For Matt Cain to start the All-Star Game, he'll need some help from R.A. Dickey.

Actually, he'll need some help from the confused hitters who must face Dickey and his goofy array of knuckleballs.

For as much as Giants fans might think Cain deserves to start the July 10 game in Kansas City, it's tough to argue with 11-1, Dickey's record. And 2.00 ERA. And back-to-back one-hitters. And 42 2/3 innings without surrendering an earned run. And 61 strikeouts and five walks in his past five starts.

Cain threw the 22nd perfect game in history and is 9-2 with a 2.34 ERA.

Both pitch Sunday, Cain against the A's and Dickey against the Yankees. Each has three more starts before the All-Star Game. If both scuffle, other candidates could emerge: Stephen Strasburg (9-1, 2.46), Gio Gonzalez (9-3, 2.55), Johnny Cueto (9-3, 2.21) and Lance Lynn (10-3, 2.80).

NL manager Tony La Russa isn't a fan of Cueto, who kicked Cardinals catcher Jason LaRue in the head during a 2010 brawl. LaRue sustained a concussion and was forced to retire.

For now, it appears a two-man duel, and Dickey is a heartwarming story, considering his age (37), repertoire (194 of 220 pitches in his one-hitters were knucklers) and traumatic personal life (which he documents in his autobiography, "Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball.")

La Russa is on record saying he has no qualms about starting a knuckleballer and that he'd trust Buster Posey or Yadier Molina, the leaders in voting among catchers, to work with Dickey.