Knuckleballers are known to be corky, cerebral and generally hard to figure out for a manager.
Manuel has said on a few occasions that he plans to “ride” the hot hand of Dickey while he can.
The underlying concern is you just never know when a knuckleballer is going to flutter back to Earth.
But there have been few indications that Dickey will be derailed anytime soon. He had his best outing of the year his last time out, a 4-0 win over the Cardinals.
Cardinals hitters were admittedly baffled by Dickey’s knuckleball, which nosedived, danced away and zipped through the zone to spoil every approach a hitter could come up with.
After striking out in his first at-bat and then going hitless in the July 29 game, Albert Pujols was 0-for-6 lifetime against Dickey. “Make sure the ball is up and to put a good swing,” Pujols said of his approach. “That's it. And it didn’t work. Like I said, he kept us off balance and that’s why he did pretty well today.”
Rookie outfielder Jon Jay went 1-3 and said Dickey's dancer was the best he'd ever seen. “He’s different," said Jay. "Most knuckleballs are moving slower. His [knuckleball] is hard. It’s almost like a hard split-finger type of thing. He was on today and you’ve got to tip your cap to him.”
Dickey takes the mound tonight looking to get the Mets back on track and help the team stay in the Wild Card hunt. With seven wins this season, Dickey is two shy of matching his career-high set in 2003.
Dickey spent years meandering through the majors, transitioning from starter to spot starter, then to reliever and at times struggling to keep his job. But 2010 has been a stellar year for him. For those waiting for the shoe to drop, keep waiting. Dickey has settled in.