Philip Humber is perfect. The Mariners are anything but.

14 Comments

While most of the baseball-loving nation was forced to watch another a typical Red Sox-Yankees four-hour marathon, Philip Humber threw the 21st perfect game in big-league history Saturday in the White Sox’s 4-0 win over the Mariners.

The perfect game is largely the providence of great pitchers, but Humber is certainly more Dallas Braden than Roy Halladay or Randy Johnson. The worst pitcher to throw a perfect game was Charlie Robertson, a right-hander for the White Sox who shut down the Tigers on April 30, 1922. Next on the that list would be Cleveland’s Len Barker, who was perfect against the Jays on May 15, 1981. Humber and Braden could both finish up with significantly better careers than those two, though there’s still plenty of time left for that to be decided.

As for the team Humber shut down, well, yeah, the Mariners are really that bad. Again. They entered the day next-to-last in the AL in scoring, with a .235 average and 11 homers in 15 games. They finished last year last in the majors in runs scored, average, OBP and slugging. The 2012 lineup figured to be improved with Jesus Montero’s addition and another year of growth from Justin Smoak, Dustin Ackley and Kyle Seager, but it hasn’t materialized yet.

Yankees chase Charlie Morton in the fourth inning of ALCS Game 3, but he actually pitched decently

Abbie Parr/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Astros starter Charlie Morton was taken out with two outs in the fourth inning of Game 3 of the ALCS on Monday night. Morton surrendered three runs in the second and was on the hook for another four in the fourth, but he actually threw a decent game.

Morton got the first two outs in the second in short order, but Starlin Castro kept the inning alive with a very weakly hit single down the third base line. The exit velocity on that one, according to Statcast, was 57 MPH. Aaron Hicks then blooped a 2-2 splitter into shallow left-center field. Exit velocity: 74 MPH. After working a 1-1 count against Todd Frazier, Morton threw a fastball low and away, but Frazier was somehow able to muster enough strength to push it over the fence in right-center for a three-run homer.

In the fourth, Greg Bird led off the inning with a ground-rule double to left field on a ball that left the bat at 78 MPH. Unfortunately for Morton, Cameron Maybin just horribly misplayed the ball and because he didn’t touch it, he didn’t get charged with an error.

Morton rebounded by getting a couple of outs. He didn’t appear to be pitching around Frazier, but walked him on five pitches. Morton then got Chase Headley to hit a ground ball (88.4 MPH), but second baseman Jose Altuve was shaded a bit too far to the right. Though he was able to corral it in the shallow outfield, he had no play, and the Yankees got their fourth run of the game. Morton hit Gardner, the next batter, with a 0-1 curve, loading the bases. That was the final straw for manager A.J. Hinch, who brought in Will Harris to relieve Morton. Facing Aaron Judge, Harris uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Frazier to score to make it 5-0. After working the count to 2-2, Judge ripped an up-and-in fastball that just barely got over the wall in left field for a three-run homer to up the score to 8-0.

Morton’s final line: 3 2/3 innings, seven runs (all earned), six hits (the one not listed here was a bunt single in the first), two walks, one hit batsman, three strikeouts. Here are the hit probabilities of five of those hits (excluding the bunt), according to Baseball Savant:

  • Castro single: 10 percent
  • Hicks single: 70 percent
  • Frazier homer: 55 percent
  • Bird double: 4 percent
  • Headley single: 12 percent

Unfortunately for Morton, he was a victim of bad luck, bad timing, and bad relief. He pitched much, much better than the box score indicates.

The Astros, meanwhile, hit into some bad luck. Yuli Gurriel crushed a fastball to right field in the second inning off of CC Sabathia, but Judge made a fantastic leaping catch that caused him to crash into the wall and tumble backwards. That had a hit probability of 59 percent and was “barreled,” according to Baseball Savant. Maybin “barreled” a ball in the fifth that Judge dove in on and caught. That would be a hit 77 percent of the time.

This isn’t to make excuses for the Astros. The Yankees have outplayed them this game. But contrary to the score, the Yankees haven’t been blowing the Astros out of the water. This is the kind of game the Astros shouldn’t read to much into looking ahead the rest of the series.