A Nearly Perfect Night (Atleast for a Philly Sports Fan)
I wanted to talk about this earlier, but I was too busy getting my tan on and catching drumfish in Wildwood. This past Saturday one of the most unprecedented things occurred. In the midst of the anticipation of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Blackhawks and Flyers, Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay was cruising. Every Philadelphia sports fan was watching the hockey game. While watching one of the wackiest contests in Stanley Cup History, Halladay just kept sitting down Marlins as if they were looking for their musical chair.
I kept tabs on my laptop with the MLB.com gameday feature. After 3 innings I joked with my family and friends “Well he’s perfect through 3.” Then it was 4 innings, 5 innings etc. Then the 1st intermission came at the most opportune time. We switched from NBC to CSN to pick up the final 2 innings of play. As we watched we thought, shit, we hope we didn’t just jinx it.
This was especially the case when Jorge Cantu laced a sharp ground ball to third, but Juan Castro made a nice play to keep the perfecto going. In the 9th, pinch hitter Mike Lamb hit a towering shot to center which may have gone out in most ballparks. Luckily for the Doc and the Phils, Shane Victorino got on his horse to track it down. On the final pitch, Ronny Paulino hit a soft ground ball in which Castro gobbled up, spun and slung to 1B Ryan Howard to preserve the 20th Perfect Game in MLB history.
The Phillies needed perfection to win the contest itself. They had been shut-out 4 of the last 6 games. It’s not like Sandy Koufax was on the bump for those four shut-outs either. Here’s the list of starters; Daisuke Matsuzaka, R.A. Dickey, Hisanori Takahashi and Mike Pelfrey. The last year Matsuzaka has been a trainwreck for Boston, Dickey is a journeyman who’s missing a ligament in his elbow and Takahashi is a middle relief joke. I’ll give Pelfrey some due.
The very next day after the perfecto, the Phils again failed to yield a run to make it 5 shutouts in the last 8 games. It was against Annibal Sanchez, who does have a no-hitter on his resume, although he walked like 35 hitters in his no-no.
Some quick facts
- Halladay becomes the 2nd pitcher to throw a perfect game this season. Oakland’s Dallas Braden was the other. This also follows Colorado’s Ubaldo Jimenez’ no hitter. The White Sox’s Mark Buehrle threw a perfect game last season.
- Halladay is the 5th pitcher to win a Cy Young and pitch a perfect game in MLB History.
- On Sept 27, 1998 against Detroit Halladay had a no-hitter going in his 2nd start ever. He got through 26 outs without allowing a hit until Bobby Higginson homered.
- Jim Bunning threw the Phillies first and last perfect game on June 21, 1964 against the New York Mets.