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.
The Phillies and White Sox have dominated much of the conversation around free agent Manny Machado this winter, but Andy Martino of SNY says that they may have some stiff competition as the clock winds down to Opening Day. Two mystery teams have been recently linked to the slugger, and Fancred’s Jon Heyman adds that one of them currently has the high bid, though they’re not considered his “preferred landing spot.”
There’s little sense in putting any stock in these kinds of rumors, of course, but it’ll be interesting to see how Machado’s camp responds in the weeks to come. The 26-year-old’s father, Manuel, added some fuel to the fire on Friday after taking an interview with Z101 Digital, saying, “I believe that the team you will probably less think about is the one that’s going to sign Manny Machado.”
Whether that’s in reference to the Yankees, who are apparently still in the conversation, or a true unknown team remains to be seen. Machado has given little, if any indication that he’s leaning toward a particular club, but is generally expected to be more receptive to whichever suitor feels inclined to meet his 10-year, $300 million asking price. At the very least, Manuel’s comments may help light a fire under the Phillies and White Sox as they continue to mull over a potential deal with the four-time All-Star.