I can cry, beg and whine
To every rebel I find
Just to give me a line
I could use to describe
I think this is a good time to remind the People of Earth that Taylor Swift played two shows at the Sprint Center in Kansas City last month. (You've heard of the Sprint Center? It opened in 2007, it cost $276 million, it seats roughly 18,000 people, and it's the home of the Kansas City Command. Yes, the Kansas City Command. Arena football, if you please.) So Taylor! You took the trouble to go there. We'd like to see some results, if you don't mind.
This afternoon matches up a pair of elderly pitchers, one of whom is very tall.
Dickey and Young were teammates, of course, once upon a long time ago. They were together in Texas back in 2004-2005. At the end of the 2005 season, the Rangers included Young as part of the deal to obtain Adam Eaton. Among those going to San Diego with Young was a fellow named Adrian Gonzalez, so that didn't work out so great for the Rangers. Especially after Eaton moved on as a free agent after one year in Texas.
Young's made 4 career starts against Toronto (2-1, 4.98). Mark Buehrle beat him 6-2 back in July, although the Royals were only down 2-1 when Young came out of the game. Russell Martin (9-30) has by far the most experience against him, followed by Jose Bautista (3-16) and Josh Donaldson (1-16). Edwin Encarnacion has a homer in 4 ABs against Young. If Gibbons is looking for a pinch-hitter at some point... well, he certainly knows that Dioner Navarro has 4 hits including a HR in 6 ABs against Young, which works out to a rather nifty 1.917 OPS.
Dickey faced the Royals once this year and it was one of his best starts of the season - 7 innings of two-hit shutout. Ben Zobrist hit a two-run HR off Roberto Osuna in that game, after going 0-2 against Dickey. Zobrist is 6-39 against Dickey in his career. Alcides Escobar also has 6 hits against Dickey, but he only needed 18 ABs to get them. Alex Rios is 5-24, which isn't too good, but he has hit a couple of homers.
It certainly appears that John Gibbons intends to ride the front of his bullpen as hard as he can, that he doesn't think he has much choice in the matter. The bullpen is off to a rough start in the ALCS - the relievers have made 10 appearances in this series and they've allowed 7 ER in 6.2 IP. That's a 9.45 ERA, and that's not too good. At this point, it looks like Gibbons believes in Osuna and Sanchez, and no one else. Oh, he may be starting to trust Mark Lowe a little. I wouldn't expect to see Hendriks, Hawkins, or Tepera anywhere in the same area code as a close game; I also can't imagine that Gibbons is eagerly looking forward to calling on Aaron Loup after his ugly work in Game One.
So I would not expect him to have a quick hook for R.A. Dickey, not this time. Except for the fact that Gibbons - like most managers - doesn't particularly trust the knuckleball, on some sort of general principle.
Oh, never mind. It's the same lineups as we saw in the first three games. We know them by now and don't need me typing them out, do we? Especially when there are Bigger Fish to fry. For the Man in White has made a comeback, and haven't we missed him? Royals pitcher Edinson Volquez told Jordan Bastian that Johnny Cueto thought the signs were being stolen last night. Volquez himself didn't seem to think all that much of it (or at least he wasn't going to let it get into his own head, which strikes me as very sensible:)
Johnny said last night, but that's your fault. You've got to hide the ball and have better communication with your catcher giving you signs when you're pitching. So it's nothing wrong with it. We just have to hide the ball and have multiple signs to hide it from them... we've got a lot of friends of different teams, they always say that, they give the signs or whatever it is. But I don't go crazy with it. I just want to pitch my own game.... [Johnny] said last night, they got a guy in centerfield. You see how hard it is, he look to the centerfield and he see somebody do this or do that, it's really hard to do that. I don't know, he said that. But when the guy gets on second base, he said something about that, too, they were giving signs to the hitter. But I don't know.
Oh, Johnny, Johnny - your catcher wasn't just going through multiple signs for you, even when there was no one on base - he was coming out to the mound to consult with you on the next pitch. So consider this: maybe the Jays have discovered a way to read - not your signs - but your mind. (Cue creepy organ music.) One might also point out that on the Tulowitzki homer, Perez set up in the middle of the plate with his glove practically brushing the dirt and Cueto delivered a pitch that was so high that it was actually out of the strike zone (yeah, he missed his spot by about five feet.)
Anyway, I'd be happy to hear some suggestions as to what messages might have been transmitted by the Great White Wonder.