Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
Minnesota Twins- 7 Toronto Blue Jays- 0
After the winter-like weather moved yesterday’s game, the Blue Jays came in to today having to face not one, but two games in…less than ideal conditions. The precipitation may have left, but the cold stayed. At the start of the game, the temperature was right around 0 degrees Celsius, feeling like -4! It was the coldest start in Minnesota Twins history for an outdoor game.
With the cold weather, it was not a given that knuckleball would behave. The knuckleball was moving, but Dickey was not able to control how, when and where it moved. We must remember that “the knuckleball is a capricious animal”. As it turned out, Dickey took 30 pitches to get through the first inning. He then calmed things down for the next 3 innings. Then in the 5th, he got himself into some trouble. After striking out Pedro Florimon, Dickey gave up three straight singles to Brian Dozier, Joe Mauer and Trevor Plouffe that made it 1-0. Then Dickey walked Chris Colabello to load the bases. Jason Kubel then singled in a run to bring the score to 2-0. Then, with one swing, Josmil broke things open with a double off the wall in CF to bring it to 4-0. That was all for Dickey. Todd Redmond came in and gave up a sacrifice fly to Kurt Suzuki. 5-0 Twins. The Twins would tack on another run in the 6th with a sacrifice fly by Trevor Plouffe. In the same inning Chris Colabello smashed a double to CF off Redmond that scored Joe Mauer to make it 7-0.
Dickey’s final line: 4 1/3 innings, 7 hits, 5 earned runs, 5 walks, 4 strike outs, 112 pitches-67 strikes. Of note is the fact that Dickey went to a full count on 8 (!) batters. John Gibbons, like everyone else in the Blue Jays organization, probably gave Dickey too much leeway. He probably should have taken him out sooner. But, looking ahead to another game today, the cold weather and a fear of offending Dickey, Gibbons kept him in the game. Being that Gibbons kept Redmond in for the remainder of the game, it might have been to save the bullpen.
On the other side, Kyle Gibson was stellar! Through the 8th, he’d only given up 4 hits and one walk. He also struck out 4 for good measure. He was never in any trouble at all. He dominated the Blue Jays lineup for 105 pitches. The Twins’ rookie is 3-0 on the 2014 season. His ERA is a minuscule 0.94. Anthony Swarzak came on for the 9th to finish the shutout striking out Munenori Kawasaki and Jose Bautista and inducing a fly ball from Edwin Encarnacion.
The Blue Jay bats were as cold as the weather. And, like several people voiced on Twitter, you can’t win if you don’t score. Yes, Dickey’s outing was bad (especially one inning), but even if he had given up only one run, it would have still been too much today. Even Melky Cabrera couldn’t hit Gibson. Cabrera’s hitting streak of 14 games came to an end.