First there was Jonathon Sanchez’s no hitter, the first of the year. The game was full of excitement and close plays. The game saving rob from Aaron Rowand in the ninth. Only the error by Uribe seperating him from a perfect game. And the mere perfection from Sanchez that put him into the history books with the greats. Well, Mark Beuhrle is already there. Having thrown a no hitter in 2007, Beuhrle added onto his career of STELLARNESS by throwing a perfect game against the defending champion Rays. That’s right, Mark Beuhrle has thrown a perfect game on July 23, 2009. This picture, duplicated just an hours ago.
The game kept fans on there feet. It must have been such a great moment there. To have a ticket to that game must have been amazing (not knowing what would happen of course, but now that it has… wow). Beuhrle and the White Sox were… well let me say it… RE-MARK-ABLE!
Like Sanchez’s no hitter, a late game rob saved their moment in history. Aaron Rowand robbed what might have been a home run in the ninth inning of Sanchez’s no hitter. In today’s game against the Rays, a defensive replacement in center, Dewayne Wise, robbed a sure home run from Gabe Kapler and preserved the perfect game for Beuhrle. This was the single most important moment in the game, as was Rowand’s catch. Another great play was Gordon Beckam’s line drive catch at third after a long at bat from Pat Burrell. Honestly, it wasn’t all that well hit, but still, if he wasn’t there… there goes the perfection. On offense, Beuhrle wouldn’t have needed much but he got it anyway. Josh Fields hit a grand slam to start things off. Then, Alexei Ramirez and Scott Podsednik hit back to back doubles to get the score to 5-0. That would be four more runs than Beuhrle would need.
Beuhrle, already among some of the greatest names in history, adds to his already STELLAR career with this perfect game. In his outing, he went the full nine innings, had six K’s and gave up nothing to the Rays offense. That’s right. Carlos Pena, BJ Upton, Evan Longoria… they were all held silent by Beuhrle. Perfection. Such a great sight to see.
Beuhrle joins a great group of names of those who have thrown a no hitter and a perfect game on different occasions. The list includes the likes of Randy Johnson and… well, I forget who else but it is definitely a list to cherish being a part of. Beuhrle was absolutely STELLAR in what was clearly the most exciting part of this season. First there was Sanchez’s no hitter. Then just last night, Manny Ramirez’s pinch hit grand slam. Another great moment. And now a perfect game from Beuhrle. And just think about this… we’ve only just begun the second half of the season. We still have the rest of the second half to go. There’s still the playoff race to sit back and enjoy. Then the playoffs themselves. It’s going to be great and this season is going to be even greater. Just wait.
Absolutely RE-MARK-ABLE. Congrats to Mark Beuhrle on yet another phenominal accomplishment.
My favorite pitch in baseball. It is almost unhittable if it is mastered. It allows you to get ground ball outs which gets you deeper into games. And it is and has been the key pitch for so many pitchers to play the game of baseball. Some of the names that pop out to you on stat sheets are those of power pitchers. But so many of the good pitchers in baseball establish their supremacy with their finesse. Their changeups, their sliders, their sinkers. Those are my types of pitchers. The guys that work around a count with their secondary pitches, not just their fastball. Nothing against guys like Tim Lincecum or Randy Johnson or any other power pitchers (I am a big fan of Lincecum), but finesse pitching is the stuff I enjoy watching. The likes of Derek Lowe, Aaron Cook and Johan Santana (despite being a big strikeout guy) are who I am talking about.
Derek Lowe spent about a year in Seattle with the Mariners where he picked up his first win on June 6th against the Twins. He was then traded to Boston along with catcher Jason Varitek. In Boston, Lowe thrived. He was very successful both in the bullpen and in the starting rotation. After being in Boston for seven years. He was part of the team that won the first championship in 86 years, breaking the “Curse of the Bambino.” He then went on to play with the Los Angeles Dodgers after the 2004 championship run. He did return to Boston in a Red Sox jersey for their ring ceremony. He played with LA for three years before signing with the Atlanta Braves where he is currently playing. Over his career, Lowe never put up big strikeout numbers, never was a huge name that the opposing team highlighted on their game board before a series. He was good, but he wasn’t considered the toughest guy that would be on the mound.
