SEATTLE, WA - MAY 5: Fans celebrate a strike out by Felix Hernandez #34 of the Seattle Mariners during a game against the Minnesota Twins at Safeco Field on May 5, 2012 in Seattle, Washington. Hernandez had nine outs in the game. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Last night, Felix Hernandez threw the third, THIRD perfect game of this season, and it's still August. Crazy stuff, here are some sabermetric links that revolve primarily around Felix:
Jeff Sullivan of Lookout Landing captured Felix's moment better than any other article I found: Felix Hernandez, Perfect Game Make Acquaintances - Lookout Landing
Felix Hernandez threw a perfect game. Felix Hernandez had already hit a grand slam off of one of the best starting pitchers in the world, but now Felix Hernandez had thrown a perfect game. At home, with the Mariners, in front of his Court, against a playoff contender. This start was every start in the making. It felt like it took forever to get here; Felix is 26 years old.
Bradley Woodrum of FanGraphs uses some pretty awesome graph to analyze John Jaso and Hernandez' plan to get the Rays out: Felix Hernandez, John Jaso Outwit the Rays | FanGraphs Baseball
That’s 5 swinging strikes through the first 61 pitches, and then 19 through the remaining 53 pitches. How did Felix do this? He and Jaso took advantage of an aggressive Rays plan by placing filthy breaking stuff further and further from the zone.
Steve Slowinski of DRaysBay wonders why perfect games continue to be thrown against the Rays: The Rays Tank: What's Up With All These Perfect Games? - DRaysBay
But even then, the Rays haven't been such an extreme low batting average and high strikeout rate team to make this sort of occurrence likely. Is there something else about them that makes them susceptible to no-hitters? Is there offense wildly more inconsistent than others? (It can feel like it at times, but my guess is that's just our emotion getting the best of us.)
The TruMedia guys look out how Felix was effective down in the zone with heat maps: King Felix Reaches New Heights by Staying Low - Baseball Analytics Blog - MLB Baseball Analytics
Of the 26 swings and misses King Felix had yesterday, 21 of them came on low pitches
Jay Jaffe of Sports Illustrated also analyzed Felix's dominance versus other perfectos: King Felix’s latest gem is a perfect game | Hit and Run
Among the no-hitters and perfect games this year, his (swing and miss) total far outstrips those of Johan Santana (18), Kevin Millwood and five Mariner relievers (16, seven by Millwood), Matt Cain (14), Philip Humber (14) and Jered Weaver (10).
Saber-Links will return tomorrow, you should stick around here though and read Adam Darowski's look into the talent level of each lineup to have a perfect game thrown against them.