Yesterday, Dallas Braden became the 19th pitcher in MLB baseball history to throw a perfect game as the Oakland A’s beat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-0. Braden joined the ranks of pitchers like Sandy Koufax and Cy Young with his performance, but he set a new standard with his win against the Rays by becoming the first pitcher to ever throw a perfect game against the first place team in MLB.
The Rays are currently 22-9 on the season, and score almost 6 runs per game, good for 3rd in the Majors. It only took Braden 109 pitches to get all 27 outs. The last major league pitcher to throw a perfect game was Mark Buehrle in ‘09, and he also happened to pitch it against the Tampa Bay Rays. The last major league pitcher to throw a perfect game for the A’s was Catfish Hunter back in 1968 against the Minnesota Twins (The biggest difference between Braden’s perfect game and Hunter’s perfect game was that Catfish Hunter went 3-4 with 3 RBIs as well). Braden only had 6 strikeouts on the day, but he was able to keep hitters off balance with off speed pitches and force the Rays into pop ups and grounders. Congratulations to Dallas on an amazing accomplishment.
Dwarfed by Dallas Braden’s perfect game yesterday was Jamie Moyer’s record breaking complete game performance this past Friday against the Atlanta Braves. Moyer became the oldest pitcher in MLB history to throw a complete game shutout. At 47 years and 170 days young, Moyer broke the previous record holder’s age, Phil Niekro at 46 years and 188 days old, by almost a full year.
Moyer had five strike outs and zero walks, he only gave up 2 hits, both of which were singles, and he averaged just under 12 pitches per inning. All great stats, but the one that stands out is that his fastball topped out at only 83 mph! After the game, Moyer humbly shook off the news he was given about his record breaking performance by saying, “Cool, just doing my job.” Now that is the definition of classy. Congratulations to Jamie for yet another victory in his race towards 300 (262 down, 38 to go!).