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:

 

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