Poor Phillies: two games, two knuckleballers

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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.

Video: Starling Marte refuses to take first base after being hit by pitch

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Pirates outfielder Starling Marte was hit on the hand by a Jack Flaherty pitch in the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Cardinals. Rather than take first base, Marte — who came to the plate with a runner on first base — insisted to home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman that the ball hit the knob of the bat, not his hand. Marte was allowed to continue his at-bat, though manager Clint Hurdle came out to discuss the ruling with Dreckman. Marte eventually grounded into a fielder’s choice. He then got caught attempting to steal second base and the Pirates scored zero runs in the inning.

According to Baseball Prospectus, a team that has runners on first and second with no outs is expected to score 1.55 runs. Having a runner on first base with one out yields 0.56 expected runs. Marte essentially cost his team a run by rejecting first base. Oops.