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Toronto Blue Jays' R.A. Dickey Proves Why Fans Must Be Patient in April

KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 13:  R.A. Dickey #43 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches against the Kansas City Royals in the first inning at Kauffman Stadium April 13, 2013 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images
Jon ReidCorrespondent IIApril 14, 2013

It's amazing what a few consecutive wins can do to ease people's minds.

Heck, it only took a stretch of nine shaky games from the Toronto Blue Jays for much of their fanbase to declare that the sky was falling and that the team was going to be a repeat of the 2012 Miami Marlins (who had an incredibly disappointing campaign, despite their makeover).

The Jays, however, have won their opening two contests against the Kansas City Royals this weekend, and all of a sudden they are only one win away from being a .500 team.

What's more, the team hasn't played even 10 percent of its games.

See, when we plead with those who are willing to jump ship very early, we're not excuse-makers or  apologists for a bad team. We're just aware that baseball, more than any other sport, is a marathon and not a sprint.

Furthermore, much of Toronto's struggles have stemmed from its starting rotation.

Heading into Sunday's series finale in Kansas City, the Jays only have one starter who has an ERA below 5.00 (that being fifth starter J.A. Happ), and the team ERA is only better than the lowly San Diego Padres.

But R.A. Dickey's rebound performance Saturday night shows precisely why fans shouldn't be worried about stats like that so early in the season.

In his third start as the Blue Jays' staff ace, Dickey had, by far, his best start of the young 2013 season.

Going 6.1 innings, Dickey only gave up five hits, two walks and one earned run against the Royals. He only managed to tally four strikeouts along the way, but, in the end, he did pick up his first win as a Blue Jay and helped the team move to within one game of .500.

Being able to locate his pitches more consistently made all the difference in the world for the 38-year-old Nashville, TN native.

And it's the ability (or inability) to locate pitches consistently early in the season that explains why some pitchers struggle so much out of the gate.

Repeating one's mechanics 100 times without making a few mistakes just isn't feasible when pitchers are used to throwing about two to four innings and 50 or so pitches in a start during spring training.

In fact, other than a few individual starts (both Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle saw their velocity dip well below average in their second starts), velocity doesn't seem to be an issue for the Jays' starters.

At this point, it seems like they just need a few starts (as R.A. Dickey did) to settle into their routines and consistently repeat their mechanics in order to locate the ball more precisely.

 

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