28 April 2003

Alou Has Totally Feliped Out

Kevin Millwood pitched a no-hitter yesterday at the Vet.

It was the first major league no-hitter since Derek Lowe did it exactly one year ago.

It was the first NL no-hitter since Bud "Not Enough for Scott Rolen" Smith did it in 2001.

It was the first Phillies' no-no since the Immortal Tommy Greene did it back in 1991, at Montreal.

It was the first Phils no-no at the Vet since the Immortal Terry Mulholland did it back in 1990.

It was the first Phillies no-hitter by a righty at the Vet EVER. Just in time too, since this is the Vet's swan-song season.

It was the first Phillies no-hitter by a righty at Philadelphia since Red Donahue did it....in 1898. That's right. It's been 105 years since Philadelphia Phillies fans got to see their own righty pitch a no-hitter at home. That 1898 team had four future Hall of Famers on it (Nap Lajoie, Ed Delahanty, Sam Thompson and Elmer Flick. I'm guessing that this one has considerably fewer.

It was the first no-hitter by a pitcher with two sets of double letters in his last name since Jim Abbott did it back in 1993.

We could go on and on (don't worry, we won't) about how special this is...everyone else has already belabored the point, so I'll leave most of that to others.

Otherwise, there are two things of note about this particular no-hitter:

1) The Phillies traded a backup catcher to get Millwood from the Braves, in a trade much decried as an unfortunate residue of the slime that is the new collective bargaining agreement, by both the baseball-following public and even moreso, by the Braves' GM.


B) Giants Manager Felipe Alou practically handed the game to Millwood and the Phillies.

Lemme ask you something: If you're playing a game, and aware that you not only standa good chance of losing, but of being totally embarassed in the process, what would you do? Well, if you're a competitive sort (and hey, if you're not, what the hell are you doing in major league baseball?) you'll want to give yourself the best chance to win. And if not to win, at least to avoid embarassing labels next to your name in the record books. Right?

Well, apparently not. Apparently Felipe Alou likes having his name associated with embarassing records. Faced with the opportunity to make pone last-ditch effort to break up said potentially embarassing no-hitter, Alou removed light-hitting infielder Pedro Feliz (YAY!) and pinch-hit for him with...

...lighter hitting infielder Neifi Perez?

Yep. Given the choice of using:

SS Neifi Perez (roughly a career .230 hitter away from Coors Field),
3B Edgardo Alfonzo (career .289/.365/.442 hitter, admittedly having a bad month),
C Benito Santiago (career .262/.306/.415 hitter with a sore elbow), and
OF Ruben Rivera (career .216 hitter, and besides, he might have tried to sell the game-ball to a memorabilia dealer),

Alou chose Perez. Why?

Maybe because Perez is the only one of the four with much baserunning speed? Nope, Rivera has had much more success as a basestealer (49 for 69) than Perez has (46 for 84), and is therefore probably faster. Also a lousy hitter, but faster. Figures that he'd be good at stealing.

Maybe because Perez is a switch "hitter" and the others are righties? Of course, being able to see the ball from the pitcher better only really matters if you know what to do with it once it reaches the plate. It would seem that this theory is at least possible, given that he did use lefty-hitting Marvin Benard to pinch hit for the pitcher, despite that Benard is only 2-for-20 this season, and kept the righties on the bench.

In spring training, Alou was quoted as saying that his biggest concern for the 2003 season was finding playing time for Neifi Perez. I betcha a lotta Giants fans wish he coulda found Neifi's playing time in some other game this week.

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