It’s always fun when you unexpectedly encounter an athletic performance that completely knocks you on your ass. That is what just happened to me, and probably many other baseball fans, who learned for the first time today about Roki Sasaki.
I defy you to not experience every stage of Vince McMahon In Ecstasy as you read the following sentence: Lotte Marines starting pitcher Roki Sasaki, who is just 20 years old, pitched a perfect game against the Orix Buffaloes on Sunday, in which he struck out 19 batters, threw just 105 pitches, and at one point struck out 13 consecutive hitters.
What the fuck! I have been sitting here trying to figure out if anyone in the history of modern professional baseball has ever had an outing that good, or if anyone will ever throw a better game than this at any point in the future, and I think the answer to both questions is, “No!” Sasaki’s accomplishment shines even brighter in the context of the NPB, where he is now the youngest player to ever throw a perfect game, the first player in the league to throw a perfect game since 1994, and the record-holder for most consecutive strikeouts and most strikeouts in a game.
Sasaki dominated the Buffaloes with a mix of 100 mph fastballs and evil splitters that evaded every bat offered up to them. Watching a guy rack up 19 strikeouts is plenty fun on its own, but this compilation is further elevated by the fact that Sasaki has an extremely cool delivery:
Sasaki was a top prospect coming out of high school, and had even drawn interest from a handful of MLB teams before eventually signing with Lotte in 2020. Perhaps we’ll get to see him in MLB someday, but until then we’ll just have to settle for the occasional dispatch about a cool-as-hell guy doing cool-as-hell stuff.