If I asked you which one of the pitchers scheduled to start on Sunday May 9, 2010 would throw a perfect game you probably would have chosen two time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum, how about Ubaldo Jimenez who already threw a no-hitter earlier this year, or A.J. Burnett who also has a no-no under his belt. Nope, none of these flame throwers threw a perfect game. Okay, so how about Adam Wainwright who was last years runner up for the Cy Young and a top tier pitcher in the league, or how about a trio of young south-paws with filthy stuff like Clayton Kershaw, Ricky Romero, and Jon Lester. Nope, none of these young guns threw the 19th perfect game in MLB history either. So who did?
How about 26 year-old left-hander Dallas Braden. Braden, who you probably remember for his skirmish with A-Rod two weeks ago when Rodriguez ran across the pitcher’s mound which apparently is one of baseball’s infinite “unwritten” rules, threw the first perfect game since Mark Buehrle did it last season. All that being said, let’s concentrate on and celebrate only the 19th perfect game in major league history (yep, only 19). Braden is also only the 7th lefty to pitch a perfect game, joining an even more elite list which includes potential Hall of Famer David Wells, sure-fire Hall of Famer Randy Johnson, and Hall of Famer and one of the best left-handed pitchers in MLB history in Sandy Koufax. What makes Braden’s perfect game even more impressive is that he only had 6 strikeouts throughout the game, relying on the defense behind him. Braden also became the first pitcher in major league history to throw a perfect game against the team with the best record in the league at that time (this year the Tampa Bay Rays hold the league’s best record).
Braden’s perfect game was even sweeter as it was thrown on Mother’s day in front of his grandmother. Braden and his grandmother Peggy Lindsey, who raised him after his mother’s death when Dallas was in high school, shared a special moment on the field on a Mother’s day Sunday afternoon. Their moment together not only affected Oakland A’s fan everywhere, but baseball fans in general; just another example of sports and the impact it can have on life.
Happy Mother’s Day Mom!
The Yankees and Phillies are set to play game 1 of the 2009 World Series tonight (weather permitting). The Yankees throw out Cy Young Award Candidate C.C. Sabathia while the Phillies counter with an ace of their own in Cliff Lee. Game 1 should be pitchers duel, but you never know. Here are my predictions in terms of who has the edge in starting pitching, bullpen, lineup, and manager, and ultimately who I think will win the World Series.
I’m going to look past the first two starters on both team’s depth chart because I believe that Hamels and Lee are evenly matched against C.C. and A.J. Instead I’m going to look at each team’s third starter. I know Pedro is pitching game 2, but Hamels is #2 in the Phillies rotation not Pedro. So it comes down to familiar names, Andy Pettitte and Pedro Martinez. Both are big game playoff pitchers, but I have to give the edge to the Yankees. Pettitte holds the record for most postseason wins with 16 and he has pitched extremely well, not only in the playoffs thus far, but for the entire season. Pedro’s limited starts looked like they have been beneficial so far, but Pettitte has a more complete body of work this season. Slight edge to the Yankees.
Yankees get the edge in terms of which team has the better bullpen. The combination of Chamberlain, Hughes, and Rivera is one of if not the best in the majors. Sprinkle in Phil Coke and David Robertson and you have a strong, deep, reliable bullpen. This is not to say that the Phillies do not have a good bullpen, but Madson and Lidge are not consistent enough to be relied upon late in games. Plus Brad Lidge did blow two saves against the Yankees already this season.
I’m going to have to give a slight edge to the Yankees when it comes to who has a better lineup. Both teams are equal towards the top of their lineups as Victorino, Rollins, Utley, Howard, and Werth compare equally to Jeter, Damon, Teixeira, A-Rod, and Matsui. The Yankees edge comes with their depth towards the bottom half of their lineup. The combination of Posada, Cano, Swisher, and Cabrera are favorable over the Phillies’ Ibanez, Feliz, Ruiz, and whoever they put at DH, whether it be Stairs or Dobbs or Mayberry or Francisco. The Yankees have the best lineup in baseball, but by no means are the Phillies a distant second.
The edge when it comes to managers is definitely on the side of the Phillies’ Charlie Manuel. Manuel has a 20-11 career record in the postseason, a wealth of experience, and has a World Series ring which came last year. On the other hand Joe Giradi does not have a lot of playoff experience as this is his first postseason. Girardi also has a habit of micromanaging his pitching staff, especially the bullpen.
Yankees in 7.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I am shocked that the Dodgers swept the Cardinals in the NLDS. I thought this was going to go down to the fifth and deciding game, instead the Dodgers took care of business quickly and are sitting in the driver’s seat as they await the winner of the Phillies and Rockies series.
The Dodgers jumped on Carpenter early with a 2 run homer courtesy of Matt Kemp. Dodgers starter Randy Wolf had some trouble, giving up 2 runs while throwing 82 pitches in only 3.2 innings. But their bullpen of Weaver, Belisario, Kuo, Sherrill, and Broxton pitched 5.1 innings giving up only 1 run on 6 hits.
The Cardinals wasted a gem by Adam Wainwright. The potential Cy Young award winner pitched 8 strong innings while giving up only 1 run on 3 hits and striking out 7. The Dodgers couldn’t get anything going against Wainwright, but their bats came alive once they got into the Cardinals bullpen. Matt Holliday’s error sparked a two out rally for the Dodgers. Ronnie Belliard singled up the middle to tie the game at 2. Then pinch hitter Mark Loretta provided the game winning walk off hit, dumping a single into left-center, and just like that the series went from being tied at 1-1 to the Dodgers taking a commanding 2-0 series lead.
Newly added Vicente Padilla pitched surprisingly well, shutting out the Cardinal’s offense over 7 innings. The Cardinal’s starter Joel Pineiro pitched a disappointing 4 innings, giving up 7 hits and 4 runs. The Dodger’s high-powered offense put up 12 hits against Cardinals pitching with 9 of the hits coming from a combination of Furcal, Kemp, Ethier, and Ramirez (top of the lineup). Jonathan Broxton got the final 4 outs of the game and the Dodgers swept the Cardinals and are moving on to the NLCS.