Thursday, June 3, 2010
The Closer: Perfect mistake
By ESPN Stats & Information
Armando Galarraga allowed no more than one hit in a start three times before in four seasons, but his one-hitter Wednesday should have been a perfect game. First base umpire Jim Joyce admitted he blew a call allowing the Indians only batter (Jason Donald) to reach base on an infield hit with two outs in the 9th inning. In this edition of The Closer, we'll show you why Galarraga was so dominant and why he should have thrown the 21st perfect game in MLB history and 3rd in less than a month.
Galarraga falls one out short of perfection
- Armando Galarraga lost his perfect game bid with two outs in the ninth inning on Wednesday. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, over the last 20 seasons only two other pitchers have gone that far without allowing a batter to reach base without completing the perfect game: Mike Mussina against the Red Sox in 2001 (broken up by Carl Everett’s single) and Pedro Martinez against the Padres in 1995 (broken up to start the 10th inning by Bip Roberts).
The last Tigers pitcher to have a perfect game broken up with two outs in the ninth inning was Milt Wilcox at Comiskey Park on April 15, 1983. Jerry Hairston singled to end Wilcox’s bid.
Why Armando Galarraga nearly threw a perfect game against the Indians:
- Galarraga started 24 of 28 hitters (85.7 pct) with a first-pitch strike, tied for the fifth-highest percentage this year in a start of more than two innings. After starting each of the first two hitters of the game with a ball, Galarraga threw a first-pitch strike to 24 of the next 26 hitters, including all 13 hitters after the 5th inning.
- Went to just one three-ball count all night, throwing a ball to Travis Hafner on a 2-2 count in the 5th before getting him to fly out.
- Galarraga threw two balls to just five of 28 hitters and started just two hitters with a 2-0 count.
- He had his lowest miss percentage (11.6) of the season, but still managed to get batters out. How? He threw lots of strikes. 67 of his 88 pitches thrown (76.1) were for strikes, which was his highest percentage on the season. He also had his highest percentage of pitches thrown in the zone (67.0). Galarraga entered the game with a .52 GB/FB ratio this season (according to Inside Edge) and posted a 1.5 GB/FB ratio on Wednesday.