Indians at Jays September 2, 2015 - 7:07p
R A Dickey / Josh Thole batteried win tonight likely a brilliantly engineered, physiological management win - courtesy of the Blue Jays front office.
In keeping Thole on the roster for Dickey starts - by any-means-necessary (by optioning him first to AAA Buffalo in the last rotation which included 3 off days, and then to A Ball Lansing Lugnuts this week (which shortened his option because the league season ended - and that meant that - by MLB rules - his necessary stint there ended; which allowed the Jays to recall him to the 40-man roster early ... as in - for Dickey's next start) - allowed this feel-good start by the veteran knuckle-baller who goes to 10 Wins and 10 losses with a 4.09 ERA over 28 starts with a 7 win and no loses run starting after a July 18th loss to Tampa Bay that had the veteran at 3 and 10.
The importance of the 'Battery' when it comes to knuckle ballers was front and centre tonight. Through-out the game I recorded moments when Thole pulled into the strike zone, pitches that were called strikes - but which were in fact, balls.
The pitches that were fooling the Tribe, I thought, were also in the coarse of events, fooling Umpire Andy Fletcher. In one such instance - in the 3rd - the erratic-ness of the knuckle ball/fastball/change-up combination resulted in a 13-pitch inning - and that - the inning after Dickey fooled the opponents in a 3-up 3-down, 6 pitch inning in the 2nd - together which undoubtedly helped shut down the Indians over all but for 1 run in the 4th - their only run.
Image: BrooksBaseball | R. A. Dickey against Indians, September 2, 2015 - Inside/Outside pitch zone with number in at-bat | http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/pfx.php?month=9&day=2&year=2015&game=gid_2015_09_02_clemlb_tormlb_1%2F&pitchSel=285079&prevGame=gid_2015_09_02_clemlb_tormlb_1%2F&prevDate=92&league=mlb
Also of note in this game was the running play by Josh Donaldson in the 2nd with the bases loaded - that intuited the fact that the Jays weren't scoring a lot of runs against this hot Indians team* - Donaldson at third decided to make a try for a run with 2-out (after the hit-ball-out) with a 4-0 lead - to steal home on a high pop to shallow right-centre which Kipnis was peddling backward on when he made the catch - and beat the throw just up the third base line by jumping over the catchers' arm-swinging tag by actually jumping over the tag and landing with his left hand on the plate!
On the defensive side of the equation - of note was the play by Goins in the 7th in which he tracked the ball hit to the deep hole at second (in shallow right-centre), made the catch of the ground ball and then planted and turned 270 degrees with his next step and panted a throw to the outside corner of the 1B bag - which Smoak scooped nicely for the out. (No embed for some stupid reason - thanks again to MLB Advanced Media) - http://m.mlb.com/video/v442891283/?game_pk=415634
* By "a lot" I refer back to my previous "Tweet-post" (see embed below) about the jays' scoring 'slump' following the Yankess series loss at the end of their 11 game winning streak - which meant they weren't scoring more than 5 runs per game; which matches their god-like scoring performance through that streak and in fact through the entire season (5.49 Runs/Gm).
Jays in a slump? In the nuclear juiced ball era (1994-): 1R = 3R; 3=5; 5=11 < 4R / Game is a slump. #BBBA #MLB @espn pic.twitter.com/8Who0PCEzO— Michael Holloway (@m_holloway) August 22, 2015