Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Fresh off of a perfect game in his last outing, Chicago White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle came out smoking tonight against the Minnesota Twins. As described in this game article, Buehrle "retired the first 17 batters on Tuesday night to set a record with 45 outs in a row" (the 17 batters from tonight were added to the 27 from the perfect game and the last batter from the start before that). Once Buehrle got the record, however, Minnesota batters started to get to him, leaving Buehrle as the losing pitcher in a 5-3 Twins win. As one of the commentators on ESPN's Baseball Tonight just noted, the previous record for consecutive batters retired was shared at 41 by Buehrle's White Sox teammate, Bobby Jenks.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Golfer Mark Calcavecchia earlier today birdied nine straight holes (the third through eleventh) to set a new PGA record. Such a record reflects not only great putting, but also great shooting at all stages to put oneself in position to have makeable birdie opportunities. Quoting from the above-linked New York Times article, "[Calcavecchia's] nine birdie putts were from 12 feet or closer." Even if all putts were from standard length, however, they'd still be more difficult than, say, free-throw shooting in basketball. Whereas a hoop is a hoop, golf greens have subtle curvatures, which require players and their caddies to develop an ability to "read the break."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mark Buehrle of the Chicago White Sox just minutes ago pitched a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays. A perfect game is the ultimate in hot pitching, as it requires a pitcher to retire each and every opposing batter. Beyond pitching a no-hitter (which Buehrle had already done once in his career and which I analyzed here), the pitcher of a perfect game also allows no walks, hits no batters, has his fielders (and himself) commit no errors, etc. Buehrle's is just the 18th perfect game in major-league history.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Jamie McOwen, a Single-A minor-league baseball player, put together a 45-game hitting streak, which ended last night. For those not familiar with the levels of play in professional baseball, in order of increasing skill level, there's A, AA, AAA, and ultimately the major leagues.

Monday, July 06, 2009

As I watched yesterday's dramatic men's Wimbledon singles final -- won by Roger Federer over Andy Roddick 16-14 in the fifth set for Federer's record 15th Grand Slam singles title -- the key factor that stood out to me was Roddick's consistency in getting his first serves in. Roddick bested Federer in first-serve percentage, 70-64, which contributed to Federer's complete inability to break Roddick's serve -- until the very last game of the match. Some interesting serve-placement graphics are available here.