Perhaps more than any other sport, baseball lends itself it statistical anomalies, quirky happenings and odd occurrences. And so when the 19th perfect game in the history of professional baseball is thrown -- just the 17th in the modern era -- you can be sure that there are enough fun facts and nonsensical numbers coming out of Oakland to make Tim Kurkjian's head explode. Let's get to it!
Neat stuff about Dallas Braden!
- Braden entered Sunday's game with a 3-2 record, having allowed 17 runs (all earned) in 37 innings pitched this season, with an ERA+ of 100. Perfectly average.
- Obviously Sunday was Braden's first perfect game in the bigs, but it was also his first ever career complete game.
- He needed just 109 pitched to record 27 outs (77 of the pitches were strikes). Compare that to his counterpart, the Rays' James Shields, who needed 108 pitches just to get through six innings of work. Elsewhere around MLB on Sunday: Roy Oswalt needed 117 pitches in eight innings of three-run ball; Ubaldo Jiménez struck out nine, but threw 104 pitches in seven innings; Livan Hernandez, always a workhorse, recorded 110 pitches before being lifted after seven innings.
- Last Mother's Day, Dallas Braden pitched against the Blue Jays. The most noteworthy part of that game was when Vernon Wells hit him with a line drive.
And now some fun factoids abut the perfect game itself!
- The Rays become the first team in MLB history to have a perfect game thrown against them after entering with the league's best record.
- The only other perfect game thrown by the A's was done so by Catfish Hunter, exactly 42 years and one day ago.
- There were only 6,298 people in attendance for Hunter's effort. Sadly, there were not many more in Oakland on Sunday either: just 12,228.
Noteworthy nuggets about the Rays!
- Braden's perfect game is the first in baseball since Mark Buehrle accomplished the rare feat just last year, on Jul. 23. His opponent that day? Yep, the Rays.
- Surprisingly, the Rays are the second team to find itself on the bad end of two consecutive perfect games. The Dodgers were on the losing side of Tom Browning's effort in 1988, and then were blanked in 1991 by Dennis Martinez.
- Gabe Kapler was the final out on Sunday, grounding out 6-3 to officially put the perfect game in the books. He also battled Braden in a 12-pitch at-bat before fouling out. You may remember Kapler from Buehrle's perfect game, too -- he was the one who had a home run taken away when the White Sox' Dewayne Wise made a highlight-catch in the 9th inning.
- From our Rays blog, DRaysBay: "Only the 1988 Los Angeles Dodgers have managed to win a World Series after being perfect-game'd the same season."
Lastly, Sunday was "209 Day" at Oakland Coliseum. The A's sold discounted tickets in section 209 -- 209 is the area code in Stockton, Calif., which is where Braden calls home. While the promotional effort didn't do much for overall attendance (see above), there were numerous fans who made the hour's drive from Stockton to the stadium.
Sometimes baseball is just perfect.