With the lockout, Major League Baseball Twitter reminisces on some of the most dominant performances of recent history. And recently on the application, Kerry Wood’s 20-strikeout game reemerged, as the Houston Astros were on the opposite side of history.
From what looked to be a no-hitter in the end, the Astros were saved by a bobbled infield-single off the bat of their shortstop, Ricky Gutierrez.
For those that don’t remember, Chicago Cubs’ third baseman Kevin Orie took a few steps to his left and felt the ball bounce out of the top of his glove, ruling in a hit.
To this day, many believe it was a hit, but we aren’t here to remember a Cubs’ all-time moment but for an Astros’ hurler.
While in the shadow of possibly the greatest start of all-time, Astros’ Shane Reynolds made the most of it.
On May 6, 1998, Reynolds took the mound for a regular start, but the right-hander would have to counter 20 strikeouts. Reynolds’ start isn’t one that goes down in history as top-five for the franchise, but it was something of beauty, even when comparing it to today’s game.
Reynolds worked all eight innings for the Astros on that early Wednesday contest, while allowing two runs (only one earned) on eight hits. This translates to a 1.12 ERA in the small sample size, but the quality start had half the punch outs that Wood posted.
Starting pitchers went long in this era of baseball, while Reynolds climbed to 116 pitches thrown and Wood to 122. This start remains unknown to many, but if Wood hadn’t struck out 20 batters, then we might not even care to remember the game at all.
"“It also turned a spectacular eight-inning, 10-strikeout performance by Reynolds into a footnote,” Alyson Footer of MLB.com said when recalling of the event."
To this day, Wood’s performance can be categorized as one of the best starts ever, even though he allowed a singular hit*. For Reynolds, he remains active in the baseball world, while a fill-in broadcaster on Astros’ radio.
The 53-year-old is also a member of the Houston Astros Hall of Fame, class of 2019.