Jonathan Sanchez, fresh off the scrap heap, the rumor mill, and possibly the bullpen; took his spot start and just missed a perfect game. Between his 2-6 record, his Dad seeing him pitch live for the first time ever, and Lincecum's near miss last night, that was some performance.
…. Among his many talents, Tim Lincecum also is a prophet. On Friday afternoon he said, “Someone might throw a no-hitter and it might not be the ace of the squad. It might be an unsung hero kind of guy. Anybody can do anything.”
A few hours later, anybody did something, and it was remarkable.
On a slightly cool but comfortable night for baseball at China Basin, Jonathan Sanchez pitched the Giants' first no-hitter in 33 years, beating the San Diego Padres 8-0. Only a Juan Uribe error stood between Sanchez and a perfect game.
…. So good was Sanchez that he nearly threw the 16th perfect game in the history of modern baseball. He was five outs shy when Uribe muffed an eighth-inning chopper by Chase Headley and could not pick up the ball. Headley was the only Padre to reach base against Sanchez, who struck out 11 to set a career high.
UPDATE: Peter G (Peter Gammons?) mentioned that I called the no-hitter:
…. As one might expect from a team with so little offense, the Giants came within a hair’s breath of being no-hit today. Not for nothing, but this team is pretty much a no-hitter waiting to happen.
I'm assuming that was tongue-in-cheek. ;-)
I am, however, on record as saying that Lincecum is a no-hitter waiting to happen. Not in writing, but out loud, with my loud mouth.
Nonetheless, this team is starting to seem a little bit special, or should I say, it seems that maybe, just maybe, this team is coming to be more than the sum of its parts. At this point, Sabe
an cannot trade Sanchez anymore –obviously– and perhaps he shouldn't trade anyone.
Uribe puts a pretty good swing on it, Sandoval is a terrific hitter, Molina is back from the grave, Rowand is having a solid season…. Hmmmmm, let me look at something….
The Giants scored 118 runs in June, in 27 games. That's 4.37 runs per game, better than the NL average, and almost a half run better than they had been scoring heading into June. In July, they've scored 43 runs in 9 games, that's 4.7 runs per game. Another way of looking at it is to say the Giants are scoring 4.5 runs per game since the start of June, 161 runs in 36 games. During that span of 36 games, the pitchers have allowed 108 earned runs, 117 runs in total. That's 2.75 runs per game. (read that sentence a few times) That's an expected winning percentage of .721. (read that sentence a few times) A team scoring and allowing that many runs should have gone 25-11 since the start of June. They've been just a bit below that, 23-14 according to ESPN's standings page, but that's still an outstanding run of over .600 ball, for almost a quarter of a season.
They have the second best record in the NL, a two game lead in the Wild Card, have a league-leading 13(!) shutouts, twice as many as any other team. Perhaps they have found just enough offense. The defense is suspect, (although they seem to have committed a lot of errors recently, including the loss of the perfect game last night, in reality, they have only 46 this season, which is one of the lowest totals in the league); but since they are also leading all of baseball in strikeouts, their pitching makes up for a lot.
That's the good.
Renteria moves so slow, he looks like he's wearing a suit of armor. Uribe is a bit less than sure-handed. We still are at the bottom of baseball in home runs, Randy Johnson is still old, and Barry Zito is still expensive.
That's the bad.
Not quite as much as there used to be, no?