In case you were too busy arguing with your friends about whether the 1996 Bulls are better than the 73-9 2016 Warriors, or doing something outside on a beautiful Thursday afternoon, the Phillies made a little history that you should know about.
Forget the fact that they are back at level .500 at 5-5, won their series with the Padres 3-1 and are boasting one of the best pitching rotations (if not the best) in all of baseball through a week and a half.
And pay little mind to the fact that Ryan Howard had two RBI in the Phillies 3-0 win against San Diego to close the series.
Just make sure you remember the name Vincent Velasquez. He’s the first Phillieto have 25 combined strikeouts in his first two starts in Philly since Jim Bunning did it in 1964. And Bunningwas an All-Star when he first arrived.
Velasquez is a rookie.
“You really have to lock in,” the 23-year-old pitcher said on Comcast Sportsnet after tossing a ridiculous 16 punchoutsin his first MLB shutout. “Mixed emotions run through your mind.It’s just one of those feelings where you have to follow through, in that last inning you have to go in there and finish strong.”
The hurler has never been in a game this late before. And Phillies manager Pete Mackaninwas on the fence about sending him out for the ninth.
“‘Are you sure you’re good?'” Velasquez said Mackanin asked him.
“‘I’m good,I’m good, get me out there I’m good,'” Velasquez told CSN was his reply.
Trotting back out to the hill (following three strikeouts in the eighth) Velasquez wrung up two more, joiningSteve Carlton, Cliff Lee and Curt Schilling as the only Phillies to throw 16 or more strikeouts in a game.
“I am just trying to follow their tradition,” Velasquez, the centerpiece of the trade that sent Ken Giles to the Astros, said.”The Phillies had a good pitching staff back then and I am trying to repeat that here –get it back on track.”
The hurler’s 101st pitch hit 97 miles per hour, and he induced 27 swings and misses.
All in all, for those who like advanced analytics, the three-hitter earned a gamescore of 97.
According to MLB.com’s Andrew Simon, Velasquezis the fifth youngest hitter in Major League history to strike out 14 while walking none. He joins DwightGooden, Kerry Wood, Jose Fernandez and VidaBlue.