After a perfect game, few gems

Thursday night in Chicago, the BoSox raked Philip Humber for 9 earned runs in 5 IP, saddling him with a 17 Game Score. Is that the worst follow-up to a perfect game?

Here are the next starts for the 17 perfect game pitchers since 1918:

Philip Humber — 5 IP, 9 Runs, 8 Hits, 3 walks, 17 Game Score, Loss.

Roy Halladay7 IP, 2 Runs, 10 Hits, 1 walk, 55 Game Score, Win, ending Philly’s 4-game slide.

Dallas Braden8 IP (CG), 4 R, 7 H, 1 BB, 56 GS, Loss.

Mark Buehrle — 6.1 IP, 5 R, 5 H, 1 BB, 45 GS, Loss.

Randy Johnson — 7 IP, 2 R, 4 H, 1 BB, 65 GS, Win.

David Cone — 4 IP, 6 R (2 ER), 6 H, 4 BB, 37 GS, ND.

David Wells — 7 IP, 3 R, 5 H, 1 BB, 59 GS, Win.

Kenny Rogers — 5.1 IP, 5 R (4 ER), 6 H, 3 BB, 37 GS, Loss.

Dennis Martinez — 7 IP, 4 R, 6 H, 2 BB, 51 GS, ND.

Tom Browning — 8 IP, 1 R, 5 H, 1 BB, 71 GS, Win.

Mike Witt — 7.2 IP, 4 R, 10 H, 3 BB, 43 GS, Loss. (That was Opening Day ’85; the perfect game was on the last day of ’84.)

Len Barker — 9 IP, 3 R, 8 H, 1 BB, 10 K, 68 GS, Loss.

Catfish Hunter — 6 IP, 8 R, 8 H, 5 BB, 23 GS … and a Win!

Sandy Koufax — 6 IP, 2 R (1 ER), 5 H, 0 BB, 59 GS, Loss.

Jim Bunning —7 IP, 4 R, 11 H, 0 BB, 44 GS, Loss.

Don Larsen — 1.1 IP, 4 R, 5 H, 1 BB, 27 GS, ND. (That was his first start of ’57; the perfect game was of course in World Series game 5.)

Charlie Robertson — 6 IP, 4 R, 9 H, 3 BB, 38 GS, Loss.

Totals: 5 Wins, 9 Losses, 3 No-decisions, 6 Quality Starts, 5.61 ERA, 102.2 IP, 70 Runs, 64 ER, 118 Hits, 31 BB.

The average was about 6 IP, 4 Runs, 7 Hits, 2 Walks, and a 47 Game Score.

So, yeah, Humber did have the worst follow-up in terms of Runs and Game Score. But his clunker has a lot of company.

P.S. Did anyone else notice that Humber‘s first and middle initials are P.G.?

14 thoughts on “After a perfect game, few gems

  1. 1
    Devon says:

    What about guys who would’ve thrown a perfect game if not for a fielder’s error or umpire’s error? I’m thinking of Jerry Reuss, Jonathan Sanchez, & Armando Galarraga. I think they should be included on this list ’cause they pitched comparable, and were only not on official lists of perfect games due to someone else’s bad moment that was entirely out of their control.

    • 3
      RJ says:

      Jonathan Sanchez: 6 IP, 3 R, 4 H, 1 BB, 59 GS, ND.

      Armando Galarraga 5 IP, 2 R, 7 H, 2 BB, 45 GS, ND.

      Jerry Reuss: 7 IP, 4 R, 4 H, 3 BB 61 GS, Loss.

    • 6
      John Autin says:

      Bill McCahan (9/3/1947 near-PG, error by Ferris Fain): Next start was a CG win, 2 runs, 10 hits, 3 walks. McCahan would never throw another shutout, and was out of MLB 2 years after the near-PG.

      Walter Johnson (7/1/1920 near-PG, error by rookie 2B Bucky Harris, who also drove in the game’s only run): Next start was a loss, 7 IP, 4 R, 10 H, 2 BB. Johnson went the distance in the start after that, but then was out the rest of the year, finishing with 144 IP. That broke an 11-year run of 290+ IP.

      Dick Bosman (7/19/1974 near-PG, error by Bosman himself, a 2-base error trying to throw out Sal Bando at 1st base): Next start was a cheap win, 5.1 IP, 3 R, 3 H, 4 BB. The near-PG was the last of his 10 career shutouts.

  2. 2
    Don Malcolm says:

    Excellent stuff, John. Was going to research this one myself for a blog entry of my own, instead will link to you. Thanks for doing it…now if you really want to do some digging, how about the same idea for all no-hitters? That will keep you off the streets for a little while…!

  3. 4
    Neil L. says:

    Interesting post, John. Thank you for it.

    My first reaction is that Phil Humber’s perfect game was a fluke. Let me hasten to add that, any perfect game is a remarkable achievement and represents a rare accomplishment.

    But looking down John’s list, most of the other perfect game pitchers either had a body of work that suggested a perfect game was possible or would put together a body of work in the future.

