One of the best moments of this season took place in Houston earlier this week. Rookie Lucas Harrell threw a complete game for the Astros as Houston defeated the Padres 1-0. However that was not the most remakable part of the story. The fact that Manager Brad Mills let Harrell finish the game even after he loaded the bases in the 9th inning is something you do not see today. Ever. Just about every pitcher today, from star to journeyman, would have been pulled after a leadoff hit.
As we all know, complete games by pitchers these days are not that common. James Shields’s 11 complete games in 2011 were certainly the exception. Rookie pitchers going the distance is even more rare. Organizations tend to baby young arms to the point that it can be detrimental to the pllayer. He will not be able to work out of his own messy situations if he is conditioned to look for his skipper at the first sign of trouble. In the case of Harrell, San Diego had runners on first and second with one out in the 9th. The Padres”s Logan Forsythe then singled but teammate Alexi Amarista was thrown out at home by J.D. Martinez. Mills still left Harrell in the game even after he walked teh next batter, Mark Kotsay. The game ended when Harrell got Nick Hundley to strike out swinging. Mills showed a lot of guts leaving his rookie starter in the game and Harrell will no doubt benefit from this experience.
After losing 105 games last season, the Astros have been playing some decent ball. They have been under the radar as another they seemed destined for another losing season. For one night, however, their manager and their first year starter gave us one of baseball’s most memorable memories for this season while hopefully giving the rest of the teams in the game something to ponder in how they handle their pitchers.
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