Friday, June 25, 2010

A Little Perspective on 2010 No-Hitters and Perfect Games!


I'll start out by saying tonight was the weirdest no-hitter I've ever seen; who would have thought we would see 149 pitches from Edwin Jackson in one night and on top of that, a no-hitter with eight walks. Moreover, the feet is even more impressive when you take in account Jackson has only thrown two complete games and one shutout in his entire three year career. Nonetheless, a no-no is a no-no right?

I'm not so sure, the saying is partly true, but a no-hitter is definitely not a perfect game. When grouping the no-hitters from this year, how bout we stick to comparing Jackson with Ubaldo Jimenuz and keep Dallas Braden and Roy Halladay in their own class.

Earlier this season we saw Jimenuz walk six in a 128 pitch no-hitter against the Atlanta Braves back on April 17th, a very similar situation to Mr. Jackson's performance tonight. Not many people were questioning the validity of the Jimenuz's no-hitter because it was the first in Colorado Rockies' history as well as the first of the 2010 MLB season and quite frankly Jackson is no Jimenuz if you know what I mean. However, I sense their is going to be a lot of angst regarding Jackson's no-hitter and whether his day in history should be highly regarded as others. However, that question shouldn't even be discussed at the moment, we have a more pressing issue with the sacred perfect game.

In a year that we've now seen four no-hitters, including two perfect games (should be three with Galarraga's perfect game that was blown by a bad call from an umpire), I think it's time to sit back and see why analyzing statistics is an amazing aspect of baseball. A compelling story is how it's not that bad hitting teams like the Astros, Pirates, and Orioles are the worst offenses in history and getting no-hit. Really, the opposite is true, some fairly formidable offenses (Florida and Atlanta), not to mention one of the best in the major leagues (Tampa Bay), are the teams being victimized by the so-called new wave of great pitching. Even more tantalizing is the appearance of multiple perfect games this season, just stick with me and I'll tell you why!

# of No-Hitters Thrown by Year in the Last 20 Years
(only complete game no-hitters, meaning a single pitcher)
1990: 6
1991: 5 (perfect game for Dennis Martinez)
1992: 1
1993: 3
1994: 3 (perfect game for Kenny Rogers)
1995: 1
1996: 3
1997: 1
1998: 1 (perfect game for David Wells)
1999: 3 (perfect game for David Cone)
2000: 0
2001: 3
2002: 1
2003: 1
2004: 1 (perfect game for Randy Johnson)
2005: 0
2006: 1
2007: 3
2008: 2
2009: 2 (perfect game for Mark Buehrle)
2010: 4 (perfect games for Dallas Braden and Roy Halladay)

Alright, we have four no-hitters already this season, I can live with that, the shocking observation is the number of perfect games so far this season. As you can see, there has not been more than one perfect game in the last twenty years. Prior to this season, there had never been two perfect games in the same year in the modern era. How far does the modern era go back? Pretty far, in 1904, Cy Young threw the first perfect game of the eighteen that have occurred during the modern era.

Not since 1880 have two pitchers thrown perfect games in the same year; Lee Richmond for the Worcester Ruby Legs and John Montgomery Ward for the Providence Grays (hey that's my last name, pretty cool huh?)

Anyways, with those observations, I think it's completely crazy that we celebrate no-hitters in the same regard as we do perfect games, but that's a whole different argument. Maybe I'll try to tackle that question another time, that's all for now, peace out to the blogosphere!