While we slept, Roki Sasaki nearly did it again

Today was going to be about former team names, but I’m (to use a football term) calling an audible.

Just days after Roki Sasaki threw perhaps the greatest perfect game in the history of professional baseball, he almost did it again. Striking out 14, the 20-year-old only stopped because he was pulled from the tied game after eight perfect innings. The Chiba Lotte Marines would end up losing in 10, but that doesn’t change the fact that Sasaki may well be in the best hot streak in the history of professional baseball pitching. You can see some highlights below:

With his performance today, Sasaki has now had 17 straight perfect innings and has retired 52 hitters in a row. Just to give an example of how remarkable that is, the MLB record for consecutive hitters faced without a walk, hit, or error is 46 by Yusmeiro Petit.

In other words, Roki Sasaki is amazing, and is doing things nobody else has ever done. It’s entirely possible even more history will be made when he makes his next start.

While we slept, a 20-year-old in Japan may have pitched the greatest game in history

While we all slept, history was made in Japan, as Roki Sasaki of the Chiba Lotte Marines threw the first NPB perfect game since 1994. What’s more, the 20-year-old struck out 19 while doing it. Oh, and his catcher was a rookie named Ko (or Koh) Matsukawa… who is only 18.

To declare anything the greatest game ever pitched regardless of level is likely a fool’s errand, but there is a thing called Game Score. The highest game score in a 9-inning game in MLB history was Kerry Wood‘s famous 20 strikeout game in 1998, which scored a 105. The second-highest was Max Scherzer‘s 17-K no-hitter in 2015, which was 104.

Now, I’m not great at math, but it appears that Sasaki’s game score is 106. The only game I can think of off the top of my head that has that beat is Ron Necciai‘s Class-D 27 strikeout no-hitter back in 1952, which had a 112 game score (the maximum 114 minus a walk and a HBP).

Regardless of era, league, level, or country, however, Sasaki’s performance against the Orix Buffaloes will no doubt stand for all time as one of the greatest pitching performances ever.