It's a good sign when a young pitcher you just acquired does something only six other pitchers in MLB history have done.
That's probably what the Phillies were thinking after a 23-year-old Vince Velasquez utterly dominated the Padres at Citizens Bank Park on April 14, 2016.
Velasquez, whom the Phillies had acquired as part of a trade package with the Astros the previous December, was making his second start for Philadelphia after tossing six scoreless innings with nine strikeouts in his first outing of the season. He struck out 16, walked none and gave up only three hits in a shutout of San Diego.
Let's take a trip down memory lane and relive this incredible contest between the Phillies and Padres.
Player of the game: Vince Velasquez, RHP, Phillies
Velasquez's sheer dominance was a sight to behold. Not only did he join only six other pitchers in MLB history with a nine-inning shutout that included 16 strikeouts and no walks, he became only the second hurler to do that with three hits allowed or fewer, joining Roger Clemens, who accomplished the feat on Aug. 25, 1998, vs. the Royals (18 strikeouts).
Even with all the strikeouts, which you'd imagine would drive up his pitch count, Velasquez threw 113 pitches, 83 of which were strikes. The three hits he yielded were all singles -- Jabari Blash and Alexi Amarista had back-to-back singles in the second inning and Amarista had another single in the fifth. After that, Velasquez retired 14 straight Padres to complete the shutout.
Velasquez would battle injuries the rest of that season and the next, and hasn't been able to put together a consistent stretch of strong performances despite his electric stuff, but he's still just 27 years old and is under team control through the 2021 season. So far he has a career 4.67 ERA over 522 2/3 innings.
And let's not forget what he did when he found himself in left field last season, either.
Remember him? Carlos Villanueva, RHP, Padres
Villanueva was a solid starter/reliever for the Brewers and Blue Jays from 2006-12, and enjoyed a resurgent season in 2015 with the Cardinals, when he posted a 2.95 ERA over 35 relief appearances. He also pitched for the Cubs from 2013-14, and made 51 appearances in '16 for the Padres, when his ERA was 5.96. It proved to be his final Major League season.
In this game, Villanueva pitched the seventh for San Diego, giving up a double and a run.
He wore THAT uniform? Peter Bourjos, RF, Phillies
Bourjos ... he played mostly for the Angels, right? Right. But do you remember he also played a season each for the Phillies, Rays and Braves from 2016-18? In 383 plate appearances for Philadelphia in '16, including three in this game against the Padres, Bourjos hit .251/.292/.389. In the April 14 win, Bourjos was 0-for-2.
Prior to joining the Phillies, Bourjos played for the Angels from 2010-13, stealing 22 bases with a league-leading 11 triples in '11, and the Cardinals from '14-'15. He was back with the Angels last year, going 4-for-44 (.091) in 26 games before being released in May.
Beginning of a bounceback: Wil Myers, 1B, Padres
Myers struggled to stay healthy after winning the American League Rookie of the Year Award for the Rays in 2013, but found new life in 2016 as he broke out at the plate. Though he was 0-for-3 in this game, he'd go on to slash .259/.336/.461 with 28 home runs and 28 steals in 157 games, earning his first All-Star selection. He put up similar numbers in '17, hitting .243/.328/.464 with 30 homers and 20 steals in 155 games, but since then hasn't been able to replicate that level of production. Still, he's only entering his age-29 season, with plenty of potential for another breakout.
Last call: Ryan Howard, 1B, Phillies
Howard enjoyed a tremendous 13-year MLB career in which he was the 2005 National League Rookie of the Year, the '06 NL MVP, the MVP of the 2009 NL Championship Series and launched 382 home runs. He also holds the record for fewest games to reach 100 career homers (325).
The 2016 campaign would be Howard's last in the Majors -- in 112 games, he hit .196/.257/.453 with 25 homers in his age-36 season. He signed a Minor League deal with the Braves in April 2017, but never appeared in a Major League game for Atlanta. He then signed a Minor League contract with the Rockies in August 2017, but did not reach the Majors.
In this game, Howard drove in two of Philadelphia's three runs, going 1-for-2 with a solo homer off Drew Pomeranz in the second inning and a sacrifice fly in the sixth.