Editorial: A no-hitter performance to remember
Pitching a great baseball game is a test of skill, to be sure, but it takes more than skill to throw a no-hitter. There are usually some great defensive plays involved that have little to do with the man on the mound. And something very close to luck also comes into play. When you hit a round ball with a round bat, the slightest element of timing, turf or wind currents can turn an easy out into a bloop hit.
Some of the game's greatest pitchers - Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez and Curt Schilling, to name three of local renown - have never managed to get 27 outs without giving up a single base hit. Some pitchers who have accomplished that feat have failed to achieve anything else in the majors.
That said, Clay Buchholz entered an exclusive club this past weekend, when the fresh-faced pitcher, just turned 23, held the Baltimore Orioles hitless through nine innings at Fenway Park. He is the first rookie to accomplish that feat in the long history of the Red Sox.
It will take many more trips to the mound before we know whether young Buchholz is that good or, on this occasion, just exceptionally lucky. The Sox brain-trust is so intent on protecting him for big things next year and beyond that he may not even get another start in Fenway this season. That won't go down easy with Sox fans, who are hungry to see more of the dazzling array of pitches that silenced Baltimore's bats on Saturday.
But we can be a patient lot, especially when faced with a prospect with such amazing prospects. Meanwhile, there's a pennant on the line and today's stars are gearing up for what shapes up as another memorable run of October baseball.
If Clay Buchholz can contribute to that quest, great. But even if we don't see him again until next year's spring training, he has already delivered a great gift to Red Sox Nation, an electrifying performance all who witnessed it will long remember.
With good stuff, good fielding and luck, it won't be his last.