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lw789 投稿日時: 2018-02-09 14:52
has dropped to 31st in world rankings
BOSTON, Massachusetts - There are times over the course of a season when a team needs its ace starter to be a stopper. For the Blue Jays the time was Wednesday and the ace was R.A. Dickey. He stepped up. "I feel some responsibility as a stopper from time to time," said Dickey. "I feel like thats why one of the reasons Alex pursued me and wanted to make the trade because he felt like I could be a guy that could help stop streaks when they werent going in our favour. Its not necessarily extra pressure but you do feel a real responsibility to be your best." Consider the situation: Following a franchise record-tying 11-game win streak the Blue Jays traveled to Tropicana Field, where the worst always seems to happen, and promptly lost the first two games of a three-game set against the division rival Rays. In stepped Dickey for an unusually early 12:10 afternoon start. 93 pitches and only two ground ball singles later, the Jays had won 3-0 and avoided the possibility of a lengthy losing skid. "Thats his job," said veteran Mark DeRosa. "Thats his job. Hes a number one, you know. We fully expected him to go out, maybe not throw a two-hit potential no-hitter the way he was rolling, but I have all the confidence in R.A. He knows, he knows, anybody who reads his post-game comments, this guy is thinking 10 days in advance. He knows what it takes and hes been there before and won a Cy Young." The Jays have won 12 of 15 despite Thursday nights 7-4 loss to the Red Sox. While the club, for the most part, has received excellent starting pitching during the stretch, a clearly defined staff ace has yet to emerge. Dickey is hesitant to discuss Wednesdays outing as a turning point in his season but his personal catcher, Josh Thole, who caught the knuckleballers Cy Young 2012 season with the Mets, suggested it could be. Thole struggled to catch the knuckleball in Wednesdays pregame bullpen session. It was even more difficult in-game. These are good signs. "I mean thats what I remember," said Thole. "What we saw (Wednesday,) is what I remember. Every fifth day it was a challenge to go out there, warm him up, take him into a game. Thats what I remember." "I dont usually say this but you could tell in the bullpen," said pitching coach Pete Walker. "I kind of kept it to myself but I think Pat (Hentgen) knew as well. We were watching him warm up and you could see the action on the ball." As a knuckleballer, Dickey often is left to his own devices. He can confide in Thole and bounce ideas off Walker but because theyve never thrown the pitch, there is a limit to which they can offer advice. As he does with all of his pitchers, Walker studies video of Dickeys work. He keeps a checklist with him, provided by Dickey, which details Dickeys mechanics. If Walker notices anything off kilter, even in the slightest, he provides Dickey with feedback. "There are some things he does like a traditional pitcher," said Walker. "Anytime he gets out of whack his front side will open up a little too soon, hell get underneath the ball a little too much and that ball will tend to stay up in the zone and take off on him. Like a traditional pitcher, when he stays closed long enough and gets his arm through the zone where it should be, you know out in front consistently, he gets the action that hes looking for." Dickey often travels into the clubhouse in-between innings to watch video. "So I can make an in-game adjustment," said Dickey. "But sometimes the differences are microscopic. Its the difference in an inch or two landing or an inch or two in my wrist position. I mean, thats what youre up against when you tackle becoming a knuckleball pitcher because you have to go through some things you dont have to go through as a conventional pitcher. Thats just part of the territory." Dickey spent most of the first two months pitching in pain. He had what can best be described as a strain on the right side of his upper back, pain he first felt in Kansas City in his third start of season. Being a knuckleballer coming off a Cy Young award was both a blessing and a curse. Throwing a knuckleball isnt as strenuous on the body so Dickey was able to pitch through the injury. Having been a conventional pitcher early in his career, Dickey says the pain would have sent the old him to the disabled list. On the flip side, hes struggled to live up to lofty expectations. With an overall record of 7-8, an ERA of 4.72 and 41 walks – an unusually high number based on his standard – Dickey has heard the jeers from frustrated Blue Jays fans and accepts them as a reality of the business hes chosen. He, too, has been frustrated. Now, hes focused on building off Wednesdays start and continuing the correction of the bad mechanical habits he developed because of the pain in his neck. "Sometimes its tough, especially when youre thinking about trying to throw without pain," said Dickey. "When youre trying just to throw a ball and not have pain in your back, you know, youre distracted maybe from being able to be in the moment with your mechanic." Now healthy, Dickey expects to be better in the seasons second half. Recent starts in San Francisco and, of course, Wednesday in Tampa Bay suggest hes on the right track. His next test wont be easy. Dickey is scheduled to start Mondays Canada Day matinee, at home, versus the offensively potent Detroit Tigers. 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He sits 113th in FedEx Cup standings and has dropped to 31st in world rankings — not the results expected from a player ranked fourth in the world only two years ago.GREEN BAY, Wis. - With two games left, the Green Bay Packers are playing to win out.Green Bay (10-4) can lock up a sixth-straight post-season berth as early as Sunday, when it plays at Tampa Bay (2-12), the last-place team in the NFC South.We are close to the playoffs, and we do have to buckle down and focus on the task at hand, running back Eddie Lacy said.The Packers, who are tied for the NFC North lead with the Detroit Lions, have their eyes on getting at least a No. 2 seed in the conference that would give them a first-round bye in the playoffs.They are counting on Lacy to be ready to go Sunday in the warm Florida air after Sundays mistake-filled 21-13 loss at Buffalo. Lacy, who has been bothered this week by an irritated eye caused by a contact lens, is probable to play.I took my contact out, and I guess it just got super irritated, Lacy said.Lacy, who needs 60 rushing yards for his second straight 1,000-yard season, prefers to wear contacts in the game, rather than goggles.I dont want to say I refuse (wearing goggles) because I think it will be better than wearing contacts, but thats kind of old-fashioned, Lacy said.The Packers, who didnt practice Friday, also listed linebackers Clay Matthews (biceps), Mike Neal (abdomen) and Nick Perry ((shoulder) and offensive guards T.ddddddddddddJ. Lang (ankle) and Josh Sitton (toe) as probable for the Buccaneers game.Right tackle Bryan Bulaga continues to go through the league-required testing protocol after suffering a concussion in Green Bays game against Buffalo. Bulaga is questionable to play against the Buccaneers.As we say in here all of the time, youre either a part of the protocol or youre not a part of the protocol, coach Mike McCarthy said. Hes still in it, and hes making progress.In the locker room Friday, Bulaga indicated hes close to completing the evaluation process for players who have head injuries. Bulaga said he had to pass a couple more steps in testing before he can be cleared by an independent neurologist to resume playing.I think were on a good track right now, Bulaga said. So well see what comes about tomorrow and go from there.An NFL spokesman said Buffalo defensive end Jerry Hughes wasnt fined for his open-field block on Bulaga that knocked the Green Bay lineman out of Sundays game on a Bills interception return in the fourth quarter.Young prospect JC Tretter filled in for Bulaga the rest of the game and has been getting the starter reps in practice this week in case a lineup change has to be made. 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