After Wednesday’s loss in relief, the R.A. Dickey era in Toronto goes out with a whimper.
Though the loss cannot be pinned on the knuckleballer – look no further than Josh Donaldson’s pair of errors or a stagnant offence for that – its hard to see the last meaningful inning of Dickey’s season be so anti-climactic.
But it shouldn’t come to a shock. The year as a whole has been disappointing for the former Cy Young winner. Posting a 10-15 record, the veteran ate up 169.2 innings while posting a 4.46 ERA (edging out Marcus Stroman’s 4.50 ERA).
Its hard to demand more from the bottom of the rotation, but its not his numbers that will keep him out of play during this stretch run; the knuckle ball he built his career on ultimately spells the end of his contribution to the Jays.
The six-man rotation experiment has come to an end, and Dickey is on the short-end of the stick having had his starts skipped. The acquisition of Francisco Liriano at the trade deadline has proved a savvy move, and having a competent lefty to lean on is more practical than having a knuckle ball pitcher who needs an accompanying catcher, and in this case, not a very good one.
When teams need to reduce their rosters before the playoffs, it is likely that the Jays will shelve Dickey because of the impracticality of him being able to perform out of the bullpen.
That is not to say R.A. Dickey’s career is over; just his time as a Jay has come to an end. Four years ago he amazed fans when he captured the Cy Young, and I expect that if he is to find success it would be back in the National League where he made his name. There will always be a team in dire need of starting pitchers who will pay some extra coin for the big name.
Aside from another extra-innings marathon game, the only chance we could see R.A. in a Jays uniform again is if we need him to eat up some innings in the final game or two if the playoff picture is fully developed. It is very possible that come the season finale against the Red Sox that the Jays will not be able to catch their division rival, yet still have a pair of games on the team behind them in a wild card race.
Even though the appearance would be meaningless, I for one would enjoy the ceremonious sendoff to a four-year tenure that wasn’t quite what the Jays signed up for, but gave the organization a sound leader in the dugout when they needed it most.
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