When I woke up (admittedly late) this morning, the first thing I had to do was check the computer. Did Jonathan Sanchez, a talented lefty who’s been so inconsistent enough to make the Shawn Estes Era look positively rock-solid by comparison, really come within one Juan Uribe error of a perfect game? Did he really shrug off said error — something Sanchez has always had trouble with — and complete a real, asterisk-free, no-hitter?
Yes. Sanchez not only surrendered zero hits to the San Diego Padres last night in his first career complete game, he didn’t walk one hitter. In his previous two starts against San Diego this season, Sanchez walked 8 Padres in 10.2 innings. How much have things changed since Sanchez’s demotion to the bullpen? Along with the two relief appearances that preceded yesterday’s supposed last-chance-start, Sanchez has walked no one and struck out 15 in 12 innings.
There are so many people who have a hand in this, it’s hard to know who to give the most credit after Sanchez himself. Forget tune-up, Dave Righetti took Sanchez’s motion apart, cleaned it up and rebuilt it. Randy Johnson has to have played a role; his comments about Sanchez last night belied the amount of concern he has, not just for Sanchez’s place on the Giants, but Sanchez’s future as well (you almost get the feeling the Unit would be personally offended if Sanchez doesn’t win at least 100 games in his career, the same way Mike Krukow gets angry when Sanchez’s focus leaves him). And I refuse to believe it’s a coincidence that Sanchez reached the pinnacle on the same night Sigfrido Sanchez, Jonathan’s dad, watched him start for the San Francisco Giants in person for the first time.
Eli Whiteside’s work behind the plate. Aaron Rowand’s catch. Pablo Sandoval’s home run, which effectively removed the pressure from everyone wearing french vanilla uniforms. The home plate umpire, who didn’t HAVE to call that last pitch a strike (and hesitated a bit before doing so).
Even though I remember what happened last night with complete clarity, and even after hearing a replay of Jon Miller’s call gave me goosebumps this morning, I had to see written proof that what I remembered wasn’t just some fuzzy dream caused by the Luxury Mojitos I drank last night at Bar 821.
Well, here’s my proof — and yours, if you’re still having a tough time believing a Giant threw a no-hitter, and the no-no was tossed by the Official Trade Candidate of KNBR 680, your rosterbation (and Sabercats) leader:
— What? Trade Sanchez? Are you crazy?!?!?! Apparently the thought never even crossed some people’s minds: “To be clear, this does not mean that Sanchez will ever meet his awesome potential. But I think this shows what we could have if we would just be patient with him.” (obsessivegiantscompulsive)
— The day after. Time for fans to take credit for Sanchez’s no hitter due to supersitious activities like this: “If you were in the middle of taking your shoes off, realized Sanchez had a no-hitter going, and then knew that you had no choice but to walk around with one shoe on for the rest of the night.” (McCovey Chronicles)
— Line of the day, courtesy of Andrew Baggarly: “Anyone who says they saw this coming is either crazy or Jon Lovitz.” (Extra Baggs)
— Poor Zeets, even after a Sanchy no-hitter it all still comes back to him: “For Tim Lincecum, it has become an expectation. Matt Cain certainly has the stuff. Barry Zito could affort to buy one. Even Randy Johnson, at his advanced age, has done it before and even flirted with one this season. Smart money would have bet on just about anyone other than left-hander Jonathan Sanchez to throw the first Giants’ no-hitter since John “The Count” Montefusco did it in 1976.“ (Big League Stew)
— Sanchez didn’t just have to deal with the pressure of a no-hitter, but the pressure of resurrecting his career. In fact, one has to think that’s why his father made the trip from Puerto Rico: “Imagine what it must feel like to have been Sanchez over these past few weeks. Only one name — his — came to light in the recurring, almost tedious discussions about the Giants’ trading prospects. If he’d pitched well, the Giants would have a valuable chip in their quest to get a hitter. If he failed — and up until tonight, he had done just that — the Giants could forget about the trading market. They’re not about to give away their top prospects, leaving Sanchez as the most logical option.” (Three Dot Blog)
— Here’s a little historical nugget I wasn’t aware of: “If we crack open the history books, we find that Sanchezâ€™ no-no was the first by a left handed Giants pitcher since 1929, back when Carl Hubbell accomplished the feat with the New York Giants.” (The TwoNate Show)
— Padre fans are taking this well: “I don’t want to take anything away from Sanchez, but the Padres are playing like a bunch losers and looked lifeless at the plate and in the dugout.Â They had it coming. They are the worst.” (Gaslamp Ball)
— Well, at least Dodger fans appreciated the moment. No, that wasn’t a typo: “Don’t get me wrong â€” I still find the Giants annoying and wish they’d stop winning already. But Jonathan Sanchez’s no-hitter last night was a cool baseball moment that transcended the uniform he was wearing.” (Sons of Steve Garvey)