When Toronto knuckleballer R.A. Dickey steps on the mound for the Blue Jays Wednesday, he says it will be special.
That’s because he’ll be pitching against the A’s Bartolo Colon.
Dickey, the 2012 National League Cy Young Award winner while pitching for the New York Mets, has been pitching in the Major Leagues off and on since 2001, most of that in the American League.
Colon, who has pitched in the big leagues since 1997, also has spent the bulk of his time in the American League.
But for all of that, this will be just the second time they’ve pitched in the same game.
“The last time must have been 2004,’’ Dickey said. “Then upon reconsidering, he said, “or maybe it was 2001. Either way, it was a long time ago.’’
For the record, it was 2001. And Dickey, who was at that point a classic right-hander with a fastball-slider-changeup repertoire, was a reliever. He pitched two innings on April 29, 2001 against the Indians.
Colon was the Cleveland starter. He threw eight innings, giving up two runs, one earned, which is sort of the way he pitches every five days now. Colon, the Cy Young Award winner while pitching for the Angels in 2005, comes into the game 14-3 with a 2.54 ERA that is third in the American League.
“What he’s done is amazing,’’ the 38-year-old Dickey said of the 40-year-old Colon. “I’m looking forward to seeing him pitch.’’
For the A’s, they will be facing the now knuckleball-throwing Dickey, the first time they’ve faced a knuckler since Aug. 26, 2011, when Oakland beat up Tim Wakefield of the Red Sox 15-5.
They’d faced Dickey earlier that year during his time with the Mets. He beat them 3-2, allowing three hits and one run in eight innings. The last time he pitched in the Coliseum was July 10, 2008. He threw seven shutout innings that day, but he got no decision while throwing for the Mariners.
“This is a good place to pitch,’’ Dickey said. “To hit the ball out, you have to hit the ball out.’’
That contrasts to his current home in Toronto, where Rogers Centre sees the ball fly out at a hellacious rate. Dickey, 8-11 with a 4.86 ERA for a struggling Toronto squad, has allowed 24 homers, 18 of which have come in Toronto.