Marlins Fan's Blog
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We've seen this before.  Over the last few years, hitting has taken a major back seat to pitching in Major League Baseball.  Since 2009 MLB has seen 12 no-hitters.  For a little perspective, that's more than we saw during the first 20 years of expansion.  It's more than we (well not me, but some of you older folks) saw in 75 years, from 1881-1955.

So it should come as no surprise that Philip Humber of the Chicago White Sox tossed a perfect game today.  Never mind that Humber only managed 1 complete game in 120 Minor League starts.  Never mind that Humber's 2012 WHIP is almost 1.7, or that he has a lifetime ERA of over 4.00.

In today's pitching-dominated game, Humber is good enough to throw a perfect game, and he proved that today.

By the way, I'm not trying to take anything away from Humber.  He's a good pitcher and people have always expected a lot from him, ever since he became the 4th pick in the 2004 draft.  He seems to be a good kid and he certainly etched out a place for himself in MLB's history books.  I wish him all the best.

But I do want to point out that the game is different, today.  Let's gain a little more perspective on just how different today's MLB is.

We've seen 12 no-hitters over the past 3 seasons and one month.  In that same time frame we've seen 4 perfect games.  Keep in mind that there have only been 21 perfect regular season games in the HISTORY of MLB, which spans over 130 years.

And of those 4 perfect games, 2 were by accomplished pitchers (Roy Halladay and Mark Buerhle) but two were courtesy of relative unknowns (Dallas Braden and obviously Humber).

Here's a little more perspective: 

Cliff Lee pitched 10 innings against the Giants the other day.  Lee didn't surrender a walk or a run, but lost because the opposing pitcher, Matt Cain, shut down the Phillies' offense.

38 year old Bartolo Colon recently threw 38 consecutive strikes in a game against the Angels.

49 year old Jamie Moyer currently possesses a 2.55 ERA and recently became the oldest man ever to win a MLB game.  I was 5 years old when Moyer broke into MLB.

As of right now MLB's combined batting average is .248, which if it stood would be the lowest overall batting average since 1972.

What's the point?  The point is that the Steroid Era is over.  The point is that MLB has gone back to the beautiful chess-match it once was, instead of the power-fueled free-for-all of years past.

I don't know what to expect moving forward, but the safe bet would be putting your money on pitching.  Expect more no-hitters; maybe even another perfect game.  And expect those gems to come from anybody, not just the big-name pitchers.

I don't know about you guys, but I love it.  This is how baseball is supposed to be.

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April 22, 2012  09:05 PM ET

April often does favor pitching, particularly in colder weather cities, but there certainly does seem to be a downward trend in hitting since the steroid crackdown, and not just in power numbers. MLB ERA last year was 3.94; down from 4.08 in 2010 and 4.32 in 2009.

I'm not sure how much of that has to do with decrease in PEDs (pitchers used too, as we know) and how much is attributable to an increased focus on making sure umpires call a consistent strike zone, but the numbers sure indicate we may be in the midst of another pitching dominated era...which isn't necessarily good for baseball. Less offense is a turn off to the casual fan.

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April 23, 2012  12:46 AM ET
QUOTE(#5):

Definitely. ERA's have been on the decline, as have batting averages. So have power numbers, obviously.I suppose it's possible that umpires have played a role in the decrease of offense we've been experiencing for the last few years, but I would have to think that the lack of PEDs is probably mostly responsible. And you're right... chicks (and almost everybody else) dig the long ball, but personally I like the new trend. I really enjoyed the Cliff Lee-Matt Cain matchup the other day.IMO pitching is an art; hitting too, to an extent, but not like pitching. The Lee-Cain duel was a perfect example. In a game like that, every single pitch counts. Pitchers focus on every batter, every pitch, whether it's a good hitter or not, and I enjoy the chess-match that comes with a great pitching duel.

I agree with you but many/most people like high scoring games. If nothing else it gives the perception of 'action'. A 35-28 football game is "exciting" but a 5-4 baseball game isn't perceived that way. Even though in both cases the teams combined to 'score' the same number of times.

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April 23, 2012  01:27 AM ET
QUOTE(#7):

I wasn't old/mature enough to realize what exactly was happening (PEDs), but I definitely enjoyed the McGwire-Sosa HR chase of 1998.

In hindsight it should have been obvious what was happening, but the general public still wasn't well versed on PEDs at that point in time and the media did a lot to turn a blind eye. With the exception of the minor flare up when a reporter innocently asked McGwire about the andro in his locker (it wasn't banned at the time, but people knew what it was and that weightlifters used it in conjunction with 'roids) the media largely chased ghosts...speculating about juiced balls; harder, lighter, or altered bats, etc. to the point that MLB actually hired an independent agency to test the balls and put more focus on ensuring bats fell within specs in an attempt to restore the confidence of the fans that MLB itself wasn't artificially creating the offensive explosion.

April 23, 2012  09:31 AM ET
QUOTE(#5):

I really enjoyed the Cliff Lee-Matt Cain matchup the other day.IMO pitching is an art; hitting too, to an extent, but not like pitching. The Lee-Cain duel was a perfect example. In a game like that, every single pitch counts. Pitchers focus on every batter, every pitch, whether it's a good hitter or not, and I enjoy the chess-match that comes with a great pitching duel.

This.

Sometimes (and when I was younger I would not believe I would ever have said this) the prevention of runs is more exciting than the scoring of runs. If that makes any sense.

April 23, 2012  11:28 AM ET
QUOTE(#8):

In hindsight it should have been obvious what was happening,

I for one stated many times to friends and family that roids were rampant in MLB. I also have stated many, many times here on this site and others as well, that MLB officials, owners, teams, players and umpires.......KNEW.

After the 94 strike MLB needed a "shot" in the arm to put **** back in seats and the Long Ball, High scoring games seemed to be just the ticket.

And like many, most casual fans think the game has to be high scoring to be a good game.

I like a 1-0 thriller.

The game yesterday between Arizona and my beloved Braves was actually a great game for fans, even tho the Braves lost.

Randall Delgado got two quick outs in the bottom of the second and then suddenly two guys were on. The bench had him intentionally walk the 8th place hitter to load the bases and bring up the pitcher.

Delgado's youth came thru and he walked the pitcher.

Now, after screwing around with the 8th hole and walking the pitcher on pitches not even close , what does he do? He compounds everything by throwing a fastball dead red over the middle to Parra. GS....Braves lose 6-4...That one series of events is what makes baseball so great.

April 23, 2012  11:29 AM ET

good blog MF.

April 23, 2012  12:05 PM ET

The point is that MLB has gone back to the beautiful chess-match it once was, instead of the power-fueled free-for-all of years past.



Well said MF.

April 23, 2012  01:56 PM ET
QUOTE(#10):

I for one stated many times to friends and family that roids were rampant in MLB.

The 'great homerun chase' was 14 years ago...you were a pretty astute 8 year old kid if you knew Sosa and McGwire were juicing. :)

April 23, 2012  04:15 PM ET
QUOTE(#13):

The 'great homerun chase' was 14 years ago...you were a pretty astute 8 year old kid if you knew Sosa and McGwire were juicing. :)

I think you're mixing me up with HH. Because HH is old.

April 23, 2012  04:17 PM ET

Nice blog MF. I've definitely been enjoying the good pitching of late.

April 23, 2012  05:25 PM ET
QUOTE(#14):

I think you're mixing me up with HH. Because HH is old.

Yep, that's exactly what I did.

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