Aaron Cook came up to the big leagues in 2002. He has played with the Rockies his whole career. He doesn’t have as interesting a story as Lowe does, but nonetheless, he is relevant to what I am talking about right now. He is another guy who doesn’t rely on the fastball 100% of the time. He is a finesse pitcher. He uses his sinker a lot to get guys out. He gets a lot of ground ball outs from this and he has been a very reliable guy for the Rockies over his career. Like Lowe, Cook’s strikeout numbers are never very high. But he is still a very big part of what is going on over in Colorado.
Johan Santana has a little bit of a different style of pitching than Lowe and Cook do. They both have very good sinkers but don’t have as good third and fourth pitches. Santana has the fastball, the very good changeup, and some other pitches that he uses to get guys out. Santana creates finesse pitching differently because he does it with the changeup. His strikeout numbers are generally up there. He has been the strikeout leader before and has always been close. Santana’s finesse is fun to watch because you never know when he is going to pull out that changeup. He doesn’t have the sinker, but he has that changeup.
So, I hope you all see how important finesse pitchers are to baseball. It’s not all about strikeouts. Although they are good to get, ground ball outs do the job just as well as strikeouts. It’s just that they don’t get on the stat sheet.
I’m sure that’s exactly what Zack Greinke, the Royals’ young star pitcher, is thinking right now after he just got smoked for five runs on nine hits (two homers) and a walk. He also had two unearned runs allowed in his five inning outing. Greinke must have been shocked, after so many STELLAR performances to start the season. He is among the top two pitchers in the AL and is in the running for a start in this season’s all star game. He is no doubt an all star but his only other competition for the start is the Blue Jays’ Roy Halladay who is also having a STELLAR season. Some competition, huh?
Greinke is currently 8-2 on the season with a league best 1.55 ERA. He also has 91 strikeouts which is also one of the best totals in the league. He is having an overall great season and this one loss won’t hurt him. This loss is definitely shocking… I’m shocked. But it really isn’t that big a deal. He still has one of the best records, has the best ERA, despite it being over 1, and has a great number of K’s. He is great. A youngster who is having a Cy Young season is something that the Royals need. Someone who can lead the team and get them somewhere. He’s going to be fine.
Now, the competition for the starting all star job is between Halladay and Greinke. That’s no doubt. They are the top two pitchers in the league and there is no one even close to having as good a season as these two are having. So who should it be?
My pick: Halladay.
Why: He has a better record. His performances this season have equally matched that of Greinke’s, and his team is winning. Halladay has been great throughout his career. He still is. Greinke is still young and I have no doubt that he will be a starter in the all star game sometime in his career. But right now, the spotlight is on Halladay who has proven himself over and over again that he is one of the best in the business.
So nothing against Greinke, because I happen to like him very much, but I think this season, it should be Halladay. But next year… who knows? Maybe next year will be Greinke’s turn.
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Another “Wow, did that just happen” moment from this week was Randy Johnson’s entry into the 300 win club. Way to go man. You’ve earned it. Johnson’s career so far has been STELLAR and he is still going. That’s amazing. This milestone is one of the most respected of all milestones reached in baseball.. I think it is the one you have to work the hardest for. It’s great for everyone who has reached it and Randy Johnson is now among some of the greatest pitchers of all time. Throughout his career, he has pitched for the Expos, Mariners, Astros, Diamondbacks (two stints), Yankees, and Giants. Here’s a little summary of his career.
Johnson has been the type of pitcher who would be set to pitch and the other team wouldn’t want to face him. He was a tall, powerful pitcher. He had a good fastball and good secondary pitches. He was just a great overall pitcher that new the game. Opponents didn’t want to face him. He has pitched a perfect game. He has demolished a bird in mid-air (not something you want him to do to you) and has come up big for all of the teams he has played for in his great career.
So now that you’ve heard some of that, I hope you would come to appreciate how hard it is to get to this milestone. Way to go man.
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Now here’s the last of my stories from this week. This also happened last night. It happened in the Mariners- Twins game. Ichiro, riding a 2 game hitting streak, went hitless against Twins pitchign ending his streak at 27. It was a disappointing game for the Mariners and Ichiro as his streak was snapped and the Mariners lost 2-1. Ichiro’s streak wasn’t the first long one of the season. Everyone remembers Ryan Zimmerman’s earlier this season which ended at 30 games. There have been others but none have gone as high as these two which have gained much attention all over the MLB community.
Ichiro has had a great season overall this year and is bound to get an all star bid for the mid summer classic in St. Louis. I have Ichiro among my votes for one of the outfield starting spots. Along with Jason Bay and Curtis Granderson.