Game 4: Magical or Meh?
OK, let’s look at two perspectives on Wednesday night’s wild World Series Game 4.
Perspective 1: The night before Cristian Javier stepped to the mound to pitch his first World Series game, he was talking to his parents, who had come from the Dominican Republic to see him pitch. It would be the first time his father, Cecilio, would see him pitch in a big league game.
They told him he was going to throw a no-hitter.
“They told you you were going to throw a no-hitter?” FOX’s Ken Rosenthal asked in disbelief.
“Yeah, they told me last night,” Javier said through an interpreter.
“And what did you say?”
“Yeah, I said we’re going to stay positive and with God helping us, we can do it.”
The really cool, right? So cool. Cristian Javier is a 25-year-old pitcher with a blood-curdling slider and a magical fastball that batters somehow cannot hit even when he throws it over the middle of the plate. The league hit .170 against him this year. In the playoffs, before this game even started, they had hit .100. Earlier this season, he combined with two other pitchers to no-hit the New York Yankees.
Then on Wednesday night, Javier utterly shut down a Phillies team that had bludgeoned the Astros one night earlier, the same night his parents had told him that he would throw a no-hitter. He threw six no-hit innings. It was remarkable and wonderful stuff.
Then Bryan Abreu didn’t allow a hit in the seventh. Rafael Montero didn’t allow a hit in the eighth. Ryan Pressly didn’t allow a hit in the ninth.
It wasn’t just that the Phillies didn’t get a hit — they didn’t really come CLOSE to getting a hit. The only ball they hit all night that had better than a 33% hit probability was a line drive to right that Jean Segura hit in the eighth off Rafael Montero. He hit it well. But it hung up and really wasn’t that hard a play for rightfielder Kyle Tucker.
That was the only time that the Phillies even got close. Here’s a weird number that might or might not mean anything to you: If you add up ALL the hit percentages of the balls Philadelphia batters put in play — minus Segura’s line drive — you only get to 128%. Basically, all of them added up together barely get you one hit.
That’s what happens when you strike out 14 times and hit pop-ups and routine grounders with the rest of your at-bats.
So that’s a no-hitter, sort of, just as Cristian Javier’s parents had foreseen. And on FOX they tried to connect it with the other no-hitters of the postseason — Roy Halladay’s no-hitter against Dusty Baker’s Reds in the 2010 National League Division Series and, obviously, Don Larsen’s World Series perfect game for the Yankees in 1956.
As far as we know, Dusty Baker played no role in the Larsen game.
So all of that’s really cool, a team of pitchers threw a no-hitter in the World Series, and that’s something that none of us have seen. The Astros have stormed back in this wide-open World Series. That’s Perspective 1.
Now, sorry, but here’s Perspective 2: