Humber stumbles again

In a prior post, we saw that a rough outing after a perfect game was not uncommon. But Philip Humber has now pitched three times since his perfect game, with two outright clunkers. In between, he met the minimums for a Quality Start, but walked 6. In the 3 games combined, he’s allowed 20 runs (all earned) in 13.1 IP, with 5 HRs, 11 walks and 12 Ks.

There’s plenty of season to come, of course. But right now Humber is cooking up the worst year by far among the 17 perfect-game pitchers since 1918. Here are the average regular-season marks for the other 16 perfect-game pitchers since 1918, and for Humber:

  • Others, 3.18 ERA, 128 ERA+, 228 IP, 1.15 WHIP, 2.81 SO/BB, 14.8 Wins, 9.5 Losses, .608 W%.
  • Humber, 6.83 ERA, _ ERA+, 27.2 IP, 1.48 WHIP, 2.00 SO/BB, 1 Win, 4 Losses.

The previous worst season by a perfect-gamer in the live-ball era was probably Catfish Hunter in 1968, although the raw numbers are camouflaged by the low-run context. Hunter’s 3.35 ERA looks fine from here but ranked 31st out of 35 qualified AL pitchers; his 83 ERA+ ranked 32nd. The only other perfect-gamer season ERA+ below 105 was a 94 by Len Barker in 1981, although it looks as though some bad luck was involved there, as Barker led the AL in strikeouts, had a good 2.76 SO/BB ratio and allowed just 7 HRs in 154 IP.

Humber, with just 33 big-league starts and all but 2 of those since 2011, is still an unknown quantity. He snuck up on us with a strong first half last year, then seemed to vanish just as quickly. A look at his game log since the second half of 2011 stirs that old Sesame Street feeling: “One of these things is not like the others….

Rk Date ▴ Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR Pit Str GSc
1 2011-07-17 CHW DET L 3-4 GS-6 ,L 5.2 7 4 4 1 8 1 90 56 46
2 2011-07-30 CHW BOS L 2-10 GS-5 ,L 4.2 6 4 4 2 4 0 86 52 38
3 2011-08-04 CHW NYY L 2-7 GS-7 ,L 6.1 5 4 4 2 3 1 94 63 48
4 2011-08-10 CHW BAL L 4-6 GS-6 6.0 11 4 4 1 3 2 95 66 36
5 2011-08-18 CHW CLE L 2-4 GS-2 1.1 3 0 0 0 3 0 26 17 51
6 2011-09-05 (1) CHW MIN W 2-1 GS-7 ,W 7.0 6 0 0 0 6 0 100 71 71
7 2011-09-10 CHW CLE W 7-3 GS-6 6.0 7 2 2 0 7 0 73 53 57
8 2011-09-16 CHW KCR L 6-7 GS-6 6.0 9 6 5 2 4 1 107 65 34
9 2011-09-22 CHW CLE L 2-11 GS-7 ,L 6.0 8 7 7 2 4 2 100 67 30
10 2011-09-28 CHW TOR L 2-3 GS-7 6.2 2 1 1 4 9 0 106 63 71
11 2012-04-16 CHW BAL L 4-10 GS-6 5.1 6 1 1 3 7 0 115 69 56
12 2012-04-21 CHW SEA W 4-0 SHO9 ,W 9.0 0 0 0 0 9 0 96 67 96
13 2012-04-26 CHW BOS L 3-10 GS-5 ,L 5.0 8 9 9 3 5 3 115 74 17
14 2012-05-02 CHW CLE L 3-6 GS-6 6.0 4 3 3 6 6 1 107 66 52
15 2012-05-07 CHW CLE L 6-8 GS-3 2.1 9 8 8 2 1 1 62 38 2

As usual with such things, the truth is likely somewhere in between his recent extremes. That would be good enough to keep him in the majors, and in light of all he’s been through to get here, I wish him the best.

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Once again, the perfect games since 1918:

 


Comments

Humber stumbles again — 9 Comments

  1. I didn’t get to tune into the game until after Humber had been removed but I did the Harrelson say something about only 2 of his 50+ pitches being swung at and missed.

    I knew the season that Hunter threw his perfecto wasn’t all that good but I didn’t realize it was that bad. Live and learn, I guess.

  2. What if Jim Joyce had made the correct call in Armando Galarraga’s near perfect game?
    Galarraga had a 4.49 ERA, 93 ERA+, in 144.1 innings in 2011. After a trade to Arizona he fared even worse in 2011, 5.91 ERA in 42.2 innings. He was cut by the Orioles this spring.

  3. John:
    Did you get your list of perfect games via PI? I did a PI search and entered Starter, Baserunners = 0 and IP => 9. I sorted by baserunners. My results page showed 18 names, there was no Don Larsen. Walter Johnson and Bill McCahan showed up even though they faced 28 batters. The BR column showed 0 baserunners for them. Assuming you did use the PI did you have the same experience?

    • Richard — My P-I search criteria were:
      – Shutout
      – IP greater than or equal to 9
      – Baserunners = 0
      And in the relational field:
      – BF = 3 * IP

      I can never keep straight in my mind whether “Baserunners” in the P-I includes batters who reached on error, catcher’s interference, dropped third strike, etc. — so I include the BF criterion as a safeguard. It’s still not perfect (no pun intended), because such a runner could be erased on a DP or CS. But I *think* the ones I listed were true perfect games.

      As for Larsen — since I knew of his PG in the WS, I did a separate search covering postseason games, then knitted the tables together in the HTML editor.

      • In a related question, if a batter singles and is thrown out trying to stretch it into a double does that count as a TOB?

        • Yes, Richard, he is credited with a single and charged with a time at bat, the defensive player gets an assist, and the second baseman or shortstop gets a putout.

          From an offensive point of view, the batter’s slash line is perfect for that plate appearance, 1.000/1.000/1.000.

  4. John Autin, has “fate”, {read luck} ever smiled on a more unlikely hero than Philip Humber? His subsequent pitching lines make the question relevant.

    I’m replaying old tapes here, but to throw a perfect game is almost as much a product of luck as skill. Philip Humber can’t hold a candle (yet) to the rest of the moundsmen on the perfect game list, with the possible exceptions of Dallas Braden and Mark Buehrle, in my opinion.

    You have a soft spot in your heart for him because he is a former Met? :-)

    • Neil, if I have a soft spot for Humber, it’s because he’s been a professional SP for 9+ years and has barely managed 900 IP, due to a lot of injuries. I like to see perseverance pay off.

      Any soft spot for former Mets would not extend to those who (a) never did a thing for us, and especially (b) threw a no-hitter for someone else. :)

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