“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 Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.