May 19, 2012

SO HE'S GOT THAT ON HIS RESUME:

Kerry Wood and the greatest game pitched (David Schoenfield, 5/18/12, ESPN.com)

I'll never forget walking into the office that May afternoon in 1998 and having excited co-workers ask, "Did you see what just happened?" 

Kerry Wood had struck out 20 batters. 

He was 20 years old, making his fifth career major league start for the Chicago Cubs, and he had just blown away the Houston Astros, one of the best hitting teams in the league. We saw the highlights on "SportsCenter." Yes, it was a gray, overcast day at Wrigley Field, and maybe the Astros had trouble picking up the ball, but I'm not sure it mattered all that much. I remember the "SportsCenter" highlights, in which they showed all 20 strikeouts in rapid-fire fashion. I've since watched the game on replay. 

You can talk about Nolan Ryan or Roger Clemens or Randy Johnson at their best, but I've never seen a more dominating pitching performance. His pitches were moving like whiffle balls thrown in the middle of the Columbia River Gorge, except they were moving at 95 miles per hour. 

The Astros had no chance. 

They managed one infield single and Wood hit a batter, so it wasn't a perfect game or even a no-hitter. But by the Bill James Game Score method, it was the best game ever pitched. 

If you watch the game the most noticeable thing is how tightly wrapped his breaking pitch is and how hard it bites, though it supposedly wasn't a slider.  Elbow problems were inevitable.
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Posted by at May 19, 2012 8:33 AM
  

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