Apr 22, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher R.A. Dickey (43) throws a ball to first base in a game against the Baltimore Orioles at the Rogers Centre.The Toronto Blue Jays won 9-3. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

John Gibbons Needs To Shorten R.A. Dickey’s Leash

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Before I even start I want to say, “yes I know the timing of this post couldn’t be worse with the Jays being in desperate need of giving their bullpen a break.” However, at the same time, this needs to be said even though it may not apply to today’s game with the bullpen being overworked lately.

In Tuesday’s ball game the Orioles brought in a left handed reliever to face Josh Thole in the bottom of the 6th inning.

When John Gibbons didn’t pinch hit for Thole I assumed it was because he didn’t want to burn his 3 man bench in the 6th inning. It surely couldn’t mean he was going to use Dickey to start the 7th inning.

But he did use Dickey to start the 7th inning. To which I said,  “Why! Why! Why!”

So far in 2014 when Dickey faces a lineup for the 3rd time hitters have a .433/.564/.733 slash line against him. From innings 4-6, Dickey is sporting a ghastly 8.76 ERA. In innings 7-9 (all 1.2 of them), that jumps to 16.20, as Dickey has allowed 5 of the 11 men he’s faced after the 6th to reach, and 3 of them to score.

And that’s exactly how it played out in the 6th inning when the Orioles started the inning with their number 9 hitter and sent 9 hitters to the plate and scored 3 runs.

So with the number 9 hitter set to start the 7th inning again it meant Dickey was going to have to face the Orioles lineup for a 4th time. Which is just crazy irresponsible with the way he’s been getting his butt handed to him when he faces a lineup for the 3rd time.

And Gibbons’ bravery didn’t pan out as Dickey let the first 2 hitters of the inning reach base.

Luckily the bullpen came in and saved the day by stranding the base runners, or so I’m told as I had to switch to the Raptors game for the rest of the inning out of sheer frustration.

But just because it worked out last time doesn’t mean Dickey should continue to have such a long leash.

I’m not saying the Jays shouldn’t let him face a lineup for the 3rd time. I’m just saying the bullpen should at the very least be warming up while he’s doing it, just in case the small sample size we are witnessing continues to become a larger trend. Then again, maybe it is already becoming a maddening trend, as our friends at Blue Jays From Away have been preaching about it since the Astros series.

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