Jays win, but RA Dickey left the game after six innings with back issues…*sigh* Other than that Dickey was the pitcher Jays’ fans expected him to be: 6 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 7 K. Another good night by the ‘pen—the only blemish was an inherited runner that Aaron Loup allowed to score—and Munenori Kawasaki set the tone. Casey Janssen needed only 8 pitches to close out win #7 and a series split.
The Jays’ offense still wasn’t sharp—they had only four hits on the night—but they took full advantage of the few opportunities they had. Emilio Bonifacio was on base three times despite not getting a hit. ‘Nori drove in a run, then Rajai doubled him home for an insurance run. Edwin Encarnacion continues to heat up; I figure it’s only a matter of time before those hits start denting the OF wall, then clearing it.
Several Jays had trouble with ChiSox starter Chris Sale, who is a good pitcher in his own right and pitched well tonight. Melky (3 Ks), Arencibia (2 K), and Lawrie (2 K) struggled to make contact. Reassuringly, they were the only Jays to whiff in the game.
Until they’re back to what passes for full strength, they will need to be efficient and economical. The extent of RA’s injury is unknown as yet, but ‘neck and back stiffness’ is the early report. Jose Bautista continues to struggle with back spasms. If you’ve had them before you know that back spasms and ‘fun’ are polar opposites.
Encouragingly, Munenori Kawasaki continues to be more than they bargained for when they signed him in March. He models himself on Ichiro (successfully in many ways), and has personality dripping from every pore. He battles in almost every at bat and his effervescence is a welcome change to the dugout. Defense is his strength and he’s been rock-steady at short.
As frustrated as I was with the drubbing they took in game 3, I am satisfied with a win like this. t’s times like these when the Jays will build the character necessary to make a run at the division, playoffs, and anything else that may follow. Next up: the New York Yankees.