So it continues. As I listened to Tim Kurkijan say Monday night that Matt Garza was the eighth pitcher this year to take a no-hitter into the eighth inning, a feeling of relief sunk in. The days of the long ball (i.e. the steroid era) might be dwindling.
Tampa Bay's Matt Garza dominated the Detroit Tigers on Monday and pitched a no-hitter. It was the fifth (6th if you want to include Armando Galarraga like I do) no-no of the year and the first in Tampa Bay history.
Yes, ESPN cut away to check out Alex Rodriguez's at-bat to see if he was going to hit No. 600. But outside of New York City, A-Rod hasn't received the attention one would expect about this milestone (probably because he admitted to cheating...). Once A-Roid hits his 600th homer, there will be a media-frenzy. But it won't last long (hopefully).
Why? Pitching is cool again. Chicks don't dig the long ball anymore. Digging the long ball is obsolete. Oh, and I can't forget the whole testing-for-steroids thing.
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This year proves it. There has been a no-no in each month this season and two of them perfect games. I would much rather see something like that than a batter who needs to take drugs in order to hit the ball 450 feet.
Monday night had a twist too. Through six innings, both starting pitchers had no-hitters going. Detroit's Max Scherzer had only walked one batter when they sixth inning began. Unfortunately, he ended up walking the bases loaded and giving up a grand slam to Matt Joyce. It was still great to watch while it lasted. That's the second time this year a no-no was messed up by a guy named Joyce by the way......
To be a fan, though, watching Joyce's homer and knowing that seeing history was still possible at that point was a great feeling. Knowing that the Tampa Bay pitcher could still get the no-no (no offense to Scherzer and the Tigers) was a great feeling. Knowing that the Tampa Bay pitcher could still pitch a no-no at home was a great feeling.
With only three innings left, Garza came through. Just like every other no-no or perfect game pitcher, Garza received some help with great defensive plays. Ben Zobrist made an incredible catch in the second inning and Carl Crawford took care of Miguel Cabrera's line drive in the eighth.
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Once he got the final out, it was moving to see the Rays run out of the dugout, overjoyed, and seemingly happier than Garza. It was nice to see Detroit ace Justin Verlander stay in the dugout and respectfully clap for the 26-year-old. It was nice to see Garza do it, facing the minimum 27 batters. It was nice to see the team that had been no-hit twice this season, finally end up on the good side of the milestone. I just hope this happens again in August.
P.S. - I couldn't help but wonder what Armando Galarraga may have been thinking as he watched from the opposing dugout..... - Michael Klopman
Michael, a Penn State Graduate writes for Xtra Point Football, Around the Horn Baseball, and works on the sports page at the Huffington Post.
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