R.A Dickey’s struggles this season didn’t take a turn for the better on Saturday afternoon as the reigning Cy Young award winner racked up his fifth loss of the year. Dickey allowed seven earned runs on six hits while allowing a staggering three home runs -including a leadoff home run to Michael Saunders and a Dustin Ackley grand slam- to balloon his ERA to 5.36 in 2013.
Dickey had been diagnosed with mild neck inflammation earlier this week but was cleared to start. The injury has been lingering and Dickey has said that more down time leads to increased productivity, but the Jays have yet to skip one of his starts. Dickey has already surrendered eight home runs early this season, or one-third of his 2012 total of 24. He’s striking out less batters (7.0 K/9 in 2012 Vs. 8.9 K/9 in 2013), walking nearly two more per nine, and is having difficulty locating his pitches as only 56 of 100 were thrown for strikes today.
The traditional statistics may often be misleading, so do advanced metrics indicate that Dickey is performing poorly? Absolutely. His 4.56 xFIP coming into today’s game ranks as his worst number since 2009 and is considered a very poor metric. While his line drive and ground ball percentages are right in line with his 2012 season, batters are connecting for fly balls 7% more which is contributing to his high home run total. The American League is simply keen to Dickey’s signature pitch.
Photo Credit: Michael Baron