Everything was lining up for Liam Hendriks to get the ball for his first start with the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday, when the Jays host the Oakland Athletics. However, the actual decision threw a little bit of a curve as the Blue Jays instead announced that Hendriks would be taking the ball of Friday night instead, as per Shi Davidi’s tweet below.
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) May 23, 2014
The promotion was no mystery to either the media or fans, as it had become fairly transparent in recent days that the Blue Jays were leaning toward giving the start to the 25-year-old Hendriks. After watching him throw earlier this week, Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos had Henriks had earned a slot with his stellar performance at Triple-A Buffalo, where he has gone 5-0 with a 1.48 ERA, a 0.801 WHIP, and had walked just 3 batters in 48.2 innings this season.
Hendriks will face off against Scott Kazmir (5-1, 2.39 ERA) at 7:07pm on Friday night in Toronto. Rob Rasmussen is expected to be optioned back to Buffalo to make room for Hendriks on the active roster.
The bigger part of the news was the decision to push back R.A. Dickey from the expected start. Alas, the decision wasn’t made for the purpose of giving Dickey extra rest, but rather to separate the knuckler from soft-tossing Mark Buehrle, as noted by Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com.
The resilient Dickey has been inconsistent to start the season, posting a 4-4 record with a 4.20 ERA and a 3.96 FIP. However, he has shown some positive signs, having surrendered just 4 home runs on the season, compared to the 9 he had surrendered through his first 10 starts a season ago.
Giving Dickey an extra day’s rest still lines him up for a start in the Oakland series. However, it also gives the Blue Jays a chance to separate their two innings eating pitchers, allowing the bullpen to get some rest and prepare for Sunday, when J.A. Happ is on the mound.