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.
Giants reliever Hunter Strickland has been activated from the 60-day disabled list, the club announced Saturday. In a corresponding move, third baseman Pablo Sandoval was shifted to the 60-day disabled list, where he’ll remain for the rest of the season after undergoing surgery on his right hamstring. Right-handed reliever Dereck Rodriguez has also been placed on the 10-day disabled list after suffering a hamstring strain during Tuesday’s brawl against the Dodgers.
Strickland, 29, had been shelved with a fractured right hand since mid-June. The right-hander sustained the injury after punching a door and underwent surgery to repair the fifth metacarpal in his pitching hand. He only missed the minimum after making a speedy recovery, however, and finished his recent rehab stint with 5 2/3 innings of two-run, 10-strikeout ball for the Giants’ rookie, High-A and Triple-A affiliates.
Prior to the incident, Strickland logged 13 saves in 28 opportunities with a 2.84 ERA, 3.7 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 in 34 appearances. According to comments from club skipper Bruce Bochy, the Giants don’t plan on wasting any time before deploying their former closer, but will make him available in high-leverage situations as soon as possible. It’s worth noting, too, that the team still has a viable closer in lefty reliever Will Smith, who picked up 10 saves and engineered a 3.10 ERA, 1.8 BB/9 and 12.8 SO/9 in 20 1/3 innings since Strickland landed on the DL this summer.