Philadelphia Phillies Retro Scorecard Game Recap: August 17, 1998

Mandatory Credit: Doug Pensinger /Allsport
Mandatory Credit: Doug Pensinger /Allsport /

Recapping a game from 21 years ago today between the Philadelphia Phillies and Houston Astros, when Paul Byrd outdueled Randy Johnson.

When I was a kid, I kept score at a bunch of Philadelphia Phillies games, figuring that I could look back on them years later as a way to remember all the great players that I saw. Turns out, it was just so I could write articles like this.

Let’s dig into my dust-laden pile of old scorecards from Philadelphia Phillies games once again and see what we find.

Oh, how convenient, here’s one from August 17, 1998, a game played 21 years ago today between the Phillies and the Houston Astros, back when they resided in the National League.

More from Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies are actually hovering around .500 at this point of the season, which is a mild surprise. But the Astros are very good, and they are going for it all this year after trading for The Big Unit himself, Randy Johnson, a few weeks prior.

Yes, Randy Johnson pitched for the Astros, in case you forgot.

Surely he was going to shut down an average Phillies offense on this night and out duel whoever the Phillies sent to the mound to oppose him.

Not so fast, Randy.

Paul Byrd, making his first start in a Phillies uniform, might have something to say about that.

An announced crowd of 18,975 settles in to watch some baseball and enjoy their elbow room on a pleasant Monday night at Veterans Stadium, and off we go.

Byrd navigates around two Hall of Fame players in the top of the first to start his Phillies career off with a clean inning. Then Randy Johnson takes to the mound and blows away his first hitter, Doug Glanville. He also punches out Scott Rolen later in the inning.

The game remains scoreless into the bottom of the second, when Mark Lewis knocks a one-out single. Legendary Phillies catcher Mark Parent then battles Johnson for seven pitches before drawing a walk.

Following a Desi Relaford line out, Byrd steps to the plate. This isn’t going to be good. Byrd is 2 for 10 as a hitter in his career, and he has no shot to do anything. But then he turns on a 1-2 pitch and lines it to center, plating Lewis for the first run of the game. Unbelievable.

Byrd mows the Astros down in order in the third inning, and the Phillies maintain a 1-0 lead. Kevin Sefcik leads off with a walk, but the Phillies fail to score, as they ground into three fielders choices in the inning, which obviously ties a major league record.

Byrd gives up lone singles in the fourth and fifth innings, but the Astros still can’t solve him, and it remains 1-0 headed to the bottom of the fifth. With Sefcik on after another walk, Scott Rolen steps up and pops an opposite-field home run to stake Byrd to a 3-0 lead.

Johnson finishes up the inning, and that’s it for him on the night. Five innings, allowing three runs on six hits, four walks, and only recording three strikeouts.

Byrd goes on to retire the Astros in order in the sixth inning. He does it again in the seventh after getting three flyballs, the last of which is hit by crazy person Carl Everett, who would go on to attack umpires and say that he didn’t believe in dinosaurs.

We are all witnessing something amazing. The Phillies just claimed Byrd off waivers from the Atlanta Braves three days ago, and he is totally outpitching Randy Johnson.

The Phillies manufacture another run in the bottom of the seventh courtesy of a sacrifice fly by Lewis, and the lead is now 4-0. In the eighth, Byrd surrenders a 2-out single to pinch hitter deluxe Dave Clark to snap a string of ten consecutive batters retired, but he then gets Craig Biggio to fly out to end the inning.

The Phillies don’t score in the bottom of the frame, and Byrd goes back out to the mound for the top of the ninth looking for a shutout in his first game with the Phillies. He records two quick outs before Jeff Bagwell singles to keep the game alive.

But Byrd is not to be denied, as he gets the unsanitary Moises Alou to foul out to Rolen to end the ballgame. What a performance by Paul Byrd. A four-hit, 108-pitch shutout, plus that RBI single off Johnson. All of this accomplished in a tidy 2 hours and 27 minutes.

Talk about a bygone era.

Next. Does sweeping the Cubs signify a Wild Card push?. dark

Baseball is a funny game. Sometimes David slays Goliath. Maybe there’s still hope for the 2019 Philadelphia Phillies yet. What’s Paul Byrd doing?