kind of guys the Blue Jays thought they were getting when they paid through the dickhole for him, but at least what we’ve seen this year, but with some of the suck turned down and the good turned up. Last night, though, my optimism was put to the test in a double-layered burrito of a question, which I will now put to you.
I reflexively said yes, but that sure isn’t where the safe money is, especially with so much ball yet to play before it becomes a question, if it even does. So… I don’t know. I don’t know. Maybe you do, though, so weigh in on our latest Smokin’ Poll: Will R.A. Dickey start a playoff game in 2014? Let’s see where your optimism is at!
Consider this your Game Threat!