Stats & Info: armando galarraga

Jay Bruce dialed long-distance like no one else in the big leagues in May, according to ESPN's Home Run Tracker, and Mark Trumbo had the kind of mammoth blast that hadn't been seen in Kansas City in four years. What were some of the other home run oddities from the month of May?

Player Power Surge: HRs Totaling Most Distance (Jay Bruce, Cincinnati Reds)
Mike Stanton averaged more than 425 feet per home run in May, but no one totaled more total distance than Bruce. His 12 home runs tallied 4,776 feet, besting last month's winner, Ryan Braun, by nearly 700 feet. Jose Bautista, who leads the majors in home runs, has yet to win this award.

No Doubter: Longest True Distance (Mark Trumbo, Los Angeles Angels)
Trumbo's Memorial Day blast off of Royals pitcher Louis Coleman at Kauffman Stadium traveled a true distance of 472 feet. It was the longest home run hit by an Angels player since Vladimir Guerrero's 473-foot shot off Zack Greinke at Kauffman on May 1, 2007.

Wall-Scraper: Shortest True Distance (Danny Valencia, Brennan Boesch)
On May 8, Valencia hit a 329-foot HR off Daisuke Matsuzaka. Eleven days later, Boesch hit a 329-foot shot off of Daniel Bard. Both home runs were hit at Fenway Park, which is not surprising. Of the 10 shortest home runs hit in 2011, six have been at Fenway Park.

Moonshot: Highest Apex* (Shelley Duncan, Cleveland Indians)
Duncan's 431-foot shot on Memorial Day off of Blue Jays pitcher Jo-Jo Reyes landed in the fifth deck at Rogers Centre, with an apex of 152 feet. Duncan became just the 15th player to reach the fifth deck at Rogers Centre, and the first since Jayson Werth on June 27, 2009 off of Brad Mills.

Line Drive: Lowest Apex (Carlos Peguero, Seattle Mariners)
Peguero’s May 16 shot came off Twins starter Scott Baker. With an apex of 39 feet, it was the lowest home run hit since Travis Snider’s 39-foot apex home run on May 3, 2010.

Fastball of the Month: Fastest Speed Off Bat (Juan Rivera, Toronto Blue Jays)
While his teammate Jose Bautista may steal all the attention, Rivera hit the fastest speed off bat in May. Rivera’s shot on May 22 off of Astros starter Wandy Rodriguez traveled 117.7 mph off the bat, and went 431 feet.

Server of the Month: Greatest Total Distance Allowed (Bronson Arroyo, Cincinnati Reds)
Arroyo allowed 10 home runs that traveled 3,981 feet. Last month's winner, Armando Galarraga, now finds himself in Triple-A Reno.

* Defined as the maximum vertical height a ball reaches during its flight
ESPN's Home Run Tracker analyzes video of each home run hit this season. Each month, the tracker will detail the best and worst home runs, as well as some other interesting statistics pertaining to the long ball. Below are the notable home runs in the months of March and April.

Wall-Scraper: Shortest True Distance
March/April Winner: Sam Fuld, Tampa Bay Rays
Fuld’s 323-foot home run off of Daisuke Matsuzaka on April 11 took just 3.32 seconds to leave the yard. Fortunately for Fuld, his blast came while playing at Fenway Park, the only park that particular batted ball would have been a home run in. Believe it or not, Shane Victorino’s inside-the-park home run April 24 hit of Wade LeBlanc traveled 346 feet.

Moonshot: Highest Apex (Apex: maximum vertical height ball reaches)
March/April Winner: Luke Scott, Baltimore Orioles
Although they drop jaws for their height, “moonshot” home runs tend to produce true distances that are far from astonishing. Such is the case for Scott’s fifth-inning home run off Cleveland’s Josh Tomlin on April 16. It traveled just 339 feet, but was hit 148 feet in the air. Scott’s home run took 6.39 seconds to clear the fence, nearly 1.5 seconds longer than the league average (4.85 seconds).

Line Drive: Lowest Apex
March/April Winner: Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays
Bautista’s home run off Tampa Bay’s David Price on April 23 had an apex of just 46 feet. In 3.56 seconds, Bautista’s shot traveled 383 feet.

