ERIC: Congratulations go to Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners, who twirled the 23rd perfect game in the history of Major League Baseball today, beating the Tampa Bay Rays, 1-0. The 26-year-old right-hander needed only 112 pitches to complete his gem, and he registered 12 strikeouts along the way, striking out the side twice in an overpowering performance. The dominating hurler only ran a three-ball count to three batters the whole game. He was simply unhittable today.
This was the season’s sixth no-hitter, with three of them occurring in Seattle’s Safeco Field. Phillip Humber of the Chicago White Sox pitched a perfecto against the Mariners at Safeco Field on April 21. The Mariners are now the ONLY team to be involved in two perfect games–winning one and losing one–in the same season.
What’s most remarkable is that this was the third time in four years that the Tampa Bay Rays were on the losing end of a perfect game. On July 23, 2009, lefty Mark Buehrle of the Chicago White Sox pitched a perfecto against the Rays 5-0. The Rays then lost another perfect game to Dallas Braden of the Oakland A’s 4-0 on May 9, 2010.
The Tampa Bay franchise has only been around since 1998. This means that they have on the receiving of three perfect games in only 15 seasons. They were also no-hit by Derek Lowe of the Boston Red Sox on April 27, 2002 and by Edwin Jackson of the Arizona Diamondbacks on June 25, 2010. That means that they have been on the receiving end of FIVE no-hitters in just 15 seasons, a remarkable feat of offensive incompetence.
Only one other franchise has been on the receiving end of three perfect games. On October 8, 1956, Don Larsen of the New York Yankees threw a perfect game against the Brooklyn Dodgers in the World Series, the only post-season perfect game. Then, on September 16, 1988, Tom Browning of the Cincinnati Reds hurled a perfecto against the Los Angeles Dodgers, and then the Dodgers were on the losing end of the perfect game tossed by Dennis Martinez of the Montreal Expos on July 28, 1991. The difference, of course, is that, as a franchise, the Dodgers have been around since 1883. There’s obviously a very large difference between losing three perfect games in 129 years and losing three perfect games in just 15 years.
For having been on the losing end of three perfect games in just four years, we hereby induct the Tampa Bay Rays into the You Stink! Hall of Shame.