Felix Hernandez Faces Perfect Game Hangover: Mariners vs. Indians

OddsShark.comFeatured ColumnistAugust 21, 2012

SEATTLE, WA - AUGUST 15:  Starting pitcher Felix Hernandez #34 of the Seattle Mariners pitches in the first inning of a 1-0 perfect game defeat of 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

Being perfect has its downfalls, especially in the outing following a perfect game.

Since 1999, eight pitchers have thrown perfect games, and seven of them got rocked in their next starts. Their team lost six of the eight, making tonight’s start by Felix Hernandez a point of significant betting interest in Las Vegas and around the world.

Hernandez hosts the Cleveland Indians, with the Tribe big +190 moneyline underdogs, according to odds aggregator OddsShark.com.

So is Perfect Game Hangover a solid handicapping angle? Early wagering had about 56 percent of the bets on the host Mariners, according to the OddsShark.com MLB Consensus data.

“The Perfect Game Hangover Theory isn’t just a fluky trend in my opinion,” Jack Randall said in an interview Tuesday. The handicapper at OddsShark.com explained that the energy spent in locking down a perfect game, then in celebrating it, literally burns out a pitcher.

In 2012, when we have seen more perfect games than we have in any other year, the angle is 1-1, even though both Philip Humber and Matt Cain struggled in their follow-up starts.

Humber tossed an out-of-the-blue perfect game on April 21, 2012, striking out nine in a 4-0 win over Seattle. He was rocked 10-3 in his next start, giving up nine earned runs against the Red Sox.

Cain was perfect on June 13, 2012 against the Houston Astros, and five days later, he gave up 10 base runners in just five innings. But the Giants prevailed 5-3 against the Angels.

History has been similarly unkind to "perfect people."

Back on July 18, 1999, David Cone threw his gem against the Montreal Expos. Six days later, however, he gave up 12 hits and six earned runs in a 6-4 loss at Detroit.

There were no perfectos for five years until Randy Johnson threw a 13-K masterpiece May 18, 2004 at the Atlanta Braves. Less than a week later, he was still dominant, but the Diamondbacks fell 1-0 to the New York Mets.

It took another five years for the next perfect game and Mark Buehrle beat Tampa Bay 5-0 on July 23, 2009. The lefty lost his next start 5-3 at Minnesota. In fact, the Sox lost his next four starts.

Two years ago, a pair of perfect games happened within three weeks.

On May 9, Dallas Braden won 4-0 at home on Mother’s Day, again against Tampa Bay. He was never the same, and Oakland lost his next eight starts in a row.

On May 29, Roy Halladay threw a 1-0 perfecto against the Marlins. Like Cain this year, he struggled mightily six days later, also allowing 10 base runners. But Philadelphia held on for a 3-2 victory over the Padres.

Seattle will face Fausto Carmona tonight. He comes off a long injury layoff and was rocked for eight earned runs in his season debut last week.