R.A. Dickey searches for some consistency on Friday when the Toronto Blue Jays begin a three-game series versus the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre.
Dickey, the National League's reigning Cy Young Award winner, has struggled in his return to the American League, going just 6-8 with a 4.90 ERA. He has alternated wins and losses his last four times out, but was solid Saturday in Texas, as he beat the Rangers by holding them to a run and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings.
"At the end of the year, you take out your four best and your four worst," Dickey said. "It's the other 22 starts in the middle that are really who you are."
Dickey was hammered for his runs in 6 2/3 innings in a loss to the O's back on May 25 and is 2-4 with a 4.11 ERA in nine games (6 starts).
Toronto starts this series playing its best baseball of the season. The Blue Jays won their eighth straight game on Wednesday, as Adam Lind hit a three-run home run in 5-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies.
Emilio Bonifacio and Melky Cabrera drove in one run apiece for Toronto, which saw starter Mark Buehrle (4-4) allow two runs on eight hits and a walk over five frames.
The Blue Jays, who have won 11 of their last 13 games, are in the midst of their best stretch since winning 10 in a row in 2008.
"We're getting the job done right now and hopefully we'll continue," said Lind. "Everyone protects everybody and the more times we can get through the order, the more times we see what that pitcher has."
Trying to slow them down on Friday will be righty Jason Hammel, who missed his start earlier in the week while dealing with a stomach virus.
Hammel is winless in his last three starts, but did not get a decision on Wednesday against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, as he allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings of a 9-5 loss. He is 7-4 on the year with a 5.24 ERA.
In 11 games (8 starts) against the Blue Jays Hammel is 4-1 with a 3.81 ERA.
Baltimore also enters on a high note after taking two of three from AL Central-leading Detroit. On Wednesday, Chris Davis' two home runs and five RBI helped the Orioles coast to a 13-3 blowout.
Davis registered his fourth and fifth RBI of the day on a two-run homer in the ninth inning, while Chris Tillman (8-2) allowed three runs on seven hits and three walks with one strikeout in five innings of work.
The Orioles had 17 hits in the series finale and have now won eight of their last 11 games. They are now just a game back of the first place Boston Red Sox in the AL East.
"This is a tough place to come in and win a series," Davis said. "Their pitching staff and lineup, they're obviously one of the best teams in the AL."
Baltimore has won four of its seven matchups with the Blue Jays this season.