Yesterday, when Mark Buehrle retired a mere 15 consecutive batters, a younger pitcher one-upped him in a major way.
Pitching for the DSL Phillies, Felix Cespedes would have thrown a perfect game of his own, except his offense didn’t cooperate. He retired all 27 batters he faced, finally giving way to a reliever in a 0-0 tie.
In a way, a nine-inning DSL perfect game is even more remarkable than an MLB perfecto. It’s one thing to dominate your opponent, but it’s yet another to get through nine rookie-league innings without a fielding miscue of some sort. Cespedes certainly helped matters, striking out 14 batters in his nine innings of work. His game score: a jaw-dropping 101.
Yesterday’s heart-breaker was just the latest in a series. Cespedes is 18, in his second season with the DSL Phillies. It was his 10th start of 2009. In his previous nine outings, he went 6+ IP four or more times (all quality starts), and 5+ IP another three. His only stinker was his last time out, when he coughed up eight runs against the DSL A’s. In every outing except for that rough one, he K’d at least 5 guys.
Yet after all of that, he was still looking for his first win of the season. Nine perfect innings later, he still is.