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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Dear Pitchers: Okay, We Get It

Matt Cain (2DaySports)
Last night the San Francisco Giants' Matt Cain threw a perfect game.  In doing so he struck out 14 and was exceedingly dominant as the Giants beat the Houston Astros 10-0.  It was history in the making.  It was impressive.  It was the first in the history of the New York/San Francisco Giants.  It was...

It was boring.

A perfect game is rare.  There have been 22 in the history of Major League Baseball, a history that stretches all the way back to 1869.  Eighteen Hundred and Sixty Nine!  That equates to one perfect game every six and a half years.  Except this year.  And 2010.  There were two in 2010, Dallas Braden's Mother's Day gem and Roy Halladay's 11 strike out masterpiece.
Giants Matt Cain Celebrates Perfect Game (AOL/Sporting News)

On April 21st Philip Humber threw the 21st perfect game in league history, striking out six and throwing only 96 pitches.  While a master of efficiency, he was eclipsed by the previously mentioned Matt Cain.  His 14 punch outs were tied for the most in a perfect game.

These feats are astounding.  But no longer rare.  Same goes for the No Hitter.  If you include Matt Cain's performance Major League Baseball has seen three no hitters in three weeks, one of which used six pitchers as the Mariners downed the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Cain's Perfect Game was not just the third no hitter in three weeks but the fifth of the season.

Roy Halladay Celebrates 2010 Perfect Game (Sportige)
The year 2010 was called The Year of the Pitcher.  The title is a misnomer.  It is likely the start of the Era of the Pitcher.  Since 2010 Major League Baseball has seen 14 no hitters and four perfect games.  18% of all perfect games have been thrown in two seasons.  As stated earlier, the other 82% took place over 140 years!  No hitters?  A whole 5% of the no hitters have come since 2010.

You've proven your point, pitchers.  Without steroids the bats are weaker, the competition is fair, and we're ushering in a new moment in the long history of baseball.  Is it too much to ask for you to dial it back?  Your no hitter list is fast approaching the number of players who have hit for the cycle (293).

Calm down.  Let's keep it special.
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