What to expect from Humber tonight

What to expect from Humber tonight
April 26, 2012, 8:49 pm
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The first perfect game ever thrown was on June 12, 1880, by Lee Richmond of the long-defunct Worcester Ruby Legs. To further illustrate the point that the game was thrown in 1880, it was umpired by a man named Foghorn.

We don't have any game-by-game data for Richmond, but we do know 1880 was the best year of his career -- he went 32-32 with a 2.15 ERA in 590 innings.

Just five days after Richmond threw his perfecto, Hall of Famer Monte Ward didn't allow any Buffalo Bisons to reach base in the second-ever perfect game. He turned in an outstanding season that year as well, going 39-24 with a 1.74 ERA in 595 innings pitched.

Baseball-Reference doesn't have game-by-game data for Cy Young or Addie Joss, both of whom threw perfect games in the early 1900s. Both Hall of Fame hurlers were outstanding in their perfect game years, though, with Young leading the league in shutouts in 1904 and Joss leading the league in ERA in 1908.

Finally, we have game-by-game data for every perfect game-throwing pitcher from Charlie Robertson on. So here's how each pitcher fared in their next start after being perfect:

Charlie Robertson (1922): 6 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K vs. Cleveland

Future Hall of Fame inductee Tris Speaker picked up two hits, as did Indians starter Allan Sothoron as Robertson was knocked around in a 6-3 loss to the Tribe. Robertson also balked in the game.

Don Larsen (1957): 1.1 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 0 K vs. Boston

Because Larsen's perfect game came in the World Series, he didn't start another game for over six months before the Red Sox torched him on April 20, 1957. Larsen got through the first inning unscathed after allowing the first two men to reach, but his second inning went as follows: single, single, double, flyout, double. He was replaced by Bob Turley, who wound up walking Jimmy Piersall with the bases loaded to charge the fourth run to Larsen.

Jim Bunning (1964): 7 IP, 11 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 5 K vs. St. Louis

A Bunning-Bob Gibson duel didn't exactly live up to what probably was a lot of hype, as Bunning was far from perfect while Gibson allowed four runs with three walks and two home runs (one to Dick Allen) in eight innings. Bunning immediately lost his chance at repeating his perfect game when Curt Flood doubled to lead off the bottom of the first.

Sandy Koufax (1965): 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 3 K vs. Chicago

Five days after tossing his perfect game against the Cubs in Los Angeles, Koufax couldn't repeat the same success at Wrigley Field. He didn't allow a run through the first five innings, but he served up a two-run home run to Billy Williams in the sixth that was the difference in a 2-1 loss to the North Siders.

Catfish Hunter (1968): 6 IP, 8 H, 8 ER, 5 BB, 4 K vs. Minnesota

The eight runs and four homers allowed were both season-highs for Hunter, who turned in his worst start of the season in Minneapolis only six days after throwing a perfect game against the Twins in Oakland. Minnesota plated five in the first, with Rod Carew, Tony Oliva and Rich Rollins all going deep in the frame.

Len Barker (1981): 9 IP, 8 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 10 K vs. Seattle

Finally, we reach a really good start following a perfect game. But Barker took the loss, as an RBI double off the bat of Wimpy in the top of the fourth put the Mariners ahead for good.

Mike Witt (1985): 7.2 IP, 10 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K vs. Minnesota

Witt's perfect game was his last start of 1984, and his 1985 began by allowing a leadoff single to Kirby Puckett. He wound up turning in a solid 1985 season, though, before a career year in 1986.

Tom Browning (1988): 8 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K vs. San Francisco

Browning dueled with Rick Reuschel through the first five innings before giving up an RBI sacrifice fly to Will Clark in the sixth. Barry Larkin countered with a solo home run in the bottom half of the inning, and Browning earned the victory when Ken Griffey put the Reds ahead in the eighth.

Dennis Martinez (1991): 7 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K vs. Philadelphia

El Presidente and the Expos were terrorized by light-hitting shortstop Dickie Thon, who hit a go-ahead home run in the top of the seventh. John Kruk, Ivan Calderon and Darren Daulton also combined to form the most 1991 grouping of players with RBIs ever off Martinez.

Kenny Rogers (1994): 5.1 IP, 5 H, 5 R (4 ER), 3 BB, 2 K vs. the White Sox

Norberto Martin led off the game with a single and later scored on a Julio Franco flyout, and in the fourth, Fraco walked to set up a two-run blast off the bat of Robin Ventura. Darrin Jackson and Lance Johnson knocked Rogers out in the sixth with back-to-back RBI singles. He would make only one more start (another bad one) before the strike hit in August.

David Wells (1998): 7 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K vs. Boston

By the time Mo Vaughn and John Valentin homered in the fourth inning, Wells had a comfortable 8-0 cushion thanks to the Yankees' blasting of Derek Lowe and John Wasdin.

David Cone (1999): 4 IP, 6 H, 6 R (2 ER), 4 BB, 7 K vs. Cleveland

Following up a perfect game with the Indians' fearsome lineup of the late 90's was no easy task, and Cone quickly ran into trouble in the second, serving up a two-run homer to Russell Branyan. He was otherwise shaky, managing to navigate the third inning without allowing a run despite a walk, single and wild pitch. But things came crashing down in the fourth, as with two outs and Branyan on first Kenny Lofton singled, Omar Vizquel reached on a Chuck Knoblauch error and Robbie Alomar belted a grand slam.

Randy Johnson (2004): 7 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K vs. Florida

After retiring the first six batters he faced, Johnson gave up a run in the third when Luis Castillo singled home Abraham Nunez. But other than that and a sixth-inning homer to Jeff Conine, Johnson was fine.

Mark Buehrle (2009): 6.1 IP, 5 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 3 K vs. Minnesota

While the final line doesn't reflect it, no start following a perfect game has been as spectacular as Buehrle's on July 28, 2009. He retired the first 17 batters he faced, setting an MLB record in the process, before just barely missing low on a 3-2 offering to Alexi Casilla. Then Metrodome things started to happen, and before you knew it, Minnesota had a 2-0 lead that quickly ballooned to 5-0 in the seventh.

Dallas Braden (2010): 8 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 K vs. Los Angeles (AL)

Kendrys Morales hit an RBI single in the sixth and Hideki Matsui followed that with a three-run homer to put a damper on Braden's follow-up outing. His promising career has since been derailed by injuries, although at 28 there's still time for a comeback.

Roy Halladay (2010): 7 IP, 10 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K vs. San Diego

It's funny to say this wasn't one of Halladay's best starts of the season, because it was pretty good in a vacuum. But for Halladay, who went on to win the Cy Young in 2010, it ranked as his 20th-best start of the season as rated by game score.

Average performance: 6 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 4 K