A Big Pitch for Another Knuckleball Starter
For years, Boston's Tim Wakefield has been the Lone Ranger of the knuckleball. He toils away, racking up astonishing innings totals and a remarkable amount of wins for a pitcher nearing his 40s, thanks to a quirky pitch that only he can really get his head around (sometimes).
Well, as of tonight, he won't be alone anymore. According to MLB.com, on Monday night the Dodgers plan to start AAA knuckleballer Charlie Haeger, who was promoted from Albuquerque last week. Haeger, a long shot to make the major league roster out of spring training, held minor league hitters well enough to rack up a 3.55 ERA while winning 11 games.
Will he get his first major league win in his debut? That seems profoundly unlikely. The debutante is facing off against St. Louis's Chris Carpenter in the thick of a playoff race. And he has to pitch to Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday. Good luck Charlie.
Then again, if Wakefield has taught the baseball world anything about pitching a knuckleball, it's that the success of the pitch determines the success of the pitcher, not the quality of batter he's facing. In the early 2000s, Wakefield and his pitch were often at their best against some of the league's toughest lineups (predominantly the Yankees). If Haeger can channel a Wakefield-like focus, he might just be able to tap into a surprising win.
Do that, and there might just be more than one knuckleballer to marvel at.
August 17, 2009; 3:46 PM ET
Categories: Dodgers | Tags: Cardinals, Charlie Haeger, Dodgers, knuckleball
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