A fitting top moment of the 2007 season.
For the No. 1 moment of the Red Sox's 2007 season, this one has to be a no-brainer.
Without a doubt it has to be Clay Buchholz's no-hitter on Sept. 1 against the Baltimore Orioles. Buchholz was magical that night, spinning nine strikeouts, walking three and, of course, not allowing any hits. This is what I wrote after the no-hitter:
Buchholz's weapon of choice was his changeup. His fastball maxed out around 94 m.p.h., but his changeup (clocked around 78 m.p.h.) is what got the batters swinging off their back foot. The changeup is what made the batters dumbfounded, finding themselves staring at strike three. His curveball was also effective late in the counts.
This game is obviously big for Buchholz himself, but I think this is going to be a huge boost to the ballclub. The whole team was behind Buchholz, throwing their body out on the line (case in point: Dustin Pedroia's fantastic hit-saving play in the 7th) for a potentially great rookie. This is the type of game that will push the Sox into the post-season.
This no-hitter did more than give the Red Sox a victory. It may give the Red Sox a ring come October.
Make sure to read the last line, too.
This was one of those games when at the beginning it looked good, but not great; usually that's how no-hitters go. But as time ticked on Buchholz got better. His arsenal got nastier and the O's hitters began to look worse.
All of Red Sox Nation had that feeling late in the game that Buchholz could do it, but of course no one said anything. And if someone did say anything in my presence, they would be hushed in a nanosecond. It was just one of those magical moments that don't come around very often in baseball.
Let me break down how the last inning was like for me and, I assume, most of Red Sox Nation:
Brian Roberts strikes out.This is a game with a lot of memories. Who will forget Pedroia's spectacular diving stop in the hole to save the no-hitter? Who will forget Buchholz breaking Markakis's knees with a filthy curveball to clinch the no-no? Not to mention the delayed third strike call by home plate umpire Joe West that ended the game. I'm still wondering if he's made up his mind on that call...
(In head) Holy crap, he could do it.
Corey Patterson lines to center.
(In head) Oh ... my ... god.
Nick Markakis strikes out ... looking.
(SCREAMING) HOLY S**T! HE F***ING DID IT! HE REALLY F***ING DID IT! OH MY F***ING GOD!
Let's not forget that this game was Buchholz's second Major League start. Many will say the Orioles' unfamiliarity with Buchholz was a key factor in the no-hitter. I wouldn't disagree with those people, but the end result is still the same result: for nine innings, Buchholz did not allow a base hit. That takes a lot of skill no matter which way you slice it (or whiff it?).
When fans look back at the 2007 season the World Series trophy is going to be prominently displayed, as it should be. But shortly after should be the memory of Buchholz spinning an unbelievable gem all the way into the record books.
It was an unbelievable season matched by an unbelievable game.