    I would put Dallas Braden’s game in the same category.

    Perhaps the pitching line for these players in their next outing shows what a “perfect” storm of events has to occur for the hurler to be perfect, so many of which are not under his control.

    An umpire in a mood to call strikes, a poor-hitting opposing team, no sloppy plays on defense, no wind blowing out to help a fly ball go yard, no broken bat bloops that fall in …..

    I know it’s a stretch to call a perfect game a product of random statistical noise, but …. some are more unexpected than others are they not?

  4. 5
    rick says:

    The late sportswriter Leonard Koppett had a great thought on near perfectos. After Jerry Reuss’s (1980) no-hitter – only a Bill Russell throwing error – Koppett stated that his performance was better than a perfect game. He faced 28 batters without allowing a safe hit.

  5. 7
    Neil L. says:

    Run scoring has bounced back nicely in the AL after being down in the early going, but what’s up in the NL?

    American League RPG are 4.44 as of last night, compared to 4.46 for a full season in 2011 and 4.45 in 2010. Essentially constant offense.

    But the National League has become an offensive black hole, with RPG this year at an even 4.00, compared to 4.13 in 2011 and 4.33 in 2010, both over full seasons.

    Why the continual erosion of run-scoring in the NL since 2006?

    In 2006 the NL figure was 4.76 RPG, making this year, so far, a 19.0% decline over six years ago.

    In contrast, the AL averaged 4.97 RPG in 2006 so that 2012 represents a 10.7% decline.

    Why is the run decline so pronounced in the NL this year? Or is it? It can’t all be the Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols effect. 🙂

    (Sorry, JA, for the blatant blog hijack, but there’s no activity in HHS and no one to talk to.)

  6. 8
    nightfly says:

    Near-perfecto: Terry Mulholland, Phillies, on an error by Charlie Hayes. Next start was a CG-loss on the road, game score of 62.

    1990 was a strange year for Mulholland, demoted to the pen after giving up 9 runs in 2 2/3 on June 8th. After returning to the rotation, he threw 16 times and went at least six innings every time; the SHO was one of six CG he threw. He lost two of those, the one right after the shutout and a 1-0 game to St. Louis (game score of 81). ERA of 2.87 over those 119 IP, and a WHIP of 1.09 (I think I’ve done the math right).

    Then again, Mulholland threw for 11 different teams, so “strange” is a relative term.

    • 9
      Neil L. says:

      Thanks for the game, nightfly. I went to look at the box.

      http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/PHI/PHI199008150.shtml

      Mulholland only faced 27 batters because Dave Anderson grounded into a double play right after the Hayes throwing error.

      I wonder what kind of pressure the Phils’ official scorer faced because the error was in the top of the seventh in a no-hitter? It must have been an awful throw!

      Mulholland’s game score of 62 in the following start is above the average on John Autin’s list.

      Nice catch, on including Terry Mulholland on Devon’s list!! He belongs on JA’s post, at least in spirit.

      Perfect games for pitchers do not allow for imperfection by fielders.

      • 10
        Tristram12 says:

        Thanks for linking to the game. That’s the one no-hitter I attended, so always good to see the summary again.

        • 11
          Neil L. says:

          I have never attended a no-hitter, Tristam, so count yourself fortunate.

          I did attend the longest home game in Blue Jays’ history with my son and two of his friends.

          http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/TOR/TOR200507280.shtml

          An 18-inning affair and we stayed to the bitter end.

          • 12
            Neil L. says:

            Taking the thread on a tangent…. the game linked above featured a sparkling 2 extra-base hits in 120 at bats between the teams combined, and an 0 for 7 for both Garret Anderson and Gregg Zaun.

            A scoreless tie into the ninth, with each team scoring one in the ninth and then ….. nothing …. nothing until the eighteenth.

            Nerve endings were numb by the end of that game, but the good duys won.

            Talk about “Let’s play two.”

            But I digress, thanks for indulging my memories, HHS friends. 🙂

        • 14
          nightfly says:

          Nice, Tristram.

          I just missed a no-hitter. My aunt took me to Yankee Stadium for my birthday – the day after Jim Abbott tossed his gem. This means that my most memorable in-person baseball game is Bobby Valentine’s first-ever win as manager of the Mets. Yeah, I’m reaching.

  7. 13
    Neil L. says:

    With no new blogs from Andy, Graham, JA, Doug or Birtelcom to react to, I’ll submit a poor man’s comment.

    I’ve posted about it before but the aggregate division leads of 15.0 games on April 27th is the highest since 2003.

    Let’s just concede the divisions to the Rangers, Cardinals and Dodgers now.

    In 2003, the collective gap was 17.0 games on April 27th, powered by the Yankees’ 20-5 start, the Royals(?) 17-5 start and the Giants 18-6 record out of the gate.

    In 2003, the NL Central was its usual self, with five out of six teams under 0.500 on that date.

    How can one division be that bad for that long? And do the hot starts to three divisions preclude any nail-biting division races in 2012, the extra wild-card team notwithstanding?

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