“There are people in and around the baseball world who give the knuckleball a bit of a knock,” MLB network analyst Dan Plesac said at the start of Wednesday night’s Cy Young Awards Show.
Apparently those people are not well represented in the Baseball Writers Association of America.
Mets right-hander R.A. Dickey was named the Cy Young Award winner in the National League, easily beating out the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw and Gio Gonzalez of the Nationals in the BBWAA balloting.
Dickey got 27 of the 32 first-place votes, becoming the first knuckleballer in major league history to capture Cy Young Award honors. Kershaw got two first-place votes and Gonzalez got one. Reds ace Johnny Cueto was also given a first-place vote, as was Braves closer Craig Kimbrel.
Dickey led the National League in innings pitched (233 2/3) and strikeouts (230) while finishing the season with a 2.73 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. The 38-year-old threw consecutive one-hitters in June.
“I’m beside myself,” he told MLB Network via satellite after his name was announced. “Clayton and Gio are both supernatural. They give everybody fits. This is an honor to be shared. My hopes always outweighed my doubts.”
The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.
Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).
Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.