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Weekend Threat: Jays @ Rays

If for nothing else, just win this game so we never have to hear about the damn streak of series losses in Tampa again. I’ll gladly exchange a home loss for it. I mean, ideally, y’know, I wouldn’t have to, but I’d do it! I’d so do it. Fuck.

measuringthedick

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!

eejbcincy
Holy shit, last night. What a hell of a thing.

And not only did negative dickholes learn a lesson about maybe thinking twice before venting dumb-as-fuck horseshit like spoiled children, THE JAYS CAME BACK AND WON, TOO!!

Now let’s do it again. Or… well… without the going down 8-0 first maybe.

I mean, shit. That was wild enough I could even understand if people wanted to talk about not rolling over and focussing and stepping up and pulling together and making a statement and all that horseshitty magical narrative bullshit that usually doesn’t make a goddamn bit of sense to pretend anyone can divine through their TV, or, y’know, exists (or… well, focus obviously does, and good on the Jays for continuing to do their jobs, taking good at bats and pitching like it mattered, even after such a demoralizing second inning… which ought to be par for the course for professional millionaire ballplayers, but we know isn’t always). It was a hell of a fucking thing, and if that kind of self-belief can give this club even the most marginal, tiniest boost — and let’s not pretend it would do much more than that (clear enough that I believe in talent first and foremost?) — sure… fuck… I’m on board with whatever crazy intangible-based narrative anyone wants to invent. Last night was that ridiculously awesome!


Source: FanGraphs}
Never in doubt. Never in doubt.

selfie
So the Jays’ lead in the AL East is down to 1.5 games, which isn’t good and sure gives insufferable sucking negative dipshits reason to talk about panicky bullshit as if it wasn’t entirely true and obvious to reasonable people all along that the Jays would hit a trough at some point, and that it was going to take a lot more fight to see October.

And the Jays got swept at Yankee Stadium, which is entirely a thing that happens in baseball sometimes, but because they haven’t won there in quite some time the fact lends itself to magical-thinking dimwits trying to build a framework of ghosts or lack of fortitude around it, as if there isn’t a tonne of coincidence and dogshit pitching and defence built into these sixteen straight losses, or — dumbly — as if this Jays team is exactly the same as those that lost the bulk of those games.

And R.A. Dickey’s sore groin necessitated a Liam Hendriks spot start and the re-optioning of Steve Delabar — who has been kinda terrible for a calendar year, FYI — which sadly doesn’t even feel like that much of a concern, given the way Dickey has pitched this season so far, especially when you remember that it gives the Jays a chance to give the pitchers they are in a lot of ways depending on the most — Drew Hutchison and Marcus
Stroman — an extra day off, which doesn’t just keep their untested arms more fresh now, but in some small way prolongs their season with respect to their number of innings pitched.

And Brett Lawrie is back in the lineup tonight, which is good, but Adam Lind isn’t, which is bad — and even the Lawrie thing isn’t great, given the way that Brett Cecil also figured he was fine this week, before going out and pitching and finding that he wasn’t (which was unfortunate, but not enough that anyone should have to endure the conspiratorial, tinfoil-hatted nutbar set trying yet again to dumbly create a fake panic and outrage about LIES).

Oh, and Ricky Romero is out for the season after having knee surgery, not that it matters (but come back strong, Ricky!).

And the email blast from the team announcing Romero’s surgery buzzed my phone just as I was about to hit the stage at PITCH #4 last night, along with Michael Grange and Jonah Keri, following an outstanding talk from Morgan Campbell, which was great fun, and something I hope everyone there enjoyed as much as I did (it was better than watching the damn Jays lose again, I’ll tell you that much) — so thank you very much to all who came out, and to Kevin Kennedy from Tallboys for putting it on, and all my fellow participants (sorry my selfie skills are so weak), the folks at Left Field Brewery and Loft Kitchen, everyone who came up and had kind words to say (though maybe not so much my friends from the Roxton who had me do a “Billy Cheers” — chugging a glass of red wine, FYI — at the end of the night before, which, I’m pretty sure, is most of the reason I was super hung over).

That about sum it all up? I’ve probably missed something, and I’m sure the comments will be quick to point it out, but… whatever. And now let’s watch the Jays get a damn win!

It was 5-1!

Oh… apparently this game isn’t until 4. But whatever, this is all you get.

After the absence of a proper Game Threat yesterday, you’d think if make an effort to do one up right here today. But nope, this is what you get. Go Jays!