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R.A. Dickey uses magic flutterball, stymies Giants

When a knuckleballer can command a pitch that doesn't spin, just read a book instead.


At least it was quick.

There's something about a team getting dominated by an on-his-game knuckleballer that's different. It's like a tennis player losing on a cardboard court. It stinks, and no one likes to lose, but how often does he play on a cardboard court? One of those things.

My original analogy had to do with a top-form knuckleballer being like the pterodactyl from Joust, and that you spend so much time worrying about the eggs and other ostriches, you can't freak out when the pterodactyl gets you. Except I hate the pterodactyl in that stupid game, and I rather like Dickey. So cardboard courts it is.

I'll stand by it as an analogy because the knuckleball isn't something the Giants see even one percent of the time. Before Dickey's first start against the Giants on the 14th, the last knuckleballer the Giants saw was Dickey (twice) in 2011. Before that, they saw Dickey in 2010 along with Charlie Haeger. But this was probably the best knuckleball performance the Giants have seen in San Francisco since Phil Niekro out-dueled Renie Martin in '82.

When Dickey was at something like 75 pitches in the eighth inning, it wasn't even worth getting mad. So the Giants were swinging early at the knuckleball? Who cares? Maybe that's what they're supposed to do. Makes as much sense as anything. Swing early, wait him out, stand farther up in the box, choke up, choke down, bat left-handed even if you're right-handed, use a shoe instead of a bat, swing a watch in front of the umpire's eyes, pour rum into a teeny little glass so your carved idol can drink from it. All of those are viable strategies against a top-tier knuckleballer with his best stuff.

My evidence that Dickey had his best stuff: Marco Scutaro threw his bat into the stands after striking out. This was the first swing and miss Scutaro has had since 2003, and he went full Cody on it. It takes a nasty pitch to do that.

It doesn't matter if we're talking about the team from 2013, 2008, 2000, or 1962. Knuckleballers are basically lousy cheaters, so you can't get too down on an offense for not doing what they're supposed to.


Wait, if we're on the "doing what they're supposed to" tip, howzabout walking Henry Blanco to lead off an inning? That would be something pitchers should not do. Barry Zito did it, and it led to four runs. If there were any justice, it would have led to five.

Henry Blanco …

… walked three times last year

… walked three times this year coming into the game

… doesn't walk much

… is the same age as Marvin Benard, Armando Rios, and Jamie Brewington

… hit three home runs against Jonathan Sanchez in eight at-bats

… last had a hit against the Giants in 2011

… it was a triple

… against Waldis Joaquin

… which is a computer-generated player because otherwise we'd all remember him, right?

But we've strayed from the point. Don't walk Henry Blanco to lead off the inning. And if you can avoid it, don't let him score from first on a double by the pitcher.


Rank in MLB, 2013:

Hits allowed to pitchers
1. Nationals (22)
2. Rockies (21)
3. Giants (17)

Doubles allowed to pitchers
1. Nationals (7)
2. Giants (5)
3. Rockies (4)

Homers allowed to pitchers
1. Giants (3)
2. Mets (2)
3. (Eight teams tied with one)

Just checking.


Man, certain parts of that game brought back so many memories, you know? Where does the time go? So many memories.


I didn't like this game much, and I don't have a lot to say about it, so here's a picture of a random guy taking a picture of Megadeth:

And Chuck Billy of Testament! Also, that photographer looks familiar. That's much more interesting than this game. Stop thinking about this game.