Felix Hernandez's Perfect Game: Power Ranking 2012's Trio of Perfectos

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistAugust 16, 2012

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 15:  Starting pitcher Felix Hernandez #34 of the Seattle Mariners was dowsed with water after throwing a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Safeco Field on August 15, 2012 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

On Wednesday afternoon, Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez became the 23rd pitcher in Major League Baseball history to throw a perfect game. 

As impressive as Hernandez's accomplishment was, it is the third time in 2012 that we have witnessed a perfect game.

On April 21, the Mariners were on the other side of perfection when White Sox pitcher Philip Humber blanked them for nine innings. 

On June 13, Giants pitcher Matt Cain joined the Perfect Game Club with a 14-strikeout performance against Houston. 

So with perfect games becoming all the rage in baseball, we thought it would be fun to stack all three of these amazing performances against each other to determine which one was, in the words of Kate Upton, the most perfect game. 


No. 3: Philip Humber (Chicago White Sox vs. Seattle Mariners)

If you ever want to know how much randomness and luck is involved in throwing a no-hitter or perfect game, look no further than Philip Humber on April 21. 

Humber's career ERA is 4.66 and his 2012 ERA, even with the perfect game, is 5.90. That said, he put everything together for one day to achieve immortality. 

All told, Humber finished the day with nine strikeouts on just 96 pitches. It was clear he was pitching more to contact, because his stuff isn't that good, and was able to get through the game without allowing a hit or baserunner. 

Humber probably had the most nerve-wracking perfect game, as he struck out Brendan Ryan for the last out, but the ball got away from A.J. Pierzynski, who had to find the ball and throw to first base to finish it. 


No. 2: Matt Cain (San Francisco Giants vs. Houston Astros)

Despite the backlash from Giants fans, I have no problem saying that Hernandez's perfect game was slightly better than Cain's. 

That said, what Cain did against Houston was incredible. He struck out 14 and finished with a game score of 101, which is actually higher than Hernandez's 99. 

Keep in mind, this was before the Astros traded everyone on the roster to start their rebuilding process. Granted, the lineup they were running out beforehand wasn't exactly lighting up the scoreboards. 

I love what Cain did, but it was not the most perfect game thrown in 2012. 


No. 1: Felix Hernandez (Seattle Mariners vs. Tampa Bay Rays)

First, just looking at the stuff Hernandez had in his perfect game, it was unreal. We all knew he had great stuff, but the movement and command he had over everything on Wednesday was spectacular. 

The only reason Hernandez gets the nod over Cain is because of the competition he was facing. I know the Rays aren't a run-scoring juggernaut, but they do have a patient approach at the plate. They know how to work counts better than either the Astros or Mariners. 

That lack of aggression can actually help pitchers against the Rays, because they can get ahead and force hitters to swing at their pitch, which could help explain why the Rays always get no-hit. 

Hernandez also had the pressure of pitching in a 1-0 game. If he makes a mistake, not only does he lose perfection, but the Rays could have tied the game with one swing of the bat. 

All perfect games are great, but Hernandez's was the best of the three we have seen so far in 2012.