No Pickleshoes, It’s Not Magic. It’s Science!

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            In an attempt to avoid posting another Mariners game recap I have decided to focus on the one exciting aspect of last night’s game. In the depressing 5-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals, recent call-up R.A. Dickey was fantastic. The 33 year old knuckleballer, who was recalled from AAA Tacoma yesterday, threw 15 pitches in one inning of no-hit relief. It takes a special pitch or pitcher to make big league hitters look so lost at the plate. He may not be that special pitcher but he may just have that special pitch. Unlike most knuckleballers, Dickey can throw his knuck anywhere from 65 mph to the mid 80’s and that sort of disparity between speeds of the same pitch can really keep hitters guessing. The history of the pitch is a bit of a muddy one that involved a lawsuit by a high school pitcher who alleged Dickey “stole” the pitch from him (Dickey was cleared). His professional career up to this point has been a bumpy one, bouncing around the Brewers minor league system for a few years before the Texas Rangers put him in the 5th spot of their starting rotation in 2006.  Then, in an odd twist Dickey, in his first major league start, tied the record for most homeruns given up by a starting pitcher (6). The stat is not the odd part: he shares the record with fellow knuckleballer Tim Wakefield. Dickey was then demoted to the Texas AAA affiliate. His journey continued as he signed a minor league contract with the Brewers, which was short lived as he was a free agent after the season. In 2007 he signed with the Minnesota Twins where the Mariners claimed him in the rule 5 draft. Dickey, who pitched well in spring training, did not make the big league roster, which normally would force the Mariners to offer Dickey back to Minnesota per the rule 5 draft. However, the M’s liked enough of what they saw to trade a minor league catcher to retain his rights, optioning him to AAA Tacoma. One can only hope that he is in the Bigs to stay and that he can serve as an integral part of the Mariners struggling bullpen.

 

 

 

 

 

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