White Sox try to avoid a Dickey scuffle reprise

Tom Szczerbowski

If a knuckleballer throws the White Sox for a loop this time around, it'll be hard to tell the difference

Back on April 18, R.A. Dickey shut down the White Sox for six innings with the greatest of ease. He allowed just two singles and a walk, and even though he struck out seven batters, he still needed just 64 pitches. Given the feeble swings he induced, he probably would have gone the distance if neck and back tightness didn't force him out of the game.

That loss closed out a 3-7 road trip, and it was the first of four consecutive losses that really dug their first hole of the season. They scored just seven runs over those four games, leaving Ventura searching for an answer for the cold bats:

"You think it's going pretty good, you have a good day and then knuckleballers can do weird things to you as far as how your swing is," said Ventura, referencing the Sox seven-run game against Toronto the day before they faced Dickey. "I don't know if that's it or not. But it does enough to throw you off. That's why guys don't like batting against those guys."

I bring this up because the White Sox, who are trying to win their third straight, face Dickey again tonight. Given that the offense still has the league's worst output, I don't think Ventura has to rely on the knuckleball defense if things go wrong tonight.

And while we're talking about April 18, that was the night Dayan Viciedo strained his oblique. He's starting tonight despite a brutal slump (3-for-41, one walk, 15 strikeouts, three GIDPs), but considering his best stretch occurred upon his return from the DL, I wonder if Ventura might be trying to recreate that magic.

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