A few reactions to Roy Halladay's perfect game

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halladay throwing.jpgRoy Halladay captured the nation’s attention on a sports-heavy Saturday night, throwing the 20th perfect game in Major League Baseball history as the Phillies defeated the Marlins 1-0 in south Florida.  Let’s take a trip around the baseball world for some unique reactions to the perfecto:

Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports noticed some rather deep counts and an amazing will to battle back:  “The difference between brilliance and immortality is one pitch, and
seven times Halladay ran the count to three balls only to bail himself
out.”

Sports Illustrated’s Joe Posnanski saw it coming in the fifth inning:  “Halladay was so sharp, so on, so confident, so much in control, that he
turned the improbable into the expected, he made a perfect game feel
oddly routine.”

ESPN’s Jayson Stark points out that few great pitchers ever get a taste of perfection:  “There are 67 pitchers in history who have won a Cy Young Award. And
before Saturday, only four of them ([Sandy] Koufax, [Catfish] Hunter, [Randy] Johnson and David Cone) — not to mention Cy Young himself — ever managed to throw a perfect game.”

David Brown of Yahoo’s Big League Stew calls Halladay the “perfect pitcher” to throw a perfect game:  “I view Halladay like Quint looked at great white sharks in “Jaws.” He saw them as the perfect killing machines. Emotionless, except for a certain amount channeled of rage when they attack.

Frank Fitzpatrick of the Philadelphia Inquirer remembers the last Philadelphia pitcher that recorded 27 straight outs, Jim Bunning:  “He estimated that additional commercial opportunities generated by the perfect game added $15,000 to his $30,000 salary in 1964.”

MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez saw a different side of Halladay the moment he completed the perfecto:  “Before being surrounded by teammates, a usually stoic Halladay smiled
ear to ear and extended his arm to receive a warm embrace from his
catcher, Carlos Ruiz, who he gave a lot of the credit to for his gem.”

The Phillies have been in a highly publicized offensive slump as of late, but there’s no doubt that this club will be competing once October rolls around.  Halladay has been superb all season and, taking into account Saturday’s perfecto, is 7-3 on the year with a 1.99 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP and 70 strikeouts in 86 innings.  He’s an early favorite for NL Cy Young Award consideration alongside the Rockies’ Ubaldo Jimenez, who made a little history of his own this season with a no-hitter against the Braves.  It’s not the worst time to be a baseball fan.

Three A’s rookies hit their first big league home runs on Saturday

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The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.

Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:

Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:

In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.

The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.

Athletics call up top prospect Franklin Barreto

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The Athletics called up their top prospect on Saturday, inserting shortstop Franklin Barreto into the lineup for their second game against the White Sox. Barreto was originally scheduled to make his major league debut on Sunday, but got a head start after Jed Lowrie sustained a minor knee sprain in Friday’s 3-0 win and was scratched from Saturday’s lineup.

Barreto, 21, has been rapidly climbing the rungs of the A’s minor league system after getting dealt by the Blue Jays in 2014. He got his first taste of Triple-A action late last year, going 6-for-17 with three RBI and getting caught stealing in two attempts. He fared little better this spring, slashing .281/.326/.428 with eight home runs and a .754 OPS through his first 309 PA in Nashville.

While his minor league production has been solid, if underwhelming for a prospect of his caliber, the A’s are expected to give the rookie infielder a long leash with both Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder sitting on the disabled list. Pinder landed on the 10-day DL after suffering a left hamstring strain on Friday. Semien, meanwhile, is still working his way back from the 60-day DL with a right wrist fracture and likely won’t rejoin the team until he completes a rehab assignment with High-A Stockton.