Originally written on Baseball News Source  |  Last updated 6/26/13
Before the 7PM Eastern games even started Major League Baseball saw two complete game shutouts completed on Wednesday. R.A. Dickey, entering the game with an ERA north of 5.00 had an afternoon tilt with the division rival Tampa Bay Rays. On the other end of the country, A.J. Griffin faced off against the Cincinnati Reds in a battle of World Series contenders.Both pitchers carried their respective teams to statement victories. Both pitchers may have left the mound with dramatic personal and team implications to follow.R.A. Dickey and A.J. GriffinDickey was a major acquisition for the Blue Jays this offseason, when the Mets, selling as high as possible, traded the reigning NL Cy Young winner to Toronto for two major prospects.Dickey was to join Josh Johnson at the top of a totally revamped and allegedly World Series caliber rotation, joining forces with Ricky Romero and Mark Buehrle.Of course, Johnson struggled in April before injuring himself, Romero pitched his way out of the major leagues and Buehrle has not been treated well in his return to the AL.Dickey, never successful previously in the AL as a starter, still hadn’t demonstrated success before Wednesday. By the end of the game, the Jays had gained an important game on the Rays in a 3-0 shutout and Dickey was the 38-year-old ace Toronto had been looking for.His next test is against the Tigers as the Blue Jays gear up for an arms race to the American League East crown.Griffin did Dickey one better. While the knuckleballer retired his first 13 batters and gave up two hits on the east coast, Griffin carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning before throwing his own tw0-hit shutout against one of baseball’s best offenses.For Toronto, Dickey could catapult the Blue Jays to a division victory if he can build off of this in an otherwise lost personal season. Even with the win on 93 pitches, Dickey is 7-8 with a 4.72 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. He has a lot left to prove this year.Griffin, on the other hand, is a 25-year-old ace in the making for the A’s. A rotation reliant on dominant young starting pitching is seeing a breakout season from Griffin, who added an exclamation point in the form of his first career complete game or shutout on Wednesday.Griffin is just 5-6 even with the victory, but his 3.90 ERA and 1.15 WHIP are both trending even lower recently. Outside of Bartolo Colon, Griffin now has the lowest team ERA and is the most reliable starter, certainly the most valuable arm on the team going forward.Griffin’s victory puts the A’s  half a game ahead of the Texas Rangers (pending the Rangers game against the Yankees later on Wednesday) in the AL West and within a game of the league’s best record.  Dickey’s win has the Jays back over .500, one game behind the Rays for fourth place in the AL East but just 6.5 games behind the Red Sox for the division lead.Griffin will continue to try to prove he is the future of the franchise while the veteran Dickey tries to carry his team on his shoulders from last to first in the league’s most competitive division.
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