Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
By Evan Presement
The playoffs are just around the corner, and the Jays have a number of roster decisions to make. Not only do they need to figure out who will fill out their bench, but they need to figure out who’s going to be the last pitcher added to the rotation.
Here’s what we know so far: Marcus Stroman will be pitching game two of the ALDS. We know this because Stroman himself came out today and confirmed what 99% of Jays fans thought was going to happen. I’m also going to go out on a limb and suggest that David Price will be starting game one. Crazy, I know. So, that leaves one rotation spot left, and no one seems to be able to decide on who deserves it.
Really, there’s only two options for the third starter’s role: R.A Dickey and Marco Estrada. Dickey has been fantastic since the all-star break, going 8-1, lowering his ERA almost one full point. Estrada, on the other hand, has been tremendous all season long. He’s posted the best opposing avg. in the AL, second best AL WHIP, and fifth best AL ERA. It’s been an interesting turnaround from the guy who gave up the most home runs in the NL last year, and I’m sure he’s thinking about big money this offseason.
So, with that in mind, who deserves the third starters role? Well, it doesn’t matter what I think now because as I’m writing this, Shi Davidi has announced that Estrada will start game three and Dickey will start game four. Translation: Estrada will start game three and Dickey will start game four if we’re not in a position to lose, otherwise I’m fairly confident Price will be called upon to shut down Texas.
This is a smart move by the Jays. Carrying and extra (and solid) starter on your roster is never a bad idea. Worse comes to worse, Dickey sits in the bullpen and come on in long relief situations if needed.
The only issue I have with Dickey starting is that the knuckleball can be too erratic. In the controlled atmosphere of the dome, sure, it’s easier to predict how the pitch is going to move. But what happens when he throws it on a cold, windy October night? That’s not to say he can’t succeed, just that he’s more of a wildcard than a guy like Estrada.