R.A. Dickey shuts out Rays in no time flat

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Well, technically, it was 2 hours and 10 minutes. Still, it was a breeze.

Toronto’s R.A. Dickey, finally throwing his knuckler with authority again, pitched a two-hitter Wednesday against the Rays for his first shutout and complete game of the season. Dickey entered with a 5.15 ERA in 16 starts. He had three shutouts and five complete games while winning NL Cy Young honors last season.

Largely due to a back injury, Dickey hasn’t been throwing his knuckleball as hard this year as he was previously. Today, though, he was often hitting 77-78 mph on the gun with the pitch, which is about what he averaged last year. And he was still getting great movement, obviously. He ended up striking out six and walking one.

Dickey threw just 93 pitches on the day, the second lowest total in a complete-game this season. The Nationals’ Jordan Zimmermann threw 91 pitches in his one-hit shutout against the Reds on April 26.

Matt Shepard to be the Tigers new full-time play-by-play guy

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Fox Sports Detroit has named Matt Shepard their new full-time play-by-play guy for Tigers games. Shepard will work with analysts Jack Morris and Kirk Gibson, who will split time.

This is the move in response to former longtime announcers Mario Impemba and Rod Allen getting suspended and later fired following an in-booth altercation in Chicago last September. The two of them, who weren’t exactly friends, reportedly fought over a chair, with conflicting reports of how serious the fight was. An anonymous witness said Allen put Impemba in a choke hold. Allen recently gave an interview in which he denied that and said it was only some pushing and shoving. Either way, it ended their 16-year team-up for Tigers games.

Shepard has worked for Fox Sports Detroit for nearly 20 years, doing fill-in play-by-play for the Tigers — he replaced Impemba for the last few weeks of last season — and for Detroit Pistons games. Gibson has been a part time analyst for the network for the past couple of seasons, splitting time with Allen. Morris has done Tigers, Blue Jays and Twins games over the years, sometimes even splitting time between the Twins and Tigers, which is rather unusual.

Shepard is pretty good at his job. While Tigers fans liked and were familiar with Impemba, there won’t be a falloff in quality. Gibson makes some good analytical points and has a surprisingly sharp and biting sense of humor about him, but his gruff and monotone delivery is not everyone’s cup of tea. You get used to it. Morris is not my cup of tea — he tends to do a lot of the “back in my day” stuff former players often do — but I’m pretty sure he could recite the dictionary on TV in Detroit and a lot of Tigers fans would tune in. Such is life.