Charlie Zink had a perfect 1-2-3 inning in his major league debut Tuesday night. Three All-Stars, nonetheless (Kinsler, Young, Hamilton.) So what happened in the 2nd inning when he gave up 2 runs and in the 4th inning when the wheels came off?
He had to wait about 40 minutes after the 1st inning before he was able to take the mound again, while waiting for the Sox to pound out those 10 runs. Now I'm not complaining about the ostentatious display of offensive prowess, but a knuckleballer does not like to sit still for very long in between innings. As reported in the Providence (RI) Journal, Zink even got up two times to throw in the batting cages to stay warm.
Jim Bouton, author "Ball Four", his controversial diary written during his 1969 season with the old Seattle Pilots and the Houston Astros, was a knuckleballer. His coaches and managers at first didn't want him throwing that pitch at all, much less a whole game. Once he became proficient enough with the pitch and convinced his coaches and managers to let him throw it for the whole game, he discovered that he needed to be throwing a lot more often than a conventional starter, a LOT more often.
It looks promising that Zink did not feel too defeated by his last 3+ innings as shown by his comments in the Providence Journal report. My hope is that he continues to shine in Pawtucket for the remainder of August and gets called up in September. Wakefield then returns from the DL, pitches a gem and leaves the game after 7 innings with a healthy lead. Enter Zink. Cash is already behind the plate. Zink then pitches 2 more knee-buckling innings.
It could happen. Hang in there, Charlie Zink.