Loup saves Dickey's bacon in Blue Jays win over Tigers
Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher R.A. Dickey throws against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park in Detroit, June 4, 2014. (RICK OSENTOSKI/USA Today)
The best thing R.A. Dickey had going for him Wednesday night was Aaron Loup.
Good thing for the Blue Jays, too.
When you glance at the final score, 8-2 for the Jays over Detroit, the last thing you’d think of as a turning point would be a relief job in the sixth, but as far as Dickey was concerned, it was the tipping point.
“It doesn’t get any better,” Dickey said of the job Loup did in relieving him in the sixth. “I’ve grown accustomed to how filthy he can be on guys and so I was hopeful that we were going to get out of that with at least giving up a run. But when you get out of a bases-loaded, no-out situation against that lineup, it’s phenomenal. He did a fantastic job.”
With the Jays holding a 3-2 lead thanks to Adam Lind’s two-run double in the top of the sixth, Dickey couldn’t stand the prosperity.
Instead of a shut-down inning, Dickey walked the leadoff hitter, gave up a line-drive single to centre by Alex Avila and then walked Nick Castellanos to load the bases. That was it for Dickey and on came Loup.
The lefty came through in grand form as he struck out pinch hitter J.D. Martinez, got Rajai Davis to pop out to catcher Josh Thole and ended the inning by inducing Ian Kinsler to pop out to Edwin Encarnacion in foul territory.
It took him nine pitches to strand the three runners and put the fire out.
“Loup did that incredible thing in the sixth, that was really the turning point in the game,” Dickey added. “If they get a couple of runs there the momentum changes and it’s a whole different ball game. He should get the win is how it should be.”
Loup said he loves the challenge.
“With bases loaded and nobody out, it’s one of those situations where you’re bound to give up at least one (runs) possibly two but you’re trying to limit the damage as much as possible,” he said. “Tonight was one of those lucky nights where you pull a rabbit out of your hat.”
Is it his stuff that got him through the inning without allowing a run or guts?
“I think it’s a little bit of both,” Loup replied. “You’ve got to bear down, make pitches and hope the ball rolls the right way in those situations.”
Offensively, the Jays received a series of clutch hits late and the lone downer was the fact Edwin Encarnacion had to leave the game in the ninth due to lower-back pain. He said it’s no big deal and will be examined prior to Thursday’s game.
In the top of the sixth, Adam Lind stroked a two-run double to centre to shoot the Jays into a 3-2 lead. In the eighth they added three additional runs, with Lind contributing an RBI double.
Then in the ninth, Jose Bautista added a two-run double to close out the scoring.
With the victory, the Jays have won four in a row, have won 13 of their past 15 and have secured the series victory over the Tigers.
They go for the sweep this afternoon with J.A. Happ going against Tigers great Justin Verlander.
DELABAR IN THE DUMPS
While the Jays rotation is humming along far better than anticipated, the bullpen, a perceived strength before the season started, has been something of a snake pit.
The Jays reliever that is struggling mightily of late is right-hander Steve Delabar.
On Tuesday, he entered the game in the bottom of the ninth with a five-run lead and promptly walked the first batter. One out later, he made it two walks. After a strikeout, he couldn’t close the deal and instead served up a three-run home run to Martinez which required manager John Gibbons to bring Casey Janssen into the game.
It wasn’t an isolated incident, as Delabar has now allowed six earned runs in three of his past four outings, a total of three innings. On the year he has made 26 appearances, a total of 22.2 innings and has allowed 13 earned runs on 16 hits and 14 walks. His ERA is 5.16
Something is amiss and with Delabar it is a slight reduction in velocity — he’s throwing 92-93 instead of 95-96 — and a lack of fastball command.
“You look at mechanical things I did in the past and the adjustments I tried to make and you go back and continue to make adjustments,” he said. “If you don’t, then the decline or the slide or whatever is going on will continue to go that way until you make that final adjustment that clicks.”
The problem that relievers face is they can’t go out and work on the side and try to fix things through a series of bullpens such as a starter would.
“You do some dry stuff, you throw on flat ground where it’s less stress on your arm, you look at video and you try to put yourself in the best situation where you can make that adjustment,” Delabar said.