When Dickey goes in, balls will be sprayed around the field.
I have never been a fan of the idea of R.A. Dickey pitching for the Twins. But I gave the organization the benefit of the doubt when it decided to keep him on the team to start the year. Maybe they saw something to suggest that all his seven other years as a major leaguer with a 5+ ERA are behind him. Perhaps the knuckleball, a recent addition to his arsenal, will help him succeed where he previously failed. If so, his ability to pitch on consecutive days could save the bullpen.
After two consecutive games in which he was on the mound as the Kansas City Royals scored the winning run, I am now ready to rescind my benefit of the doubt. There is little doubt in my mind that the Twins have at least a half dozen pitchers who could do a better job in the majors than Dickey. His OPS against over the last 14 games is 1.250. Some thought he would do fine as a reliever based on his season last year, when he was decent as a reliever and horrible as a starter. Wrong. His OPS against as a reliever this year is 1.139. Some thought he would be a great addition especially at home, where the still air in the Dome would help the knuckler. Wrong again, his OPS against at the Dome is 1.062. No matter how you slice it, R.A. Dickey is having an awful year.
These numbers only tell part of the story. A full picture of his numbers is a much longer and gorier story than I have time for here. The motivated reader should check out the number of inherited runners who have scored, his OPS against in a tie game and his OPS against with RISP. All of those stats are off the charts.
So what's to be done about it? Well, obviously, the Twins need to option him out and get a different pitcher up here. But before that happens. Ron Gardenhire has got to get it through his thick skull that this guy is to be used in mop-up situations only. I was down with the idea of Dickey to eat innings in blow outs. But Gardy has used him in two tie games, two one-run games and three two-run games. For you mathematicians out there, that's every relief appearance he's had (he had one start). He has not been used in mop-up situations (Craig Breslow and Jesse Crain have). Based on his usage, it's clear that Gardy is so in love with this guy, the only thing Smith can do at this point is option him out and get another guy up here. That's what he did with Juan Rincon and Brian Bass last year. And it can't happen soon enough with Dickey this year.
The good news is, both Kevin Mulvey and Anthony Swarzak are off to great starts at Rochester and would be huge upgrades over Dickey. Or, if they want to go with a short reliever, either Anthony Slama or Rob Delaney would be good additions. There is no shortage of options. But after losing two consecutive games aginst a division rival with this guy on the mound, it is past time to end the experiment of R.A. Dickey.