Sunday, September 2, 2007

Game 135: Cleveland’s Byrd Baffles White Sox for Complete Game Shutout

How good was Paul Byrd today? Up until A.J. Pierzinski walked in the eighth inning, Paul Byrd faced the minimum batters. After Jerry Owens was caught stealing in the fourth inning on a perfect throw by Byrd battery-mate Kelly Shoppach, Byrd retired the next 12 batters in a row. He was that good.
With the 7-0 complete game shutout over the White Sox, Byrd’s second this year, Byrd moved to 14-5. He has won his last four starts, and seven of his past eight. He has walked 23 batters…not during that span, BUT THE WHOLE SEASON. Of all the Tribe starters, he has the highest winning percentage, to go along with second on the team in wins, with fourteen. He’s tied with Fausto. Now, raise your hand if at the beginning of the season, you thought Fausto and Byrd would have 28 wins combined on September 1st. Okay, now those of you that have your hands up…put them down liars. Sure, Byrd has his bad outings, but in between those rare occurances, Byrd has been an exceptional pitcher this season. He’s been much better than his 4.19 ERA suggests. Byrd is as old school as you get, and you can tell that the Indians want to win for him. Sure, they want to win for all the others as well, but there’s something about Byrd that maybe makes the team buckle down even more. Maybe it’s the old-school windup. Maybe it’s the old school jersey pants that only go down to the knees. Maybe it’s the way he throws strikes. Whatever it is, Cleveland scores for Byrd, and when he pitches like he does tonight, it makes for an easy win.

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