Matt Cain turned in one of the most dominant performances in recent memory Wednesday night, going 27 up and 27 down against the Astros for the 22nd perfect game in MLB history.
Cain was overpowering with 14 strikeouts, which ties Sandy Koufax for the most ever in a perfect game. And the Giants right-hander also got a little help from his defense as left fielder Melky Cabrera made a leaping catch at the wall in the sixth inning and right fielder Gregor Blanco preserved the perfection with a fantastic diving catch at the warning track in the seventh inning.
Cain made quick work of the Astros in the ninth inning, entering the final frame with 114 pitches and then needing just 11 more to get a foul out, a fly out, and a game-ending ground out to third base. Oh, and the Giants won 10-0.
Philip Humber threw the last perfect game on April 21 of this season, striking out nine and setting the Mariners down in order on just 94 pitches. This is just the second time in modern baseball history that there have been two perfect games in the same season, with the other being 2010 when Dallas Braden and Roy Halladay both accomplished the feat.
We’ve poked fun often at the spring training trope of players showing up to camp in the “best shape of [their] life.” Reds first baseman Joey Votto has turned that entirely on its head. Talking about his offseason, the 2010 NL MVP said, “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently. We did all the testing and I am fatter,” Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto, of course, wasn’t trying to say he’s not in shape; he was just using some of his trademark self-deprecating humor.
Votto did get serious when discussing the state of the rebuilding Reds. As Buchanan also reported, Votto said, “I think we’re starting to get to the point where people are starting to get tired of this stretch of ball. I think something needs to start changing and start going in a different direction. I’m going to do my part to help make that change.”
Votto, 34, is under contract with the Reds through at least 2023, so he still has plenty of incentive to help see the rebuild through. He has been nothing short of stellar over the last three seasons. This past season, he hit .320/.454/.578 with 36 home runs, 100 RBI, and 106 runs scored in 707 appearances across all 162 games. Votto led the majors in walks (134) and on-base percentage and led the National League in OPS (1.032).
Despite Votto’s presence, both FanGraphs and PECOTA are projecting the Reds to put up a 74-88 record. The club had a pretty quiet offseason, expecting to enter 2018 with largely the same roster as last year.