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Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Felix rides soft stuff to perfect ending

By Stats & Info

Maybe it was worth it to buy Seattle Mariners season tickets after all.

Felix Hernandez tossed the first perfect game in the history of the Mariners franchise and the sixth no-hitter overall this season, defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0 on Wednesday afternoon. Not only was Hernandez's performance dominant in its own right, but it marked yet another remarkable chapter in the history of perfect games and, specifically, the 2012 season.

Felix Hernandez
Hernandez
In tossing the 23rd perfect game in MLB history, Hernandez made more than just Mariners history. This season is now the first in MLB history with three perfect games. The only other instances of multiple perfect games in a season are 1880 and 2010.

It also is the first time in MLB history that there have been two perfect games in the same stadium in the same season. In fact, only three other stadiums have had two perfect games thrown in them in their history, let alone one season (Dodger Stadium, Oakland Coliseum and Yankee Stadium).

Wednesday also marked the second instance in MLB history of three no-hitters being thrown at one park/stadium in one season, joining Sportsman’s Park in 1917.

2012: The Year of the No-No
The six no-hitters thrown this season place it behind only 1884, 1990 and 1991 for the most in a single season. There were seven thrown in both 1990 and 1991, and a record eight thrown in 1884.

The Mariners also became the first team in MLB history to have both a combined no-hitter and a complete-game no-hitter in the same season, while Hernandez (Venezuela) became the second player born outside the United States to throw a perfect game, joining Dennis Martinez (Nicaragua) in 1991.

How Did Hernandez Do It?
He had his breaking stuff working Wednesday; his 25 swing-and-misses on breaking pitches are the most by anyone since 2009. Hernandez also used all four of his pitches to get 27 outs against the Rays but increased his off-speed usage to its highest total of the season -- 59 percent of pitches.

Hernandez worked in the lower third of the zone for most of the game, throwing half his pitches in the lower third of the zone and below. Hernandez used the breaking balls on 42 of the 57 pitches, gaining 15 outs with 11 strikeouts, including six strikeouts on pitches out of the zone.

He also ramped it up when it counted most, averaging a season-high 93.2 mph with his fastball. With the perfect game becoming more of a reality, Hernandez picked up the pace of the heater later in the game, averaging 92.2 in innings one through three, 93.5 in innings four through six and 94.3 in the final three frames, including eight pitches of 95 mph or faster.

Rays Play the Victim
Continuing to dive into the realm of statistical oddities, the Rays have been no-hit five times since the franchise's inception in 1998, more than any other team. They also have been no-hit four times since 2009 alone, making them the only team to be no-hit more than once over the past four seasons.

And of the 23 perfect games in MLB history, six have come in the past four seasons. That means that 26 percent of the perfect games in MLB history have come in the past four seasons. There have been 137 seasons of major league history, meaning the past four seasons represent less than 3 percent of all MLB seasons played.

To top it off, Joe Maddon is the first manager (winning or losing) to get ejected from a perfect game. The previous manager to get ejected from a game in which his team got no-hit was Jim Leyland of the Tigers, who did so in Matt Garza's no-hitter for the Rays on July 26, 2010.