By Joel Alderman
It was a coincidence worth noting for our state’s baseball fans that three of the four Connecticut natives pitching in major league baseball appeared in games on the same afternoon this past Saturday (Sept. 26), and they all had excellent outings..
They were Craig Breslow, Matt Barnes and Matt Harvey. The fourth Connecticut born hurler, Jesse Hahn, of Groton, is on the Oakland A’s disabled list.
Breslow never started in over 10 seasons
Craig Breslow, of Trumbull and Yale, had been nothing but a reliever in his 522 major league appearances in over 10 years. On Saturday he started his first game ever in the Bigs as the Boston Red Sox defeated Baltimore, 8-0. He went four innings, allowing two hits, gave up two walks and struck out two.
A couple of Matts were also on the hill
Matt Barnes of Danbury and UConn, and another member of the Red Sox, hurled the 6th and 7th frames in the same game. He held the Orioles hitless, issued one walk and struck out one.
New London’s Matt Harvey, the other state native on the hill Saturday, was the starter for the New York Mets in their 10-2 win at Cincinnati. It clinched the Eastern Division title for the Metropolitans.
Harvey has been the center of controversy because his agent, Scott Boras, feels he is “pushing the button” after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He went 6-2/3 innings, giving up nine hits, two runs, no walks and struck out six.
Breslow set a Red Sox record for longevity
Breslow, whose four innings pitched was a career high, admitted he was “ nervous” but that it was also a lot of fun.
“I brought out the windup for the first time. Actually that might be for the first time since 2005,” Breslow said.
“I don’t know how many guys make 500 some odd career relief appearances and then get a chance to start their first big league game,” he added.
Research shows that the last major league pitcher who had more career relief stints before making a start was Troy Percival, who went 638 appearances before starting a game.
The left handed Breslow, who is 35 and threw 55 pitches, at age 35 became the oldest Red Sox hurler to make his first career start. Scott Atchison previously held the distinction when he took the mound as a starter at the age of 34 years and 75 days in 2010.
Breslow, who was born in New Haven at Yale-New Haven Hospital, but raised in Trumbull, turned 35 this past Aug. 8th. That made him 35 years and 49 days when he made the start, beating Atchison by almost a full year.
The last American Leaguer to make his first start at 35 or older was Danny Boone for the Orioles on Sept. 30, 1990, when he was 36. He did not get a decision, and he never was in another major league game.
Breslow’s chances of returning to the mound are infinitely better. He has already been scheduled to make his second start in a few days at Cleveland.