Many people believe that because Yusmeiro Petit is not a well-known name at this point in his career, he will remain the troubled journeyman pitcher and fall dramatically from the grace of coming one-strike short of a perfect game.
His eventual MLB career outcome was compared to Houston Astros pitcher Phillip Humber, who threw a perfect game for the Chicago White Sox on April 21 of last year. It is true that many unknown pitchers who throw no-hitters rarely succeed beyond that single game. However, the San Francisco Giants know how to handle and coach their pitchers. Thus, I believe his success is here to stay.
He will have a fastened spot in the Giants’ rotation through the remainder of this season, barring injury. In those three or four potential starts, Petit will use those innings to prove that despite a long minor-league career, he has learned how to pitch to big-league hitters. He certainly showed that Friday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Though he was unable to complete a perfect game, he did accomplish a career-first: a one-hit, complete-game shutout. His fastball painted the inside and outside edges of the plate with remarkable consistency. That is the type of pitcher that sticks around the big leagues for a while.
Never did I think Petit would come so close to a perfect game, but the way he has been pitching this season, I wouldn’t have been surprised. In four previous start in 2013, he has allowed no more than two earned runs and lasted no less than five innings. Pitchers who can eat innings without allowing too many runs are exactly what Major League managers want.
The way he handled himself emotionally after Eric Chavez‘ full-count line drive fell in front of Hunter Pence in right field was also admirable of a Major League starter. He wasn’t too visibly upset, except for the split second when the ball hit grass. The next batter, A.J. Pollock, was sent down as easily as 26 of the previous 27 to step into the box.
The humility he showed after the final out was made makes it clear that Petit is a modest person. He will use this near feat to motivate him toward finishing this year strong and keeping his spot in the Giants rotation at the start of the 2014 season.