Ten years ago tonight, a Maddux masterpiece
Thanks to Hardball Times for the reminder. I’m not sure I’d call it Maddux’s greatest game ever — his 76-pitch complete game against the Cubs and 84-pitch shutout vs. the Yankees in 1997 are tough to beat. That year Mad Dog had only ONE 3-0 count.
But he was pretty damn impressive on May 2, 2001, recording 14 strikeouts en route to his 100th career complete game. Against the Brewers, coincidentally.The Braves entered the game three games under .500 and trotted out a line-up including B.J. Surhoff, whose solo homer accounted for the game’s only run, batting clean-up and ending with Rico Brogna, Keith “Capt. Mediocre” Lockhart and Paul Bako.
As if achieving all-time one-game peaks in strikeouts and game scores en route to a 1-0 complete game shutout wasn’t enough, Maddux also banged out a hit of his own at the plate. Plus, he had a sacrifice hit. Neither his hit nor his SH led to Atlanta’s only run (that was courtesy of a B. J. Surhoff solo shot in the second inning), but it was an overall fantastic day for Maddux.
He got better as he went along, retired the last 13 batters of the game, eight of whom Maddux fanned, including six in a row at one point.
Bizarre fact: Maddux walked the game’s leadoff hitter. Not only was that the only walk (and one of only three baserunners) he allowed all day, but Maddux rarely ever walked the leadoff batter. He did that in only 14 of his 740 starts, just once ever 53 starts. He’d only done it once in the previous seven seasons (though, to be fair, it was the year before).