Philip Humber has had an interesting baseball career that has been anything but perfect.
Humber was a top-five draft pick who was traded for a two-time Cy Young winner but ended up a bust turned journeyman minor leaguer. Humber, 29, managed to hang tough through it all and his perseverance paid off as he achieved perfection in his last outing.
Humber pitched baseball’s 21st perfect game for the Chicago White Sox in a 4-0 win over the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field Saturday. He struck out nine batters and didn’t even break the 100-pitch barrier. After putting his name in the history books, Humber admitted even he didn’t expect to ever accomplish such a feat.
“A couple of years ago I didn’t even know if I’d get a major league win.”
Humber has been extremely humble under the intense spotlight shined upon him. First he credited catcher A.J. Pierzynski, then his defense, then acknowledged that lady luck was on his side, downplaying the perfecto by saying “the balls were hit at people.”
Humber has had a wild past few days, as he threw the perfect game Saturday in Seattle, did David Letterman’s Top 10 via satellite from Oakland Monday and flew back to Chicago Tuesday to be with his wife, who is nine months pregnant with the couple’s first child.
The White Sox have lowered some of their ticket prices for tonight’s game to either $27 or $9 to commemorate Humber’s nine perfect innings and 27-consecutive outs recorded. He will surely receive a hero’s welcome in Chicago.
Known more as a hitter’s park, Humber has been successful pitching at U.S. Cellular Field, as he posted a 3.60 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and held batters to a .229 average in the South Side last season. Felix Doubront will take the hill for the opposing Boston Red Sox, who are coming off a three-game sweep at Minnesota in which they scored 24 runs against the Twins.
Doubront has not earned a decision, but Boston is 2-1 in games he has started. The lefty has a 3.94 ERA over 16 innings and is averaging over a strikeout per inning (20 Ks).
The White Sox lost in 14 innings to the Athletics in Oakland last night, as closer Hector Santiago blew his second save. The left-hander gave up three runs while recording just one out, watching his ERA balloon to 8.53.
The only pitcher in baseball history to throw back-to-back no hitters was Johnny Vander Meer, who accomplished the feat in 1938. Humber has no illusions of another no-no.
“It’s probably something you’re not going to come by more than once in a lifetime. Just trying to take it all in and appreciate it and share it with my teammates.”
It’s a light schedule today with just eight games, including only three games tonight.
Royals (Mendoza) at Indians (Tomlin), 12:05 p.m. ET
Giants (Vogelsong) at Reds (Bailey), 12:35
Mariners (Noesi) at Tigers (Porcello), 1:05
Angels (Williams) at Rays (Moore), 1:10
Marlins (Nolasco) at Mets (Niese), 1:10
Blue Jays (Hutchinson) at Orioles (Matusz) 7:05
Red Sox (Doubront) at White Sox (Humber), 8:10
Nationals (Jackson) at Padres (Volquez), 10:05
Pitching Primer, which previews the day’s pitching probables, is a regular feature on Rant Sports. It paint’s a picture of America’s Pastime’s potentially perfect matchups. If you’ve got a pedigree of predicting future aces, take pride in your penchant for pitching or have a poetic prose, please leave a comment. Pitching Primer is posted practically every morning by Tom Froemming, but he‘s no perfectionist. Plus, days off are primarily provided so the “p” on his keyboard can have a break.