Manuel Preaches Patience Against Mets Knuckleballer

“Stay in the middle of the field and don’t try to do too much with it.," Charlie Manuel said of Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey's knuckleball. (David M Warren/Staff Photographer)

Charlie Manuel is preaching patience against tonight’s opponent, New York Mets knuckleball specialist R.A. Dickey.

The righthander throws one of the more harder knuckleballs, but one that can play tricks on the hitters when it’s working its best.

So the strategy is simple.

“Make him throw strikes,” Manuel said before tonight’s game with the Mets at Citizens Bank Park. “Stay in the middle of the field and don’t try to do too much with it.”

Manuel then talked about some of the adjustments a hitter can make against a knuckleballer.

“You can get up close to the plate, cut the area where he can throw the ball,” Manuel said. “You could get up front and catch a knuckleball before it breaks to its full extent.”

Dickey is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA this season after going 8-13 with a 3.35 ERA last year.

In his career he is 2-3 with a 2.61 ERA against the Phillies, but 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA at Citizens Bank Park.

“When he is good he has pretty good command but you definitely have to make him throw the ball over the plate and try to get a hit off him,” Manuel said. “You have to be ready to hit his knuckleball, that is what he is going to make you hit if he can.”