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Gameday Thread, #79: 6/25 vs. Red Sox


Randy Johnson
LHP, 4-5, 5.09


Tim Wakefield
RHP, 4-5, 4.17 preview [opens in new window]


Today is a test for the claimed Snakepit divinity of Rachel Nichols. She was invoked during the 2-1 game which opened this series, but the results were somewhat inconclusive. Her supporters said she was responsible for avoiding an eighth-inning meltdown (like the one we suffered last night), while the more skeptical said that waiting until we were 2-0 up before calling upon her, was hardly much proof of her ability to move in mysterious ways.

Hence, today's game, where she will start with a clean sheet: I figure that if she can get a win for Randy Johsnon, on the road and against the best team in the American League, then she deserves to be considered for inclusion alongside the other deities in our pantheon [albeit below the blessed Penelope of the Cross, naturally]. That's especially true when our team of young hitters are facing knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, which promises to be...interesting. I love the concept of the knuckler; facing one, not so much.

That's especially true since Hudson and Byrnes are the only two batters we have who have faced Wakefield before - I doubt the others have ever seen anyone who uses the pitch. To offset that, former knuckleballer Tom Candiotti has been pitching batting practice to our guys, so that might give them at least a handle on the best approach to dealing with the pitch. However, to quote hitting coach Charlie Lau, "There are two theories on hitting a knuckleball. Unfortunately, neither of them works." Yes, if Ms. Nichols can pull this one out for us, minor sainthood should be seriously contemplated.