Fast-ball: Fastest Speed Off Bat
March/April Winner: Justin Upton, Arizona Diamondbacks
There are many things that can’t travel 116.7 mph, including a large number of automobiles. But that was the speed that ball traveled off Upton’s second-inning homer on April 12 off the Cardinals’ Chris Carpenter.

Player Power Surge: Most Combined Distance by One Player
March/April Winner: Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers
Braun tallied 4,089 feet of total home run distance for the months of March and April, squeaking past Alfonso Soriano by 70 feet. Both Braun and Soriano hit 10 home runs in March and April. Five of Braun’s 10 home runs traveled more than 420 feet, including a pair that went 444 and 445 feet.

Server of the Month: Most Combined Distance Allowed by One Pitcher
March/April Winner: Armando Galarraga, Arizona Diamondbacks
The “Imperfect Game” winner has been far from perfect this season. In 28 innings in the month of April, Galarraga allowed 11 home runs (currently on pace to allow 71) that have traveled 4,400 feet.

Wackiest: Most Improbable
March/April Winner: Miguel Olivo, Seattle Mariners
Give an assist to Detroit Tigers outfielder Ryan Raburn on this one. Olivo’s second-inning shot off Phil Coke was about 10 feet short of being a home run, but Raburn’s glove deflected the ball over the fence at spacious Comerica Park. With an apex of just 45 feet, Olivo’s “home run” should win the award for Line Drive of the Month. But, because it required some assistance from Raburn, wackiest is more apropos.
Not only was 2010 the Year of the No-Hitter (six including the postseason), but it also was the Year of the Near No-Hitter. Five other potential no-nos were broken up in the ninth inning, the highest number since 1990.

On Friday night, Florida Marlins pitcher Anibal Sanchez recorded the first near no-hitter of the 2011 campaign, losing his bid after Colorado Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler led off the ninth inning with a single.

How did Sanchez shut down the Rockies? He was dominant with several pitches.

Sanchez's fastball averaged 92.1 mph, only the eighth time since the 2009 season he averaged 92 or faster in a start. He recorded eight misses on 26 swings on his fastball (30.8 percent), the third-highest miss percentage on his fastball in the past three seasons.

While the heater was superb, Sanchez also used his off-speed pitches to get hitters out, especially with two strikes. Sanchez retired 13 Rockies hitters with off-speed pitches, despite throwing just 17 off-speed pitches with two strikes the entire game. He recorded 12 outs on his slider, including nine with two strikes -- the most in a start since September 2009.

The Marlins have three of the five longest no-hit bids so far this season. Sanchez’s is the longest of the season, and Josh Johnson has taken one into the eighth inning and another into the seventh.

The Marlins are tied with the Red Sox and Yankees for the most no-hitters since 1993 (Marlins’ inaugural season) with four. Al Leiter, Kevin Brown, A.J. Burnett and Sanchez have tossed the Florida no-hitters.

Had Sanchez finished off the no-hitter Friday, the 27-year-old would have become the sixth-youngest pitcher at the time of his second no-hitter (Johnny Vander Meer is the youngest at 23 years, 225 days).

A 'break'down of Galarraga, Rodriguez

January, 30, 2011
Our weekly statistical take on MLB moves.

Armando Galarraga may have been almost perfect on one memorable occasion in 2010, but he had a significant imperfection in his overall work.
Armando Galarraga

As Galarraga looks for a fresh start in the NL with the Arizona Diamondbacks after being traded from the Tigers last week, one of his biggest goals for 2011 is going to be re-establishing an out pitch. publishes a run value stat for pitch types for both pitchers and hitters. The number (broken down by total pitches or per 100 pitches of that type thrown) establishes whether that pitch led to positive outcomes for the player more often than not. Higher pitch value numbers mean better results with the pitch (further explanation: here).

Of the 147 pitchers who threw at least 100 innings in 2010, 10 had negative run values per 100 for every pitch type in their arsenal.

Galarraga had a couple of flaws that earned him a spot on this list. Our Inside Edge video review data shows that his 90-mile-per-hour fastball got swings and misses six percent of the time, among the lowest rates in baseball.

When he threw a sinking fastball, he actually had more balls hit in the air than on the ground (the opposite of the desired result)

When Galarraga threw his slider and an opponent made contact, he allowed a hit 35 percent of the time, well above the league norm (right-handed hitters in particular, had a lot of success against it). He also ranked among the major league leaders in home runs allowed by right-handers on breaking pitches, with 10, twice as many as he allowed two seasons earlier.

