Bad Inning Does Dickey In vs. Orioles

BY @CHRIS_TOMAN

R.A. Dickey, coming off his best start of the season, struggled with his command Tuesday in a 4-3 Blue Jays loss but still looked good at times throughout the contest.

The right-hander allowed four runs, all in the second inning, over six frames and walked a season-high five batters, his most since issuing six in September 2011. That's a total of 38 starts in between those outings.

Dickey didn't get hit particularly hard -- he surrendered six hits, one for extra bases -- but had trouble controlling the knuckleball, which prevented him from going deeper into the game after needing a season-high 118 pitches to get through six.

One bad inning did Dickey in Tuesday, although he wasn't pitching in line with his normal routine. After exiting his last start for precautionary reasons, Dickey skipped his side session between starts.

dickeymachado

Beginning with the final out of a rough second inning, Dickey retired eight straight until Manny Machado hit a one-out double in the fifth, picking up three of his four strikeouts during that stretch.

His other punchout came in the first courtesy of Machado [above].

But Dickey ran into some trouble after that, issuing three more walks the rest of the way. He also threw this wild pitch with Nick Markakis at the plate that had some serious movement on it.

blanco

This is the thing with Dickey -- the knuckleball is such a feel pitch that Dickey can look really sharp, if not dominant, during any given at-bat, and an inning later, the knuckler looks completely different.

It's that kind of unpredictability that makes it next to impossible sometimes to catch him.

Another pitch got away from catcher Henry Blanco, in the second, and was ruled a passed ball.

Dan Toman wrote about his last start and has some visuals. Dickey was dominant, using 64 pitches to get through six, while striking out seven and walking one. The only reason he came out early was due to neck and back tightness, otherwise, as Dickey said, that was an outing he could have gone nine innings.

Dickey had a strong start before that, too, in Kansas City after coming off a shellacking at the hands of the Red Sox.

He hasn't been great but, minus the Boston start which is going to happen from time to time, he hasn't been bad either. For what it's worth, he cracked a nail that game, too. A couple rough spots aside, the 38-year-old has shown flashes of just how good he can be, which is a front-of-the-rotation arm.

It's only a matter of time before we start seeing more games like the White Sox outing in which Tyler Flowers said after, “For me, it was kind of like someone turned off the lights every couple feet as it was coming to you. It was moving that much, at least the ones to me were.” [MLB.com]

There were certainly those type of moments on Tuesday, just few and far between.

dickeyweiters

In five April outings last year (30 1/3 innings), Dickey -- the 2012 National League Cy Young Award winner -- had a 4.45 ERA, .246 opponents' batting average, while surrendering seven homers with 28 strikeouts to 10 walks. This season, in five April starts (29 innings), Dickey has a 4.66 ERA, .255 opponents' BA, 24 strikeouts, 14 walks and has surrendered three homers.

Dickey has one more start left this month on Sunday in the Bronx.

Last time Dickey faced Yankees star Robinson Cano, he did this to him.

GIFS by @DANTOMAN

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