We always like the doubly-rare drama of knuckleballer versus knuckleballer battles. And it looks like one such clash is “possible on Saturday,” as CBS Sports reports, thanks to a game delay for the Red Sox v. Indians.
This possibility is also—Mike Axisa’s all-caps—IMPORTANT:
Price’s second start will have to wait one extra day and Steven Wright, the team’s fifth starter, will start one day earlier.
So why is this newsworthy? Because this sets up the ultra-rare knuckleballer vs. knuckleballer pitching matchup Saturday. Oh yeah.
The Red Sox will be in Toronto to play the Blue Jays this weekend, and the Jays are scheduled to start R.A. Dickey Saturday. Wright vs. Dickey. Two knuckleballers.
Wright and Dickey have pitched against each other before, but it was in spring training back in 2013. As best I can tell, the last regular season meeting of two knuckleballers came back in 1988, when Tom Candiotti faced Charlie Hough….
So cross your fingers and hope the Red Sox don’t get rained out again this week. If things stay on schedule, we’ll have Wright vs. Dickey on Saturday, knuckleballer vs. knuckleballer.
Here’s a Gregor Chisholm report on the 2013 game Axisa refers to:
Dickey came back out for the second and allowed another leadoff single, but he was eventually aided by an inning-ending double play, which was turned by Jose Reyes and Lance Zawadzki. Dickey was charged with both runs on four hits and one walk while throwing 24 of his 34 pitches for strikes.
Wright was relatively flawless and likely made a strong impression on Tim Wakefield, who was in attendance for the game and will be traveling to Fort Myers on Tuesday to begin a working relationship.
“I was a little nervous,” Wright said. “I was not scared, just a little nervous, because you want to do your best in general but to have guys with a keen eye for the knuckleball…. Once I got out there, I felt pretty good.”
You may remember that Wright got sidelined during the 2015 season because of an injury. Now he’s back in fine fettle, and we’re hoping for a Clash of Titans. The MLB schedule currently shows the Red Sox and the Blue Jays clashing on Friday 7:07 p.m. EST and Saturday 1:07 p.m. EST.
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Good thing the Toronto Blue Jays kept knuckleball catcher Josh Thole around after Russell Martin joined the team and took up catching Dickey’s knuckleball, because it looks like the Jays want to let Martin ease up a bit in the knuckleball-catching department in the 2016 season. Per Associated Press, “Manager John Gibbons said Thole will work most of Dickey’s starts to help Russell Martin physically to avoid the stress of handling knuckleballs.”