These numbers were the biggest difference in his performance from 2008, when his slider was an out pitch. In fact, that season, it had the third-best run value in the major leagues. A return to that form would be key to establishing success in a new environment.

• Wandy Rodriguez netted a three-year, $34 million contract from the Houston Astros coming off a season in which his signature pitch—the curveball—was not anywhere near as good of an out pitch as it was in 2009.
Wandy Rodriguez

No pitcher was as reliant in getting a large number of important outs with his curveball that season. His total run value with the pitch led the major leagues. Last season, he was one of a small group for whom that pitch had a negative run value.

Rodriguez netted 118 strikeouts with his curveball in 2009, 44 more than any other left-handed pitcher. In 2010 that total dipped to 102. The percentage of plate appearances that ended with Rodriguez dropping in a two-strike hook for strike three dipped from half to about 45 percent.

That doesn’t sound like a big decline, but it had an impact in his ERA jumping from 3.02 in 2009 to 3.60 in 2010. Instead of getting strikeouts, Rodriguez ran into some trouble.

When hitters made contact with a two-strike hook from Rodriguez in 2010, they hit .346, a 110-point jump from the previous season and their percentage of “well-hit balls” (a stat tracked by Inside Edge) increased from nine percent to 13 percent, a potential indicator that the batting average jump wasn’t just due to luck.

This wasn’t the first time in his career that Rodriguez had a decline with the success of his curveball. His run value with the pitch experienced similar issues in 2008. He used it to be an excellent pitcher in 2009. He’ll face the same challenge again in 2011.
Another weekend day game between AL East foes at Rogers Centre, some more history for the Toronto Blue Jays.

Brandon Morrow struck out 17 Tampa Bay Rays and was just one ground ball away from one of the more dominating no-hitters in MLB history on Sunday. Alas, Evan Longoria's grounder bounched off of Aaron Hill's diving attempt at it and Morrow was forced to strike out Dan Johnson to secure the 1-0 win.

Morrow joins an elite club of Blue Jays pitchers to lose a no-hitter when they were just one out away. Roy Halladay gave up a hit to Bobby Higginson of the Detroit Tigers back in 1998 when he was one out away. But Morrow has nothing on Dave Stieb, who lost three no-hitters in a two-season span between 1988 and 1989, including two in back-to-back starts.

The only Blue Jays no-hitter ever thrown was by Stieb on September 2, 1990 at the Indians.

Maybe we should have seen an effort like this coming from Morrow. On September 5, 2008, Morrow threw 7.2 hitless innings against the New York Yankees in his first MLB start. It was broken up by a Wilson Betemit double that actually scored a run. Morrow is now the ONLY pitcher to take a no-hitter through five innings three times this season.

The Tampa Bay Rays seem to have no-hitters on their brain as they narrowly escape becoming the first team in MLB history to be no-hit three times in a season. In fact, of the last six no-hitters across the bigs, the Rays have been involved in four of them (one by Matt Garza while three have come against them).

Instead of wallowing in what might have been, we should celebrate what Morrow did achieve. 17 strikeouts is one shy of the club record that Roger Clemens set against the Royals back in 1998. The list of pitchers with a one-hit shutout along with 17 Ks in the live-ball era (since 1920) is just three names deep. Curt Schilling in 2002 with the Diamondbacks, Kerry Wood's 20-strikeout game back in 1998 and now Morrow.

Some other crazy facts:

•Home plate umpire Jeff Kellogg was also behind the dish for Anibal Sanchez and Ubaldo Jimenez's no-nos. The last umpire to have home plate for two no-hitters in a season was Drew Coble in 1990.

•On July 26 (two weeks ago tomorrow), Morrow turned 26 years old. Check out the ages of the pitchers who threw the five no-hitters this season: Ubaldo Jimenez (26), Dallas Braden (26), Roy Halladay (33), Edwin Jackson (26) and Garza (26). From July 30, 1973 until the end of last season, there were just five total no-hitters thrown by a pitcher who was exactly 26 years of age.

