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Remember when José Tabata leaned his elbow into a pitch from Max Scherzer to break up Scherzer’s bid for perfection with two outs in the ninth?
There was some genuine palpable anger directed towards Tabata over that move ... and not only from the writers who had to quickly delete all references to a perfect game and replace them with no-hitter verbiage with only one out left. That was ... not fun.
Max Scherzer wasn’t one of the angry ones though. He had to quickly refocus and get the final out of what was his first career no-hitter.
“The slider just kind of slipped -- not slipped -- but I just didn’t finish the pitch and it backed up on me and clipped him,” Scherzer explained. “It’s just one of things that happened. You just focus on what you can do next, just move on to the next hitter and just go right after [Josh] Harrison and do everything you can do and just pound him with fastballs and I was able to collect that final out.”
How was he able to just move on from that moment?
“Pretty easy to do,” he told reporters. “Probably took two seconds. I realized I lost the perfect game, just move on, finish this thing out.”
“I have no qualms about it whatever,” he added at the time, “that’s just baseball. He did what he needed to do. Kudos to him, actually.”
But what about bunting to break up a no-hitter? It’s apparently against the unwritten rules, which someone really should write down some day, for clarity’s sake, and one such move in a minor league game earlier this season touched off some bench-clearing action.
Andrelton Simmons was poo-pooed for doing it to Corey Kluber in 2018.
As an MLB.com article on the topic earlier this season noted, Jarrod Dyson bunted to break up a perfect game by Justin Verlander in 2017, and the cantankerous right-hander wasn’t at all, “upset and described Dyson’s play as ‘a perfect bunt.’”
While some players in the article argued that the score and situation dictated how closely to follow those unwritten rules, Felix Hernandez was vehemently against the idea of bunting to break up a no-no. As Hernandez told the writers, “[Heck] no. No chance. You can’t do that. That’s disrespectful. You try to get a hit -- swing the bat.”
Where do you stand? We asked the voting members of SB Nation’s FanPulse community for their take on the topic in this week’s polling. The results?:
ALSO: Here are the results from the latest fan confidence polling amongst Nationals fans, who apparently read that FiveThirtyEight currently gives the Nats a 95% chance of getting back to the postseason (with a 14% chance of winning the NL East and a 7% chance of the Nationals winning the World Series), while Fangraphs has it at 97% they make it to October with a 14.9% chance they win the division, and a 6.2% chance they win it all, because the fan confidence in the overall direction of the team is up to 88% this week, the highest it’s been all season.
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