Sep 27, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie (13) washes out his mouth after being hit by a Tampa Bay Rays pitch in the seventh inning at Rogers Centre. Toronto defeated Tampa Bay 6-3. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Blue Jays Morning Brew: Dickey's Dome, Stacked Divisions plus Prospects Stroman, Sanchez and Nolin

Toronto Blue Jays News

R.A. Dickey was solid with the roof closed as the Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Tampa Bay Rays at home 6-3. Dickey scattered five hits over 7.1 innings and Sergio Santos had a 5-out save. The announced crowd of 27,228 was treated to an entertaining game, which included Ryan Goins nearly going inside-the-park after a muffed play in center field and some unusually shoddy defense from Rays’ Gold Glove 3B Evan Longoria. Richard Griffin recaps at the Star as the Rays playoff celebration was kept on ice for at least another day. We had a little Jays Journal reunion at the game last night as well. I was joined by staff writer Jay Blue and former JJ staffer and current Tip of the Tower editor Travis Bateman for the final Friday night game of 2013. We even ran into Minor Leaguer and Noah Sherman from our blogging brethren over at Bluebird Banter. For anyone around the Toronto area that is interested in connecting with other Blue Jays fans make sure to check out Jays Days + Diamond Club for upcoming events on Facebook.

Brenden Kennedy reported earlier yesterday at the Star that Dickey wanted the dome closed for his final start in Toronto and as I mentioned above sure enough he got his wish. It was a beautiful night in Toronto and according to many reports, including Tom Maloney’s at the Globe and Mail, the team did not give a reason for the closure but that didn’t prevent Joe Maddon from throwing a few light jabs when he joked there was no “high probability of rain or sleet or snow” in the immediate forecast. I’m not sure if it was an experiment by the team or not but I’m sure R.A. would be willing to foot the extra air conditioning costs if it meant he was able to pitch in a climate-controlled environment more often.

Gregor Chisholm writes that Adam Lind was kept out of the Blue Jays lineup with a sore back but may play one of the final two games of the season. The Blue Jays have gone with a Triple-A lineup for this long so I don’t see the point of putting him on the field again, especially since it looks like the Jays are ready to pick up his option.

Scott Ferguson at TSN writes about the unbalanced schedule after gripes from Tampa Bay owner Stuart Sternberg. In case you missed it, here’s what Sternberg had to say as per the Tampa Tribune:

With the unbalanced schedule and what’s happened, it’s really an abomination for where we are right now, teams who we played compared with the two teams we’re competing with… It’s all fine when you’re a division winner, but I’m competing for a wild card now and I have one hand tied behind my back

It’s definitely something that I think needs to be considered. As Ferguson points out it probably wouldn’t have made a huge difference for the Jays over the past decade. But it is interesting if you add up the total opening day salaries by division for 2013. According to Deadspin (and if I can actually add numbers correctly this early in the morning) the AL East was scheduled to pay their players $655,030,875, the AL Central $511,683,646 and the AL West $446,564,315 (side note: that’s more than $1.6 billion combined). Money does not guarantee wins and some teams at the high and low-end significantly impact the total numbers for each division but it’s interesting to note the salary discrepancy between the divisions.

The Canadian Baseball Network has final stats from Tournament 12.

Shi Davidi at Sportsnet writes that Darren Oliver has requested to start (yes, start) one final game this weekend to close out his big-league career. I’m not sure if tonight’s win by the Blue Jays put a damper on that request or not as Davidi writes it would only happen if the game had no playoff implications for the Rays.

Minor League Ball released their Top 75 Prospects end of season update. Two Jays make an appearance on the list – Marcus Stroman at 49 (preseason he was 111th) and Aaron Sanchez at 64 (preseason he was 42nd). They appear to be going opposite directions but Sanchez suffered a minor shoulder injury that may have affected his stock due to missed time. Sanchez is still oozing potential but struggles to command his pitches. Many people wanted to underestimate Stroman early because of his size (5’9) but he dominated at Double-A this year and has shown to be pretty much as durable as they come. Many projected him as a bullpen arm a year ago but Stroman is making a case to be taken seriously as a starting pitching prospect.

Batter’s Box talks to Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Field Coordinator Doug Davis, which includes an interesting tidbit about why Sean Nolin will be playing winter ball instead of in the Arizona Fall League. Updates are also included on A.J. Jimenez and Deck McGuire. All good stuff from Gerry.

Tao of Stieb writes about this season of expectations and disappointment for the Toronto Blue Jays.

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