Caught Looking continues its recap of the most memorable moments and accomplishments from the 2010 season. Here are moments one through five.

5. Stras-a-palooza
In what ended up being one of the most hyped regular season games in recent memory, the Nationals and Pirates met up for a meaningless game on June 8th that just so happened to be the debut of pitching  phenom Stephen Strasburg. You knew it was a big game when the MLB Network pulled Bob Costas out of the woodwork for it. Thankfully, their broadcast was blacked out in Pittsburgh so I didn’t have to struggle with Costas’ one liners and overly dramatic statements. This was also the game that featured the first and so far only live blog for Caught Looking! As for the game, Strasburg lived up to the hype as he baffled Pirate hitters all night, striking out 14 with no walks in seven innings of work for his first victory. Though the Pirates did score runs off of him thanks to a two-run home run by Delwyn Young. Strasburg would make 12 total starts and finish with a 5-3 record and 2.91 ERA before being shut down in late August with a torn right UCL that will sideline him for the 2011 season.

4. Perfect games and no-hitters gone wild
The “Year of the Pitcher” was no more evident than in the frequency of great pitching performances that continued throughout the entire season. It started with Ubaldo Jimenez‘s dominant performance by no-hitting the Braves on April 17. There are so many after his no-hitter that I need to list them all…

  • Oakland A’s starter Dallas Braden fires the 17th perfect game in MLB history on May 9 against the Rays to celebrate Mother’s Day, which made it even special since Braden lost his mother to breast cancer years ago. The whole Braden/A-Rod storyline that preceded this performance was just another headline after Braden made himself a household name.
  • Roy Halladay didn’t wait very long for the next perfect game as he mowed down the Marlins on May 29 for the 18th perfecto in history. Halladay’s perfect game was just the beginning of his remarkable first year in the NL.
  • Edwin Jackson no-hit the Rays on June 25. Yes, the Rays were no-hit again, and was I the only one who honestly didn’t remember Jackson throwing a no-hitter in 2010? It just got lost in all the others. Maybe it was because while he gave up no hits, he also walked a ridiculous eight batters while throwing 149 pitches. Whoa. Jackson was eventually traded a month later from Arizona to the White Sox.
  • The Rays must have been tired of being on the losing end of no-hitters, so Matt Garza tossed his own against the Tigers on July 26. Garza made history for the Rays as the first no-hitter in franchise history, and it also marked the most no-hitters in one year since 1990.

There was one other no-hitter that I failed to mention because it was memorable enough to hold its own spot next on the list.

3. Roy Halladay‘s no-hitter in his first postseason game
There was a lot of pregame debate about how the Doc would handle his first playoff game since he had never gone to the postseason with the Blue Jays. That was all put to rest with an exclamation point as Halladay stifled the Reds in Game 1 of the NLDS with the second no-hitter in postseason history, second only to Don Larsen‘s perfect game in the ’56 World Series. Doc struck out eight batters on 104 pitches and only permitted one walk in the entire game or it could have been his second perfect game of 2010. His performance pretty much ended the Reds season even though they weren’t knocked out until a couple of days later when the Phillies finished the three-game sweep. Even though the Phillies did not get back to the WS, Halladay’s first season in the NL was legendary as he easily went on to capture the Cy Young award with a 21-10 record and 2.44 ERA.

2. Armando’s perfect game that wasn’t perfect
Of all the no-hitters and perfect games thrown in 2010, of course the most memorable game would be Armando Galarraga‘s near perfect game that was derailed due to a horrendous call by ump Jim Joyce. Never has Jim Joyce’s name been known by some many fans—mostly irate ones. Four days after Halladay’s perfect game, Galarraga took the mound for the Tigers against the Indians at home and was one out away from another perfect game. Galarraga got Jason Donald to ground to first baseman Miguel Cabrera, who tossed the ball to Galarraga coming to cover first base in what appeared to be a close play. Galarraga’s hands went in the air when he tagged first base, but Joyce called Donald safe for an infield single, ruining the perfect game and no-hitter. Galarraga’s hand immediately went to his head in utter disbelief. As well as the shocked crowd at Comerica Park. Replays quickly showed that Donald was indeed out, and the play wasn’t nearly as close as first thought. Joyce admitted to blowing the call later after seeing the replay and the two made up the next game when they met at home plate to turn in the starting lineups. It was a cruel twist of fate, one that Galarraga showed an immense amount of class for such a young player while some of his teammates did not. In my opinion, this perfect game that never was is definitely one of the most memorable moments of 2010.

1. San Francisco Giants are champs
Despite a stable of great pitching, people continued to not give the Giants a real chance as a contender for the championship. They proved they were way more than just a surprise team by defeating the Phillies and disposing of the Texas Rangers in five games to earn their first title since 1954 when they were still in New York. Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Brian Wilson and a lineup mostly full of castoffs surprised the baseball world with dominant pitching throughout the entire playoffs. Edgar Renteria (series MVP) continues to find himself on the big stage in the Fall Classic with the game-winning three-run homer in Game 5 to help give the Giants the championship.

There you have it. The top 10 memorable moments from the 2010 season. Are there any other moments Caught Looking missed?

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