I am still in awe over last night’s (epic) meltdown. 8 walks in ONE INNING! Three runs scored on THREE WILD PITCHES!! Not to mention the always entertaining walk with the bases loaded to score a run. Amazingly it took THREE Blue Jays relievers to drop that deuce on the mound last night. Included in the blood letting were our All Star setup man (Steve Delabar), the guy who can’t start and apparently can’t pitch out of the ‘pen (J.A Happ), and everyone’s favourite grease fire – Sergio Santos. It’s hard to pin the blame on just one of them when all THREE were spectacularly awful but Santos has to take the cake. Our “closer” not only threw the THREE WILD PITCHES mentioned earlier but also managed to walk ALL THREE BATTERS he faced. In fact Santos only threw 4 of his 16 pitches for strikes before turning the toilet… er mound over to Happ.
Amazingly, this piss poor collapse by the bullpen in game two of a doubleheader was enough to allow fans to (momentarily) forget the absolute STINKER that our “ace” dropped in game one of the double dip.
The knuckle man’s record fell to 1-3 on the season and his ERA rose to 6.26 after he surrendered 5 ER in 4.1 innings pitched. Dickey also managed to walk 5 batters, pushing his amount of walks to 15 in 23 innings pitched. Despite getting into trouble in the first couple innings Dickey was able to get out of it with help from his defense. However the D couldn’t bail Dickey out after he loaded the bases in the 5th before allowing a single to Josmil Pinto which chased Dickey from the game.
You can blame Dickey’s outing on the cold weather and elements all you like. They sure didn’t look to affect Twins starter Kyle Gibson though; as he carved the Blue Jays batters up over 8 innings. Sure, the offense didn’t give any support to Dickey either but he never pitched well enough to give the bats a chance to wake up either. In the opening of the series Phil Hughes held the Jays lineup relatively quiet until they woke up in the 6th inning. Perhaps the same could have happened Thursday afternoon.
It is hard to say which of the two games was more alarming.
My own personal dislike for Dickey has me expecting the worst every time he takes the mound… and he rarely disappoints. My biggest concerns about Dickey (besides watching Syndergaard and d’Arnaud potentially become studs) are that he will never be anything other than a glorified innings eater for the Jays during his tenure here, and that he is incapable of being a dominant performer in the American League. It doesn’t matter how great his knuckle ball is if he can’t throw it for strikes and when that happens, his 80 mph fastball is not going to fool anybody. When he won the Cy in 2012 Dickey had two GREAT performances against AL opponents. He threw BACK TO BACK one hit shutouts against the ORIOLES and RAYS. You know… those two teams that are in the JAYS DIVISION! Part of the reason AA traded for him were those two performances and yet we have seen NOTHING like that. Maybe his success in 2012 against the AL East was because the Orioles and Rays hadn’t seen him before (probable) and now that they see him multiple times a season they have the book on him.
Surprisingly though… Dickey’s proverbial shitting of the bed takes a backseat to the bullpens implosion.
Why you ask? Well with Casey Janssen being shut down for another 3 to 4 weeks (at least) we HAVE TO trust our bullpen to close out close games for us. Personally I have faith in Delabar and believe that last night was an anomaly. Santos on the other hand… kills me! The guys’ stuff was MADE to be a dominant closer but he has NO consistency and is an ABSOLUTE LIABILITY in the 9th inning. In reality we have three guys who are “capable” of closing games out for us – Santos, Delabar, and Brett Cecil. Santos is a grease fire. Delabar is unproven. And putting Cecil in the closer’s role takes (arguably) our best lefty option out of action before the 9th. Aaron Loup is a solid LOOGY (Left Only One Out Guy) and Happ doesn’t know what he is, so that makes Cecil more valuable as a setup/LOOGY for the time being. I am sure that Santos will get (at least) one more shot at closing the door but I wouldn’t trust him as far as you can throw him. Delabar should be on deck, just in case.
I do understand that it is only April and that the Jays have only played 16 games to date. I agree that there is a lot of baseball left to play and that it IS NOT time to pull the panic switch. What does concern me though is that (regardless of when in the season it is) we NEED TO WIN these games against teams that are (suppose to be) below us. Not only did the Blue Jays miss a chance to (potentially) sweep a below average team but they also threw away a game that they had all but won. Although they are not projected to make the playoffs, the Jays need to sweep series from teams like the Twins; or at least WIN them like they did against the Astros!
Despite the expectations being MUCH lower than they were last year, it is throwing away games early in the season like yesterday that will prevent the 2014 Blue Jays from even playing meaningful baseball in September. Let alone any ambitions of October baseball.
But don’t worry… at least Jose Reyes comes back on Saturday!