Dave’s Free Play, Thursday 6/26/13
It’s just one game out of 162. But for the Toronto Blue Jays, it’s not a stretch to suggest that their Wednesday win over the Rays was the most significant of the season to date. Forget the fact they avoided getting swept by their divisional rivals with the 3-0 win. Two huge individual accomplishments overshadow the victory in every way.
Jose Reyes returned to the Blue Jays and the fact he was hitless means nothing. Just having Reyes back for what will be more than half the season if he can stay healthy is very big. He makes an already dangerous offense that much better, and if you saw the play Reyes made on the first chance he had defensively in this game, you know what he means with the glove.
Then there’s RA Dickey. This has not been a good half season for Dickey. He has really scuffled to find that zone he was in with the Mets last season. Dickey has had some physical problems with his back and neck, and to be blunt, he would have to rate as a serious bust thus far.
That changed yesterday. Dickey was not just good, he was great in fashioning a two-hit shutout. I thought he might have a legit shot at a perfect game as he mowed down one Rays hitter after another. It’s true that Dickey loves to pitch against the Rays, and in fact just missed a no-hitter at the Trop last season. But having seen almost all of Dickey’s starts this season, there’s no doubt in my mind that the guy I watched on Wednesday was the guy I saw last season with the Mets.
In other words, watch out for Toronto. They’re right back in this congested AL East chase, and it’s sure not that hard to make a case they might well be the team to beat.
I’m still working on my Thursday bases as this is being written, but there appear to be a couple of solid spots on the card. Get whatever I wind up with as my final cut by using the “buy now” tab. Monthly and seasonal rates available by emailing me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Note that longer term subscriptions will also include Canadian Football action!
06/27 10:05 AM MLB (957) TEXAS RANGERS (958) NEW YORK YANKEES
Take: (958) NEW YORK YANKEES
There isn’t a whole lot to like about the Yankees right now. If you match up the rosters of the five AL East teams, there’s a good argument to be made that the Yankees are the weakest squad in the division. The fact they’ve hung in as well as they have is actually pretty impressive to me.
I’m not ready to shovel dirt on the 2013 Yanks, as all five of the teams in this sector have needs to address. But with the Yankees appearing to be set in stone about not adding payroll, the likelihood of them making that big noise deadline acquisition seems remote to me.
One of the big issues is the back of the starting rotation. The big tease that was Phil Hughes has given way to a resolution that he’s no more than a #4 starter. He’s still going to have the occasional dominant effort, but he simply is not going to be an ace. He’s also a lousy fit for Yankees Stadium with his fly ball tendencies. Maybe he does better elsewhere, but as long as he’s wearing pinstripes, average looks to be the Hughes ceiling.
Nevertheless, I’ll give Hughes a roll today. He has enjoyed some success against Texas, and that’s something that can absolutely not be said for Derek Holland when facing the Yankees.
Holland has disastrous stats against this opponent, and he’s coming into this start on a negative roll. I’m not locked into historical data by any stretch, but it’s tough to ignore 0-5, 8.85. Add in the current form along with Holland’s day/night splits and there’s not much of a positive outlook that I can see.
The Yankees are not much offensively against southpaws, so there’s some concern on that count here as Texas probably does some damage to Hughes. But Holland being favored against a team and in a stadium that has been a Waterloo for him is worth a fade. I’ll go with the Yankees to win the series rubber match.