What do you think of when you hear the term “no hitter?” One amazing throw goes for nine runs, and then the team will celebrate? Well, on Saturday night in Tampa, Rays defied both expectations. In a game against the Red Sox, the infamous Rays’ relief team Cerberus nearly managed to amass the most hitters in major league history — only to lose their bid in the extras, a prelude to Kevin Kiermayer’s home run.
Like many of the other Rays games already this season – they already have like three healthy rookie players at the moment – the strategy from the start has been to take out players with short bursts of a slew of weapons. JP Feyereisen opened with a perfect two laps, and then walked out without anyone really thinking about what would happen next. Javy Guerra pulled out two men, then walked on one and saw another reach base on a fault. Jeffrey Springs took his place on the hill on two uninjured runs punctuated by two walks. Jason Adam finished fifth and carried the hitter through sixth. (I promise you these are all real shooters and I’m not putting in random names here.) Ryan Thompson finished seventh. Andrew Kittridge did the same in eighth and stayed in ninth.
Meanwhile, the Rays hitters could hardly do more to solve the pitchers of the Red Sox, putting a small handful of runners at the base while failing to get anyone home. The score stayed 0-0, and although the beating was still intact, the way it developed was so confusing that even the players on the field couldn’t keep track of what was going on.
“I honestly looked in there to see how many hits we got, because I knew we didn’t have that many. Then I realized they didn’t have either,” Rice Third baseman Taylor Walls said after the match. And I’m like, ‘Oh my God, it’s round eight and we have one hit combined. “
Kittredge finished all the work that would be required for a Model No, capturing the 25th, 26th and 27th without dropping the blow. But there were no congrats so far, and after Randy Arrozarina played a double game in the bottom nine, the Rays only had to shoot in fifth after ten runs since 1901, and a first since Francisco Cordova and Ricardo Rincon reunited for one with the Pirates in 1997. Even more so is the fact that when Matt Wisler got into the extras, he was the Rays’ seventh bowler in the ball game. The previous record for busiest was set by the Astros in 2003 and held by the Mariners in 2012. Both used only six arms.
But record book authors don’t have to worry about adjusting their column sizes. Bobby Dalbeck, the top hitter in the 10th set, put an opposite field out of Brett Phillips’ reach in the corner, breaking the deadlock with a triple RBI before scoring in the sacrifice fly.
Despite the lost history, Rays still takes some fun memories from this game. Two hits to start the 10th hit put them in a tough spot, but after Trevor Storey spoil the thing that will end the gameKevin Kiermayer stepped into the penalty area with a chance to win back. The Rays’ most consistent presence over the past 10 years has never hit a Zenger in his career, but he changed that when he got a quick ball into his wheelhouse at 3-1, which Kiermayer sent on a climax over the right field wall.
“I’ve had this dream forever, and it’s a moment no one can take away from me, and I’m so proud,” Kirmeyer said after that. “I said before my career ended I want to win the world championship, and second after that, I want to take part in a tour [homer]. I want to know what this moment looks like. I know that now.”
The final square score in this score, thanks to the tricks of extra time, looks almost magically natural, so much so that it’s easy to forget how close we got to the most grotesque and bizarre thing in history—something hardly recognizable compared to the standard single greatness that this word usually denotes. Can it be considered that the rays are close to the absence of real harmful? Bobby Dalbec has stopped this debate in its tracks, but with the increasing sophistication of the bowler role in the modern game, it feels like it’s only a matter of time until someone does what Tampa can’t. Seven jugs? Eight jugs? Perhaps there will come a day when a non-hitter is widely regarded as a collective achievement as much as an individual one.
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