Perfection Hangover? | June 15, 2012
Many of you reading this article will know that the ‘best night of your life’ can very often be followed by a hangover that you just can’t seem to shake and baseball pitchers seem to be suffering from a similar effect. On Wednesday night Matt Cain joined the ranks of the elite by becoming the 22nd person to throw a perfect game.
This fantastic feat was performed against the Astros and involved him striking out 14 people in a 10-0 victory for the Giants in what was the franchise’s first ever perfect game. Cain is the second person this season and the fifth person in the last four years to throw a perfect game and while at the time the individual feels on top of the world recent history shows that they are soon brought back to earth with a bump.
Mark Buehrle 23rd July 2009 VS Tampa Bay (116 Pitches)
Buehrles perfect game came while he was playing for the Chicago White Sox, it was the second no hitter of his career and the game was part of 45 consecutive retired batters streak for him. The real drama of the game came in the 9th innings with the Sox leading 5-0 when the leadoff hitter Gabe Kapler hit a fly ball which was all but destined to be a home run until DeWayne Wise made an unbelievable catch. The next two batters struck out and ground out to complete the moment.
Dallas Braden 9th May 2010 VS Tampa Bay (109 Pitches)
Braden recorded his perfect game whilst playing for the Oakland Athletics and was the second perfect game in under a year that had been recorded against the Rays. Once again Gabe Kapler of the Rays came to bat in the 9th innings with his side down 4-0 but this time came to the plate with 2 outs already registered and he grounded out with Pennington throwing the first base to register the first Oakland perfect game since 1968.
Roy Halladay 29th May 2010 @ Florida (115 Pitches)
The 20th perfect game in history was thrown by Roy Halladay of the Philadelphia Phillies at the Sun Life Stadium. It was the 2nd perfect game of the season and came 20 days after Braden’s perfect game but it was also the 3rd in a calendar year which is the first time in history this has ever happened. In the 9th innings Mike Lamb flied out to Shane Victorino but had the game been staged in a smaller park it would more than likely of been a home run and even Halladay thought he had lost the perfect game when the ball was hit. He finished off the historic moment with a strike out and a ground out on a superb play by Juan Castro at third base. Halladay threw a 2nd no hitter in the playoffs and was also named the Cy Young Award winner that season.
Philip Humber 21st April 2012 @ Seattle (96 Pitches)
Humber became third White Sox to throw a perfect game equalling the Yankees record for the most by a franchise. The most heart stopping moment of the first eight innings came when Ackley hit a fly ball which nearly cleared the head of right fielder Rios but he managed to pull the ball in. The game ended in controversy when Brendan Ryan attempted to check his swing but it was ruled he had gone through with the swing. The catcher, AJ Pierzynski, fumbled the ball and Ryan set off for first base only to turn and argue the call with the home plate umpire after he had been thrown out at first by Pierzynski. Humber becoming the first pitcher in 13 years to complete a perfect game in fewer than 100 pitches and made history in only his 29th major league start.
The statistics generated from the four most recent pitchers of perfect games in the four games following their moment of glory does not paint an overly good picture for Matt Cain and the Giants. Using the average above you can expect that Cain will give up about 30 hits, 15 earned runs, 4 home runs and only complete 6.1 innings a game for the next four games.
Cain has been superb for San Francisco this year and is one of the reasons they are doing as well as they are and still challenging the Dodgers in their division. With Tim Lincecum struggling badly so far this year they then whole franchise will be hoping history doesn’t repeat itself because he has a 1/16 chance of winning each game while there is nearly a 3/4 chance that he will lose each game. It is imperative for the Giants that Cain does not suffer the Perfection Hangover that his fellow history makers have seemed to suffer from.