My son’s baseball coach describes a perfect game as one with a final score of 1-0, but he’s a pitcher, so I give him a little leeway for bias. It’s kind of like listening to Sam Huff and Sonny Jurgensen argue about the merits of quarterbacks and linebackers. A matter of perspective.
Jimmy Rollins of the Phillies won the last night’s game on the second pitch of the night. No one told Josh Johnson or Kyle Kendrick, so they went head-to-head in one of the best pitching duels of the Marlins’ season.
J.J. went eight innings, walking one batter and striking out seven, yielding no runs and only three hits. Mike Dunn and Steve Cishek handled the ninth, each notching a strikeout. Dunn allowed one hit.
Rob Brantly made his major league debut, handling a remarkable Johnson outing after only seeing his pitching during the starter’s pregame bullpen session. Furthermore, he had only eight warm-up pitches to adapt to Cishek’s submarine delivery. He went 0-3 at the plate. Asked after the game about his debut, he made the rueful comment that the second big league pitch he called was sent into the upper deck. My impression is that overall, he looked poised and relaxed behind the plate, and that his plate appearances will improve quickly.
In the “Really Awful Stats We Have To Look At This Year” department, we have a winner. Last night marked a club-record third consecutive shutout, and the team has now tied the franchise record for consecutive scoreless innings. And they face a (by all accounts) fresh, rested, hale and hearty Roy Halladay this afternoon. Yes, the same Halladay that used the Marlins as target practice for his Perfect Game. Unless we score a first-inning run, the current squad will go into the all-time Marlins Hall of Shame. Let’s hope we don’t get any closer to the MLB all-time record of 48 or so scoreless innings.
Yes, the pitching was outstanding last night, but it’s against hitting that has put both teams out of contention for the season, so it will never be a legendary game. In post-game commentary, manager Ozzie Guillen continued to emphasize the need for offensive improvement. While acknowledging the effort put forth by the team in the cage, when asked to identify the source of the problem, his response was “Name it. Besides work.”
Coming off of back-to-back wins and giving up just one run in his last 15 innings, Halladay squares off against Mark Buehrle in a matinee game today. Things don’t augur well for the offense-free Marlins.
Prediction: Hallady and the Phils will raise (lower?) the bar for the franchise record for scoreless innings, and will beat the Marlins by handing them their fourth consecutive shutout.