Thursday, December 1, 2016

EPILOGUE TO PERFECTION: How Perfect Game Pitchers Fared After Their Moment of Glory (Concluded)

May 18, 2004

Long time ace of the Mariners staff, Johnson was playing for the Diamondbacks when he completed his masterpiece. He struck out 13 Braves opponents, nearly tying Sandy Koufax's perfect game record of 14. Johnson won 16 games in 2004 at the age of 40 and led the NL with 290 strikeouts. After his perfecto, he won his next five starts, giving up a combined total of 12 earned runs in 31.1 innings. A first ballot Hall of Famer, he captured five Cy Young Awards during his career. He currently ranks second on the all time strikeout list. 

July 23, 2009

Pitching in Chicago against Tampa Bay, the left-handed Buehrle used 116 pitches to subdue the Rays offense. In the ninth inning, center fielder DeWayne Wise climbed up the wall to rob Tampa's Gabe Kapler of a home run. In his next start, Buehrle completed another 5.2 perfect innings, extending a streak of 45 consecutive batters retired. This was a record that stood until 2014. The highly durable Buehrle won 10 or more games in fifteen straight seasons. He made no fewer than 30 starts per year in that span. In addition to his perfect game, he also threw a no-hitter. 

May 9, 2010

Oakland's Dallas Braden lasted just five seasons in the majors and ended up with a 26-36 record. In spite of his mediocrity, he was perfect against the Rays on the above mentioned date. Only 12,288 fans were on hand to see this Mother's Day game, which lasted just 2 hours and 7 minutes. It was Braden's first complete game. In his next outing, he gave up 4 runs on 7 hits in a 5-1 loss to the Angels. He finished the season at 11-14.

May 29, 2010

Halladay's masterpiece occurred just 20 days after Dallas Braden's, marking the shortest time between perfect games in major league history. During his sixteen-year career, Halladay led the league in complete games seven times and shutouts on four occasions. Traded from Toronto to Philadelphia before the 2010 campaign, his crowning achievement came against the Marlins. He posted a 21-10 record that year and narrowly missed another perfect game against the Reds in the NLDS. He ended up walking one batter, becoming the only perfect game pitcher to toss a no-hitter in the same season. 

April 21, 2012

Humber's perfect game against the Mariners at Safeco Field was the third of its kind in White Sox history. The 29 year old Humber used just 96 pitches to polish off his opponents. The last out of the game was a full count check-swing strike. The ball was dropped by catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who promptly threw to first base. Among the most unlikely candidates for a perfect game, Humber finished the 2012 season with a 6.44 ERA. He was even worse the following year with a 7.90 mark and a 0-8 record. It was his last season in the majors. 

June 13, 2012

Before the above mentioned date, no Giants pitcher had ever tossed a perfect game. Cain turned the trick against the Astros. He piled up 14 strikeouts, tying the record set by Sandy Koufax in 1965. Cain's outfielders offered a show of support with spectacular catches in the sixth and seventh innings. 2012 was Cain's all around best season as he posted a 16-5 record with a 2.79 ERA. Since then, he has logged a .355 won/loss percentage. He made just 21 starts in 2016.

 August 15, 2012

Hernandez's perfecto was the third of the season--the first time this had ever happened. The Mariners ace struck out 12 Rays opponents and used 113 pitches. He felt pretty good that day, confiding to writers afterward that he was thinking about a perfect game from the second inning on. After the historical effort, he yielded just 1 earned run in his next 17 innings of work.  Generally considered to be one of the best pitchers in the American League, "King Felix" has earned six All Star selections and a Cy Young Award. He is carrying a a 3.16 lifetime ERA into the 2017 campaign. 


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