Friday, September 6, 2013

Almost Perfect

Baseball nobody Yusmeiro Petit threw the game of his life tonight and became only the twelfth pitcher in major-league history to lose a perfect game on the 27th batter. The well-traveled Venezuelan was dropped from the Giants 40-man roster twice this season before crafting his one-hitter. Among his many stops on the journeyman trail was Oaxaca, Mexico. The smiling, beardless picture of me you see when you click M.C. is from Estadio Eduardo Vasconcelos in the city and state of Oaxaca, home of the Guerreros. I still have the O.G. jersey I'm sporting in the pic. The fateful hit came off the bat of Eric Chavez on a 3-2 pitch--I wonder how many of the eleven previous guys got two strikes on the batter before losing him. Chavez has been in the bigs for 16 seasons and has always been a tough out. The Diamondbacks are his third team. He spent his first 13 years with Oakland, their longest-tenured player next to Rickey Henderson (14 years). He almost had to hang up his cleats due to back injuries but managed to get healthy and get a second chance with the Yankees. He spent only two seasons in the minors before his call-up at age 20. Petit was a bit of a phenom himself, reaching The Show at age 21, but lost his job in the majors by age 24. He had to get cut by two clubs in two seasons before the Giants resurrected him last year.

Hunter Pence looked like he might have had a chance for a spectacular play on that stroke off the bat of Chavez, but it fell just short of his reach, and that's saying something. Hunter "Plastic Man" Pence gets to most balls, so you know it was a clean hit. It was, alas, a great night of baseball. The Giants won the game, in a large part, because Pence (who scored all three runs) and catcher Hector Sanchez got three hits each. And Juan Cruz made a great catch in left after being inserted for defense. Yusmeiro Petit came oh-so-close to baseball immortality, and it is a shame he lost it on the last batter. A damn shame. But it was one hell of an effort.



p.s. Matt Cain--he of perfect game fame--is listed as tomorrow's starter.


Brother Bob said...

Boy there's such a small difference between an historic accomplishment and an "Atta boy!"
The 2-2 pitch to Chavez was a beauty, just below the strike zone. Nine out of ten batters would swing at that and miss.
Petit is probably using steroids. Nobody gets this good this fast. I hope he doesn't get caught. Also, why hasn't he learned English yet? He's been playing in North America for 12 years. Oh well.

Zo said...

With the rigorous testing in the major leagues by agreement between MLB and the players' union, he cannot possibly be using performance enhancing drugs. Give the guy a break will, you? He just threw the game of his life and suddenly one of our 2014 question marks doesn't look quite as big.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Baseball is hard. It takes some guys years to master their stuff. Think Ryan Vogelsong. And positive drug tests are remarkably rare, below 0.5%.

As far as Petit's command of the language goes, it was obvious in the post-game session that he understood everything said to him, and that Jose Alguacil was there just to do the talking. I've seen Gregor Blanco speak for Joaquin Arias, for example, and Angel Pagan speak for several others (Mijares? Machi? can't remember).

Just a tremendous effort. 95 pitches!! His Game Score of 92 was lower than Tim's 96 for the no-hitter, but I think this was more impressive. 26 straight outs is serious shit, man.

M.C. O'Connor said...

2013 Yu Darvish
2010 Armando Galarraga
2001 Mike Mussina
1990 Brian Holman
1989 Dave Stieb
1988 Don Robinson
1983 Milt Wilcox
1972 Milt Pappas
1958 Billy Pierce
1932 Tommy Bridges
1908 George Wiltse

Source: ESPN

M.C. O'Connor said...

Oh, and Petit has logged 967-1/3 innings in the minors over the course of 11 seasons--that's almost 4000 batters faced. And he's seen parts of 6 ML seasons, facing over 1100 batters in 76 games (40 starts). He turns 29 this November. Hard to reconcile that with "nobody gets this good this fast." Seems like he's had to work pretty fucking hard to get where he is now, and that's it has taken a long goddamn time. Did you know he was a member of Venezuela's 1994 Little League World Series team? He would have been 10 years old then.

I, for one, am pretty damn excited the Giants might have found another "diamond in the rough."

Brother Bob said...

I apologize. My point was, I think, that he's been mediocre for a long time and now he's great. I'm too cynical, I know. I hope he's the real deal and turns out to be a great Giant.