Monday, May 10, 2010

Is There a "Lucky" Perfect Game?

The old news is that Dallas Braden threw the 19th perfect game in ML history yesterday, utterly blanking the Rays on 109 pitches. It didn't dawn on me till this morning, but this is the 2nd year in a row that the Rays have had a perfect game thrown against them. But that is neither here nor there. With the title of my article, I'm not necessarily suggesting that what Dallas Braden did yesterday was lucky, but in terms of Braden's credentials and history in the league so far, a perfect game for him seemed rather unlikely. With a near 4.50 ERA in 53 ML starts, Braden wasn't even close to a household name and most people probably knew him more for his recent spat with A-Rod. As you look over the list of perfect games in Major League Baseball, it's not a Who's Who of pitchers, but there are certainly a lot of recognizable names on the list including: Randy Johnson, Sandy Koufax, Don Larsen and Cy Young. I guess, in my mind, that's what makes Braden's feat yesterday all the more unlikely. Maybe it's the baseball Gods paying him back for A-Rod's indiscretion. Could it have been luck though? And my question to you remains: is there such a thing as a lucky perfect game?


  1. My thought might be that, no matter who you are, there's going to be some element of luck involved when throwing a perfect game. I mean, if you look at Buehrle's PG last year, how many times out of how many attempts will Dewayne Wise make that catch? Just as you can look at the list of people that have thrown one and see some relatively unspectacular pitchers, there are some of the game's most dominant pitchers that never threw one, so I think it cuts both ways.

  2. Hard to say, but I'd agree w/ DomeDog. Any perfect game involves luck, and Dallas Braden didn't do it because of his overwhelming ability to dominate batters, and he's not even a particularly good pitcher, but he had a good day.

  3. The more unbelievable part of the last two perfectos this year and last is that both happened against the Rays--when they Rays have been a good team.

    So, certainly, luck has to play a part. For years the Rays lost hundreds of games with gusto. Now that they don't stink, they can get totally beheaded once a year during a day game on the road?

  4. Todd kinda hit on what I'm speaking to. Both Braden and Buerhle are not 'shut down' pitchers. Buerhle had a no-hitter earlier in career so it's not unfathomable that he could have a perfect game, but Braden's came out of no-where.

    I agree with the luck angle that (sic) and Domedog spoke to in that yeah, there are lucky plays in every no-hitter/perfect games and well, in order to accomplish that feat literally everything in the game has to break your way.

    I guess I'm not trying to diminish what Dallas Braden accomplished yesterday, but if there is such a thing as a "lucky" perfect game, we saw it yesterday. All the breaks went his way.