Seven Signs of the Apocalypse: MLB Edition
Welcome to the last day of the world.
Perhaps this could’ve been avoided if we just looked at the signs, spelled out cleanly and neatly for us by the anomalies found in the 2012 MLB season.
1. The record for most perfect games in a single season was broken by Felix Hernandez.
Prior to 2012, MLB had seen, at most, two perfectos in a year’s worth of games. In 1880, the Worcestor Ruby Legs’ Lee Richmond and Providence Grays’ Monte Ward pitched perfect games within a week of each other, while 2010 saw Roy Halladay and Dallas Braden accomplish their feats within the same month.
This year, Philip Humber no-hit the Mariners in April, striking out 9 and finishing his masterpiece with a dubious called strike to Seattle’s Brendan Ryan. Two months later, Matt Cain finished the first perfect game in Giants’ history, fending off the Astros with a record-setting 14 strikeouts and the highest Game Score of the season (101). Finally, the Mariners struck back in August with Felix Hernandez’s perfect game, a franchise first as he retired 27 Rays on 12 strikeouts and 113 pitches.
2. James Shields held the highest Game Score for a complete game loss since 1980.
Shields pitched the game of his career on October 2, 2012, when he posted 15 strikeouts and a GS of 94 during his two-hitter against the Orioles. In the 4th inning, Baltimore’s Chris Davis pulled a home run to center field, accounting for the only run of the game in Tampa Bay’s 1-0 collapse.
3. On the last day of the season, the Oakland A’s clinched the AL West division title. It was their first day in first place all season.
4. R.A. Dickey became the first knuckleballer in MLB history to earn a Cy Young Award.
Before Dickey, just five knuckleballers had received consideration for the Cy Young: Tim Wakefield, Joe Niekro, Phil Niekro, Wilbur Wood, and Bob Purkey.
5. Tim Lincecum tanked.
Following five seasons of a sub-4.00 ERA, two Cy Young awards, and a World Series championship, Lincecum fell apart.
His ERA shot from 2.74 to 5.18, while his bWAR dropped from 3.9 in 2011 to -2.1 in 2012. Over 33 starts and a 10-15 record, he logged his lowest inning and strikeout totals—186 and 190, respectively—since his rookie season in 2007.
Equally as inexplicable, Tim found his footing in the bullpen during the Division Series, posting an ERA of 1.42, striking out 8 batters, and allowing 3 hits and a run over 6.1 IP.
6. The Mariners stockpiled 21 runs against the Texas Rangers in a single game.
While high-scoring games are no stranger to MLB—six games of 21+ runs have appeared in the last five years—this was the first such game won by a last-place team in at least two seasons.
7. The World Series showcased the AL and NL MVPs for the first time since 1988.
2012 World Series -
1988 World Series -
Coincidentally, 1988 marked the debunking of another end of the world theory, this time purported by NASA engineer Edgar Whisenant. While nothing came of the rapture, scheduled between September 11 and 13, the Dodgers pitched a two-hitter and the Expos walloped the Cardinals 14-2 during the short window of gloom and doom.
What statistical feat had you stocking up on emergency supplies and hunkering down in your basement this year?
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