So I hurt myself rolling my eyes at something from Richard Griffin over at the Toronto Star. Some watching the Jays were a little huffy about RA Dickey being switched with Dustin McGowan, though I'm not exactly sure why. Many are saying it was Dickey's request (demand?) to pitch inside at the Rogers Centre (which he believes is better for his knuckleball) rather than outdoors at Camden Yards vs The Orioles.
Griffin argues that it's Dickey putting his own results over the results for his team, as if a pitcher pitching well doesn't have a direct impact on the game and greatly improves the chances of a team win.
"He throws a knuckleball, has a personal catcher, only emerged as a frontline guy at the age of 37, believes in his heart he is affected by wind, heat and humidity and takes all that into consideration when planning his schedule. Finally, he has no elbow ligament."
I can't quite get worked up over this. People get on Dickey about wanting "a personal catcher" in Josh Thole, but it isn't about some sort of mystical chemistry between them. It's about the fact that Thole can catch the damn thing. And by the way, the wind, heat and humidity stuff are not Dickey's "feelings", it's SCIENCE. Here is a New York Times article from 1987 on the science of the knuckleball. And frankly, all pitching is science. Physics, to be precise.
Griffin argues that McGowan could've gain confidence facing the "punchless" Astros. Or McGowan could've struggled again, left in the third and Gibby taxes the bullpen before a big series with division rival Baltimore Orioles.
The Jays signed a freak pitcher. It would be odd to complain when things get a little freaky.
All of this got more heated after Dickey left the game, behind 5-1. Tim and Sid on Sportsnet were moaning about it this afternoon. "He got everything he wanted. What happened?"
Here's what happened. Brace yourselves, because it's shocking.
Dickey got tired.
It's not like the guy gave up 5 runs in the first. He did throw 108 pitches and pitched into the 7th. He got tired and the knuckle stopped dancing. The offense didn't quite get anything going against lefty Dallas Kuechel, but the game was basically tied into the 7th inning. Dickey wasn't perfect or anything (not even close), but he did keep his team in it until he got tired. It's why I recommend Gibby go get Dickey, even if he feels he's got a few more in him. Even if he makes his mad face. Every pitcher worth his salt is going to say "Yeah, skip, I got this." Even if he doesn't. Even if his arm is detached in a bloody mess on the mound. It's up to the manager to make the decision, even in when faced with mad faces.
Fifth starters get moved around a lot. It's not exactly unusual. And it's not like McGowan blew the doors off in his first start. Had he done that, I might feel a little more passionate about this decision. But I just don't. If you want to feel pissed off about it, I guess you can.