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.