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Poor Phillies: two games, two knuckleballers

May 25, 2010, 5:42 PM EDT

R.A. Dickey pitch.jpgSomething I hadn’t noticed until Major League Baseball’s tweeting logo told me about it: tonight, for the second straight game, the Phillies will be facing a knuckleballer. Sunday it was the Knuckle Knuckle King, tonight it will be R.A. Dickey.

Wakefield obviously disrupted the Phillies’ offensive flow on Sunday, but (a) Dickey doesn’t have the kind of knuckle-fu that Wakefield has; and (b) knuckleballs are one of those things that work nicely as, um, a changeup. If you saw it every day, however, you’d probably start teeing off on it — or walking 16 times a game — sooner rather than later.

Of course it’s also possible that the Phillies will go nuts on it, swinging with great vengeance and furious anger and end up looking like the Gashouse Gorillas flailing ineffectually at Bugs Bunny’s powerful, paralyzing, perfect pachydermous percussion pitch.

It’ll be fun to watch, either way.

  1. Eric in Italy - May 25, 2010 at 6:38 PM

    Are there any pitchers who use the knuckleball as a regular but occasional pitch? I mean, as one of several weapons in their arsenal?
    I imagine the whole motion is different enough that a professional hitter would never confuse it for a different pitch, but they know it’s coming with more than a second or two notice with guys like Wakefield and it still seems to work.
    Seems like it could be really effective in keeping hitters off balance if someone used it, say, 10% or 15% of the time, mixed in with other pitches. Or is it like some say about practitioners of modern art: those guys throw the knuckleball because they can’t throw a good fastball or slider…?

  2. Jeremy - May 25, 2010 at 6:58 PM

    Many pitchers threw at least an occasional knuckleball in the early decades of the 20th century. But not anymore.

  3. Jimmy Marlins Fan - May 25, 2010 at 10:01 PM

    all i have to say is bravo on the bugs bunny reference…just awesome indeed
    go marlins!…cody ross is making people wish they were bald

  4. Andrew - May 26, 2010 at 12:23 AM

    It’s not as though the Phillies were dominated a la Dice K (where did that come from?).
    What surprised me was the complete lack of aggression on the basepaths. I can’t remember a stolen base attempt.
    Zip zilch nada against Wakefield/V. Martinez?? They deserved to lose…

  5. jwb - May 26, 2010 at 2:01 AM

    And Dickey throws six shutout innings, Francouer gets two hits to raise his season line to .219/.278/.374, and all is well in Queens.

  6. Grant - May 26, 2010 at 8:08 AM

    In Ball Four Jim Bouton writes about how the Pilots wanted him to use the knuckler in addition to his other pitches (fastball/slider, as I recall). Problem was, his shoulder was shot and his other pitches were terrible, and he finally managed to convince them to let him go all-knuckler. He still wasn’t great, but, he was better, I guess.

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