We’ve talked about baseball history before. The Giants are making more of it today.
As I write this, Yusmeiro Petit, today’s starting pitcher, has just set a new major league record, having retired forty-six consecutive batters.
We’re not talking about perfect games, or anything spectacular like that. Petit has spent time pitching in relief, so it took eight games for him to put together those forty-six outs. It’s a heck of string, though.
(Before anyone asks, no, I’m not at the game today. But Maggie is on a company outing to AT&T Park. If the Giants want to pay us to attend more games in the interest of encouraging historic events, well, we’re certainly open to the idea. Guys, there’s a contact link over to the right in the sidebar.)
The previous record was forty-five consecutive outs, so Petit didn’t beat it by much, but beat it he did. How likely is it that someone will break his record in turn? Think about it this way: forty-six consecutive outs is fifteen perfect innings plus an out: nearly one and three-quarters perfect games. The previous record holder (Mark Buehrle in 2009) did include a perfect game in his run. But remember that there have only been 23 perfect games in MLB’s history.
Buehrle held the record for five years. But the previous holder, Jim Barr, held it for twenty-seven years (1972-2009)–although Bobby Jenks did tie the record in 2007. Pitchers are currently dominant, but they’re not so dominant as to make perfection easy. Just ask the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner, who lost a perfect game in the eighth inning earlier this week. My reading of the tea leaves suggests that someone will break the record, but it won’t be any time soon.
An amusing side note to Petit’s record: Petit and Barr are in the record book as Giants. Buehrle and Jenks were with the White Sox when they had their record runs. Thus, history suggests that whoever breaks Petit’s record will have to be with one of those two teams. Bets on whether history will be that consistent?
Another amusing note: Petit’s string was broken by Jordan Lyles, the Colorado pitcher. For those of you who look on these baseball posts with resignation, pitchers are traditionally lousy hitters. Prior to his double, Lyles had a career batting average of .154 in 104 at bats. The double boosted his average to an astounding .162*. Watch out Ty Cobb! (For the record, he struck out his next time up.)
* Actually, that is pretty good for a pitcher. According to Matthew Kory, the cumulative batting average for all pitchers in the majors was .132 last year.
Hooray for baseball. Any given day could be historic. Today is. Enjoy, Yusmeiro, and thank you.