Roger Clemens’ 20-strikeout performance against the Mariners in 1986 squares off against Michael Ryder’s glove save against the Canadiens in the first round of Boston’s Greatest Sports Moment tournament.
7. Roger Clemens’ 20 K’s against MarinersThe Red Sox-Mariners game on April 29, 1986, had 13,414 fans at Fenway Park. With Larry Bird leading the Celtics in second-round playoff action and the Patriots making their first draft pick following a season-ending Super Bowl loss, the size of the crowd seemed reasonable. After all, the game was only the 18th of the 1986 Red Sox regular season, and Roger Clemens still had doubters following surgery and a 16-9 record through his first two major league campaigns. However, in retrospect, the dearth of fans was a shame. The Rocket took the mound and struck out the first three Seattle Mariners he faced, all swinging. He then fanned two of three he faced in the second. Clemens showed early on that he would be nearly unhittable that night. Clemens’ dominance continued through the night, and when it was all said and done, Clemens became the first pitcher in MLB history to strike out 20 batters in a nine-inning game. Clemens gave up just one run on three hits and walked zero. The game put Clemens — and NESN — on the map.
10. Ryder’s incredible save in 2011 playoffsTim Thomas made countless big stops during the Boston Bruins’ 2011 Stanley Cup playoff run. However, one of the biggest saves came off someone else’s glove in a crucial Game 5 against Montreal in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at the TD Garden. With the game still scoreless in the first period, Mike Cammalleri pulled Thomas out of the net and slid one back underneath the goalie to a wide-open Tomas Plekanec out front. Ryder, filling in Zdeno Chara’s lane on the backcheck, stopped in the crease with Thomas out of position. Plekanec let a wrist shot fly, but Ryder was in position with his glove to deny the bid and keep the game scoreless en route to a double overtime win and 3-2 series advantage heading back to Montreal.
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