•According to Bill James' metric "Game Score," which is a one-number summary of how good a pitcher's single-game performance is, Brandon Morrow's 17-strikeout, 2-walk, one-hitter got a score of 100. That is tied for the 4th-best single-game pitching performance since 1920. It was the highest by any pitcher in a single game since Randy Johnson scored 100 in his perfect game back in 2004.

Rapid Reactions: Napoli is a Yankee Killer

July, 20, 2010
It should come as no surprise that Angels catcher Mike Napoli homered in their game at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night. The Elias Sports Bureau tells us that his career OPS against the Yankees coming into tonight's game was 1.142. That's the highest OPS vs the Yankees in the live-ball era (since 1920) among those with at least 85 PA.

The Baltimore Orioles put on an impressive offense explosion against Tampa Bay tonight. Especially Luke Scott, Ty Wigginton and Adam Jones who hit back-to-back-to-back HR in the bottom of the second inning. It ties a record for the most consecutive HR for the Orioles in a game (done 6 times previously).The most recent occurrence before Tuesday: September 5, 1995 vs the California Angels (Jeff Manto, Mark Smith and Brady Anderson did the trick). Even more notable from September 5, 1995 for the Orioles? Cal Ripken tied Lou Gehrig's streak for consecutive games played at 2,130.

But the most notable and impressive trend that has continued on Tuesday night so far? Armando Galarraga struggled once again, which is nothing new since his memorable shutout and near-perfect game of the Cleveland Indians on June 2. Since that "Jim Joyce Game", Galarraga is 1-2 with a 5.61 ERA in his six starts.

While it didn't go down in the books as a perfecto, Galarraga may be suffering from the same curse that is affecting those pitchers who DID pitch perfect games the last two seasons. Mark Buehrle was 10-3 last season when he twirled his gem on July 23, 2009, and since then he is just 4-9. Roy Halladay is 3-5 since his perfect game on May 29 and has dropped his last three starts. And then there's Dallas Braden who is 0-5 since his history-making effort on May 9.

Braden is pitching against the Boston Red Sox later tonight as he hopes to end this strange curse.

1st Pitch: Quick hits from around the majors

July, 20, 2010
Today’s Trivia: Alex Rodriguez is two home runs shy of becoming the seventh player in baseball history with 600 career HR. Who has the second-most HR among players with the first name Alex?

Quick Hits: A quick look at some newsworthy hits from around baseball:

From the Houston Chronicle: Jason Castro's three-run blast in the third inning was the first home run of three or more runs by a catcher since Brad Ausmus hit a grand slam Aug. 5, 2006 at Arizona.

From the Boston Herald: Since he blew back-to-back saves June 23-24 in Colorado, Jonathan Papelbon has pitched 7 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings and gone five-for-five in save opportunities. Dating to last season, he has converted 34-of-37 save chances.

From Alex Rios hit his 100th career home run Monday, a two-run shot in the fifth inning against the Seattle Mariners. After just five games it has already been a milestone second half for Rios. He connected on his 1,000th career hit Thursday at Minnesota.

From the Detroit News: Armando Galarraga is 1-1 with a 5.61 ERA in six starts since the Jim Joyce game, but the Tigers are 5-1 in those starts. Just back from Toledo, this will be just his second start for the Tigers since June 29.

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Albert Pujols had his 100th double at Busch Stadium III, which now gives him more doubles at two of the ballparks the Cardinals have called home than Hall of Famer Stan Musial.

From the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Ronny Cedeno has been torrid the past five games since the Pirates ended his platoon at shortstop with Bobby Crosby. In that span, Cedeno is 11 for 18 with six extra-base hits, five runs scored and two RBI.

From the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: Hanley Ramirez's bunt single during the Marlins' three-run third off Ubaldo Jimenez produced his first RBI since July 5, only his second this month. At his current pace, Ramirez would finish with 95, 11 fewer than last year.

From the Philadelphia Daily News: On May 21, against the Red Sox at Citizens Bank Park, Jayson Werth went 2-for-4 with a homer, a couple of runs scored and a pair of RBI in a win over the Red Sox. The Phillies' rightfielder was hitting .329 with nine home runs and 33 runs batted in. The Phils were 11 games over .500 at 26-15. Since then, Werth is .236-4-17 in his 48 games with 55 strikeouts. And the Phillies are 22-29 in that span.

