Dickey talks about the line drive he took off his left elbow and his pregame phone conversation with Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, who held Philadelphia scoreless for eight innings Sunday.
R.A. Dickey’s first Mets win was impressive solely from the perspective that he held the Philadelphia Phillies scoreless for six innings in what became an 8-0 victory Tuesday. It became more impressive when you consider he was struck in the left elbow by a line drive from Ryan Howard to open the second inning.
X-rays taken after that half-inning, as well as after the game, were negative. But Dickey’s elbow did swell. And manager Jerry Manuel -- who visited with trainer Ray Ramirez on the mound after the direct strike -- said the knuckleballer asked out after the sixth inning. Dickey still hopes to make his next start, Sunday in Milwaukee.
“When he got to the mound, I couldn’t feel my hand,” said Dickey, who ultimately stranded the bases loaded that inning as well as in the third. “That was a little bit scary. Slowly, about the second batter I faced, I started being able to get some sensation back in my fingers. But it hurt that first batter catching the ball because I really couldn’t feel my hand. So I just tried to put the glove where the ball was going to be and open up. But it was tough.”
Dickey had quizzed knuckleball mentor Tim Wakefield of the Boston Red Sox by phone about the Phillies’ lineup earlier Tuesday. Wakefield had tossed eight scoreless innings in Philadelphia on Sunday.
Dickey matched a career high with seven strikeouts. Mets starting pitchers have now produced a 0.93 ERA in the past eight games.
After Henry Blanco caught Dickey’s Mets debut in Washington, Rod Barajas drew the assignment this time. Like Blanco, Barajas used an oversized catcher’s glove that Dickey carries with him. Barajas’ only experiences with knuckleball pitchers had come in the minors as well as once with Dickey in spring training.
“I remembered the way (former Red Sox catcher) Doug Mirabelli did it,” Barajas said. “He kind of sat sideways a little bit. What I’ve always heard is, 'Just relax and let the ball come to you.' Once you start going out and trying to snatch the ball, it’s not going to be there anymore. It’s going to go a different direction.”