Saturday, June 26, 2010

New promotion at Tropicana Field

First five hundred fans get to no-hit the Rays.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Edwin Jackson was so wild early there was no reason to think he would even finish the game, forget throw the fourth no-hitter of the season.
Jackson (5-6) walked eight, all but one in the first three innings, but the Rays still were no-hit for the third time since last July, including Dallas Braden 's perfect game at Oakland on May 9.
Two things... first, Jackson threw 149 pitches to finish the game.  It's the most recorded in any no-hitter (they didn't bother counting stuff like this back when; I'd lay even money on one of the old-school guys topping this number, though's numbers go back a ways.

That in itself is not a big deal... but there's a game to be won.  I therefore wasn't so sure about this logic:
" All's well that ends well. We stopped counting at about 115,'' Diamondbacks manager A.J. Hinch said. " You do want to make smart decisions. You do have a chance at history and you don't want to take it away from him."
You don't, but it's 1-0 and your guy walked seven in the first three innings.  Hinch was warming up guys all night but didn't bring them in.  To Jackson's credit, he was never in such desperate trouble again, but Hinch has to be ready to call his guy in before that first hit if he has to.
Sentiment worked the same way for Dwight Gooden in 1996.  He was done as a front-line starter when he tossed his no-hitter for the Yankees; if I remember right it was the only shutout he had after leaving the Mets.  He threw a lot of pitches in that game, but not terribly out of line from other starts he made that season (game log here).  But you'll notice that a lot of those starts, those pitches didn't get him far.  He made, by my count, ten different starts in which he topped 100 pitches but didn't get through more than six innings - including one outing of 4 2/3 that took him 132 pitches.  It was foolhardy, to say the least, for Joe Torre to leave him in with a slender 2-0 lead.  Just the other night a fresh, young, good pitcher, Jon Papelbon, came in to close a game and threw all of eight pitches: two each to four batters.
Homer, single, sac bunt, homer, ballgame.
You can't give away wins through sentiment, even the sentiment of a New York hero coming back to his city and symbolically fulfilling, for one day, the destiny he squandered as a youth.  Nor should you heedlessly risk wins through the sentiment of... having pitched for the Rays two teams ago.
The other thing is small and petty and I wasn't even alive, but the AP account is calling 2010 "The Year of the Pitcher."  Hogwash.  The Year of the Pitcher is 1968; not to be a jerk about it, but Carl Yazstremski was the only guy who hit .300 in the AL that season.  How many games do you think a guy would win if he finished the year with 13 shutouts and a 1.12 ERA?  Bob Gibson won 22 and somehow lost 9.  He'd go 31-1 with numbers like that nowadays.  (Except in Kansas City.  He'd go 4-9, bust out GM Dayton Moore's windows with fastballs, and force a trade, then win the Cy Young for a half-season of work like Sutcliffe did with the Cubs in '84.)

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