Today’s Leaderboard: Brandon Inge broke his hand in Monday's loss to the Rangers and he's expected to miss four to six weeks. Inge has been one of the most durable players at his position over the last two seasons. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he has started 241 games at third base since 2009, tying Evan Longoria for the highest total in the major leagues.

Key Matchup: Something has to give tonight in Los Angeles when the Giants and Dodgers face off. Giants ace Tim Lincecum is holding righthanded batters to a .202 batting average, tied for fourth-lowest in the majors. On the other hand, the Dodgers are hitting .271 against righthanded hurlers, sixth-best average in baseball.

Trivia Answer: Former major leaguer Alex Gonzalez (who played with Toronto, the Chicago Cubs, Tampa Bay, Montreal and Philadelphia) hit 137 career HR in 13 seasons. As a side note, Jackie Robinson finished his career with 137 home runs.

The Closer: Oh so close

June, 13, 2010
We came so close to history on Sunday Night Baseball, with Ted Lilly and Gavin Floyd bringing back memories of a Cubs-Reds game from 1917 in which both pitchers carried no-hitters through nine frames.

Alas, that game ended poorly for the Cubs, with a loss to the Reds in which Fred Toney pitched a no-hitter. But this one ended well, with Ted Lilly and Carlos Marmol combining on a one-hitter after Lilly's bid for a no-no ended with a line drive hit by Juan Pierre.

The Elias Sports Bureau tells us that on this day, there were more home runs hit (41) than on any other day this season. But pitching was still a big story. You've probably already read about the fine work of Stephen Strasburg, but it was still a good day to be a pitcher. You didn't need to be Ted Lilly to know that.

You could have been any of these moundsmen:

You could have been Zack Greinke or Cole Hamels, both of whom were waiting for performances like these for quite some time.

Greinke's slider was quite nasty against a Reds team that swings the bats pretty well. He only threw the pitch 19 times, via our Inside Edge video scouting data, but he got 11 outs with those 19 pitches, including seven strikeouts. That's efficiency.

Hamels pounded the strike zone against a Red Sox team that had pounded the Phillies the previous two days. He threw 71 percent strikes, his best percentage of the season in winning at Fenway Park. Like Greinke, he was efficient. Seven of his his strikeouts required four pitchers or fewer, an effort well better than the league average.

Armando Galarraga wasn't perfect for the Tigers, but he was still pretty sharp. Opponents are hitting just .171 against Galarraga's fastball this season and the Pirates were no better against it Sunday. They didn't strike out, but of the 13 times they put the fastball into play, they mustered only two hits.

Galarraga also threw 40 offspeed pitches, and 70 percent of them were for strikes. That's a tough combination to beat.

By the time you're reading this, it's likely June 14, and that marks a significant, one-year anniversary for Phil Hughes. The Yankees starter, who improved to 9-1 with a win yesterday, had been demoted to the bullpen a year ago after an unimpressive start to the season.

On June 14, 2009, Hughes pitched a scoreless inning in a 15-0 win over the Mets, but it was a performance of significance. It marked the first of 16 straight scoreless outings, spanning 21 innings. In that span, he allowed no runs, 11 hits, and four walks, while striking out 25.

Neither Hughes nor Mike Pelfrey were particularly impressive, but both did improve to 9-1 with the win. According to Elias, it marked the first time that both the Mets and Yankees had pitchers start the same season with nine wins in their first 10 decisions.

Almost perfect

June, 13, 2010
Armando Galarraga makes a start in Detroit for the first time since his imperfect game on June 2, and he'll likely be honored in some manner (perhaps a standing ovation when he takes the mound) by the Tigers fans.

The standing ovation will be for what could have, and should have been, and we choose to treat it in this space, as if it was.

Let's say Galarraga had been perfect 11 days ago. Here's what would have been:

" It would have made 21 perfect games in MLB history- three this season, by Dallas Braden, Roy Halladay, and Armando Galarraga, making this the first season with three perfect games. The only other season with multiple perfectos was in 1880.

" It would have been the first Tigers no-hitter since: Justin Verlander against the Brewers, June 12, 2007. It would have been the first no-hitter against the Indians since Jim Abbott no-hit them on September 9, 1993. The Yankees manager that day: ESPN analyst Buck Showalter.

