You’re Dave Roberts. It’s the seventh inning of Rich Hill’s perfect game. In six outs, he could be the oldest pitcher to fire a perfect game since Randy Johnson tossed one in 2004. Yasiel Puig just made a Herculean effort in a diving grab that saved Hill’s bid from the likes of Martin Prado. Your team is four games up on the Giants with 21 left to play. The rotation is carrying Julio Urias, who keeps bumping up against his innings limit, and Clayton Kershaw, who is fresh off the DL and still working through the kinks in his delivery. Hill has a history of blisters that have caused him to miss 46 days of the regular season so far. Ross Stripling is there in the back of your mind, too, as is the look on his face when you excused him from his major league debut in the eighth inning of what could have been his first career no-hitter.
What do you do?
If your first concern is for the preservation of a rare historical moment, maybe you leave Hill in and hope his conservative pitch count carries him through another two innings without aggravating the blisters on his throwing hand. If your concern is for the health of your pitcher, not only down the stretch but in the long-term, you play it safe with one of the 13 relievers at your disposal and hope that yours will be the first team to throw a combined perfect game. Stranger things have happened, probably.
You’re not Dave Roberts anymore. The real Dave Roberts pulled Hill from the game and transferred the perfecto to the capable hands of Joe Blanton, who less-than-capably blew it on a perfectly centered 2-2 curveball to Jeff Francoeur two outs later.
Other things happened in this game, too, some of which could reasonably be described as good from the Dodgers’ perspective. The Dodgers scored all five of their runs on long balls, including two shots for Joc Pederson and home runs No. 25 and 26 for Corey Seager and Justin Turner, respectively. Still, if there’s one thing that will stay with you from this game, it’s the forlorn faces of Hill and Blanton:
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Here are the rest of the box scores for Saturday’s games. Keep an eye out for Johnny Cueto’s third base coaching skills, a speedy Bartolo Colon, and Adonis Garcia’s walk-off single.
Blue Jays 3, Red Sox 2
Astros 2, Cubs 1
Mariners 14, Athletics 3
Yankees 5, Rays 1
Reds 8, Pirates 7
Nationals 3, Phillies 0
Orioles 11, Tigers 3
Twins 2, Indians 1 (12 innings)
Royals 6, White Sox 5
Braves 4, Mets 3 (10 innings)
Cardinals 5, Brewers 1
Giants 11, Diamondbacks 3
Padres 6, Rockies 3
Rangers 8, Angels 5