Three Perfect* Games
Even before Wednesday we had witnessed a remarkable thing: two perfect games in the course of a single season -- that last happened in 1880. But then Armando Galarraga seemingly had the third of the season. You know the story by now and much has been written about the game, the call, and how the parties have responded (I can add my voice to the chorus of voices praising how they have). In addition there has discussion about whether Selig should overturn Joyce's call and give Galarraga the perfect game, which he will not, with reasonable and considered opinions on both sides (studes and Dave Cameron for calling it a perfect game, MGL and Craig Calcaterra seeing that as setting a dangerous precedent). I will leave that discussion to them and at least consider it a perfect game for the sake of this pitchf/x tribute to the three games.
In each case I show the location of the pitches thrown in the game, separated by handedness of batter, color coded by pitch type, called strikes have a white '+', swinging strikes a black '+' and those put in play are encircled.
Braden throws five pitches and his best is a very slow (72mph) changeup
. Although he works relatively high in the zone he did a great job of keeping his change down-and-away to RHBs where it got a couple of swinging strikes, but also some contact. Contact on that nasty change so far away is going to be pretty weak, probably leading to easily field-able balls in play. To both LHBs and RHBs Braden was around the zone with all his pitches, resulting in no walks.
You can see how much lower in the zone Halladay works compared to Braden, one of the reasons he gets so many more ground balls. Halladay's change rather than being down-and-away is just down. Look at all those changes below the zone, four of them resulted in swingings strikes. Halladay pounded his sinker (two-seam fastball) down-and-in against RHBs. Against LHBs Halladay threw lots of cutters.
Galarraga, mostly a fastball/slider pitcher, did a great job of keeping his pitches down to RHBs, with his fastball inside and his slider down-and-away. That slider got a good number of swinging strikes on pitches way out of the zone. Against LHBs Galarraga keeps his pitches almost perfectly on the outer half of the plate, where LHBs are less dangerous. He only got one swinging strike against LHBs, but by keeping his pitches away all of the contact was harmless