Whenever a non-ace throws a no-hitter there are always lots of articles wondering if they’ll build off that historic performance and suddenly become a significantly better pitcher.
It’s sort of a silly notion to begin with, as if allowing zero hits as opposed to, say, two hits can drastically alter someone’s career. In the case of Philip Humber he took it one step further by throwing a perfect game on April 21 … and has been absolutely awful since.
Humber followed up his perfect game by coughing up a career-high nine runs against the Red Sox on April 26, walked six batters in a mediocre start versus the Indians on May 2, and then faced Cleveland again this afternoon.
His final line? Eight runs in 2.1 innings.
Add it all up and he’s allowed 20 runs in 13.1 innings since throwing the perfect game, with nearly as many walks (11) than strikeouts (12), five homers, and a .350 opponents’ batting average.
Last week as the Manny Machado trade drama was playing out, I and a lot of other people suspected as early as Monday and into Tuesday morning that the Orioles already had a deal in place for Machado and that they were just keeping it under wraps in order to get through the All-Star break (a) without any awkwardness; and (b) with the Orioles still having an All-Star representative. It would be Wednesday morning before the Orioles would make it official.
Turns out we were wrong. Machado was actually traded before Monday morning. Basically anyway, with the Orioles going so far as to pull him out of last Sunday’s game early because of it. And, of course, they lied about it. From Bob Nightengale of USA Today who spoke with Machado following his debut weekend with the Dodgers:
It was a week ago Sunday when Machado homered for the 24th time this season, the Orioles playing the final game of the first half against the Texas Rangers, when he was removed after the fourth inning after a 26-minute rain delay.
The Orioles told reporters after the game it was simply for precaution, making sure Machado didn’t get hurt playing on a wet field.
They may have fibbed to everyone else, but they told Machado the truth.
“That’s when they had told me I had been traded,’’ Machado said. “They said they pretty much had a deal done. They just wanted to wait until after the break to get all of the medical stuff done.
That didn’t stop all of the usual rumor-mongering reporters from tweeting stuff about this or that team “being in the race” or “taking the lead” or three or four teams in the “debry” or “sweepstakes” as it entered “the home stretch.” A bunch of track announcers calling a race that wasn’t even being run.
In the final analysis this is all benign. Teams lie about stuff all the time and a day or two in either direction made no difference to anyone involved. Still, it says a lot about how the trade rumor business works.