" It would have been the second no-hitter on a June 2nd. The other was against the Tigers, by the Mariners Randy Johnson in 1990.

" Marvin Hudson was the home plate umpire. He'd never been home plate ump for a no-hitter before this one.

" It would have made four no-hitters to this point of the season. The last season with four-or-more is 1991, which had seven.

" This was career start number 56 for Armando Galarraga, which would have been the third-fewest for any of the pitchers who threw a perfect game since 1900. Chances are, you would have seen the graphic on your right on SportsCenter.

" It would have been the second perfect game on a Wednesday, joining the one by Catfish Hunter against the Twins on May 8, 1968. There have been seven perfect games on Sundays, which is more than there have been on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays combined (6).

" Roy Halladay pitched his perfect game on the Saturday right before Galarraga's near perfect bid. Three days (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday) between perfect games would have been an MLB record, which would have led to the graphic on the right.

For reference, the longest drought between perfect games in MLB history was more than 34 years, from April, 1922 (Charlie Robertson) to October, 1956 (Don Larsen).

" Galarraga would have ranked tied for second in the most runs allowed in the start prior to perfect game. Roy Halladay allowed seven runs against the Red Sox, in the start prior to this perfect game, which tops the list. Galarraga allowed six against the Dodgers on May 22, the same number David Cone allowed prior to his perfect game against the Expos.

" Lastly, had Galarraga retired Jason Donald for the 27th out, he would have finished the game with a total of three strikeouts. There hasn't been a perfect game with that few whiffs in 102 years and counting. The last was by Hall of Famer Addie Joss in 1908.

FanGraphs: Galarraga's historic efficiency

June, 3, 2010
Armando Galarraga of the Detroit Tigers came within one poor umpire's call of the 21st perfect game in major league history Wednesday night. It's hard to imagine that anyone -- including the offending umpire, Jim Joyce -- feels good about it. Moreover, it's hard to believe that nothing -- be it an overruling from the commissioner's office or expansion of the league's use of replay -- will come from this unfortunate incident.

But Galarraga's performance represents another, slightly less obvious accomplishment.

In an alternate baseball world, where pure evil does not momentarily possess Jim Joyce and force him to thwart all our hopes and dreams, Galarraga pitches a perfect game in a mere 83 pitches.

Though we don't have pitch counts for the earliest three perfectionists -- Lee Richmond (1880), John Montgomery Ward (also 1880), and Cy Young (1904) -- the 17 most recent performances are accounted for via Baseball Reference (via Retrosheet). Of those, only Addie Joss' effort of 100-plus years ago was completed in fewer pitches (74) than Galarraga's would-be perfecto Wednesday night.

Here's the list of perfect games, from fewest to most pitches thrown:

In the majors this season, the average plate appearance lasts 3.85 pitches. Of 148 qualified pitchers, Anaheim Angels pitcher Jered Weaver throws the most per plate appearance (4.27); Minnesota Twins pitcher Nick Blackburn, the least (3.30).

The average plate appearance in Galarraga's pseudo-perfecto? A mere 3.07.

Of course, much of Galarraga's efficiency is attributable to his lack of strikeouts. Besides Joss' performance -- which, it needs to be said, occurred when the leaguewide strikeout rate was 3.7 K/9 (as opposed to 7.1 K/9 this year) -- Galarraga's three strikeouts is the lowest mark in perfect-game history.

It goes without saying that a perfect game requires a great deal of luck. The "average" perfect game still sees the pitcher allow about 18 balls in play. Considering that a ball in play generally has about a 30 percent chance of falling for a hit, the chances of 18 consecutive balls in play being fielded cleanly comes to 0.7^18, or 0.16 percent.

And that's just for a pitcher striking out a full third of the batters he faces. For Galarraga and his three strikeouts, the odds were even lower: 0.7^24, or 0.02 percent. That's 1 in 5000. And that figure still doesn't account for the absence of walks, hit by pitches, errors, etc.

As for the odds that such an improbably efficient and lucky perfect-game bid would be ruined on the very last play of the game by a bad call?

Unfortunately for Armando Galarraga, they were 100 percent Wednesday night.

Carson Cistulli is a writer for FanGraphs.

The Closer: Perfect mistake

June, 3, 2010
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.