Game #2: April 4, 2016 – 7:10 ET
R.A. Dickey (11-11, 3.91 ERA, 4.48 FIP) vs.
Drew Smyly (5-2, 3.11 ERA, 3.91 FIP)
The Stroman-Archer match up has the looks of a low-scoring pitchers duel, and I can’t see this one being the same. It’s tough enough to limit the Jays explosive offence once, but doing it two days in a row is a tall task.
Smyly offers an array of plus pitches from the left side, and had a lot of success missing bats when he was healthy in 2015 (10.40 K/9), but he struggled with home runs (1.49 HR/9), and the Jays hammer left-handed pitching. I mean, they absolutely hammer it.
Toronto led the league last season in wRC+ against LHP with a mark of 124, while also placing first in OBP, SLG, ISO, and BB/K. Their offence was by far the best last year, but it was downright unfair against LHP. I don’t envision the fly-ball prone Smyly, who has fairly heavy LHP/RHP splits, having a fun time against the Jays.
There isn’t much to be said about Dickey. In terms of repertoire, experience, familiarity with the Rays and Tropicana, you pretty much know what to expect. The knuckle is either there or it isn’t, and there isn’t a large space for him to fall in between.
There is a general perception that Dickey loves pitching at Tropicana and he fairs well there, but in the last two years, he’s actually struggled at the Trop and against the Rays in general, especially in 2015. It’s basically a toss-up trying to predict how Dickey will perform, but with a solid spring under his belt and with the knuckler looking good you hope he can deliver a quality start and let the offense take control of this one.
Next: Game 3: Sanchez looks to build off strong spring