Poor Phillies: two games, two knuckleballers


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.

Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for Red Sox

Bob Levey/Getty Images

No surprise here: Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. The Red Sox open the season on March 29 in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Sale will oppose Chris Archer.

Sale, 28, is the fifth different Opening Day starter the Red Sox have had in as many years, preceded by Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Sale started on Opening Day for the White Sox in 2013, ’14, and ’16.

Sale finished second in AL Cy Young Award balloting last year and finished ninth for AL MVP. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings. Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strike out 300 or more batters in a season dating back to 2003.