As the resident White Sox fan, I feel like it’s my duty to chime in on the Mark Buehrle perfect game. Everyone saw the game or has now seen the highlights. The game itself was pretty average. Buehrle was never really in trouble of losing the perfect game, but it did take some luck. The four key moments to me in the game were the following:
1)Josh Fields hit a grand slam to give Buehrle a 4-0 lead in the 2nd inning. It is a lot easier to be relaxed when you have a big lead. I have never pitched on any level except little league and slow pitch softball, but I hear that a comfortable lead relieves a lot of pressure. Glad an OSU guy could be a part of it.
2)Coming back from being down in the count in the 6th inning. Clutch.
3)Pat Burrell’s line drive going foul. Luck.
4)The Catch. Torri Hunter makes a catch like that twice a week, but Dewayne Wise will be etched into highlight reels forever.
Only 18 times has someone thrown a perfect game including Buehrle (19 if you include Billy Chapel). Someone mentioned to me that it is mostly non hall of famers that throw no hitters. This is true. Only a few made it to the Hall. I am biased, but I am here to say that Buerhle will be added to the list of Hall of Famers with perfect games on their resume. He still has a ways to go, but he is on the right track. Everyone makes a big deal out of how a guy like Don Mattingly was drafted in the 19th round. Mark Buerhle was drafted in 1998 in the 38th round. He has what would appear to be a non hall of fame worthy era of 3.76. But, it’s not that bad when you consider guys like Josh Beckett sit at a 3.74. He also has 133 career wins. 200 to 250 wins is almost certainly going to happen but 300 wins is not out of the realm of possibility. If he pitches until he is 42 (a more and more common age these days) then he needs to average 14 wins per season. Since becoming a starter he has posted under 14 wins just twice. It’s still a long shot but a lot of pitchers get better after 30. He has a better chance then Beckett who sits at 100 wins at age 29.
A couple other points for this early in his career is Buehrle is a quality start machine. He has 288 out of 313 or 92%. I mean, 92% of the time he goes out there he gives you a good chance to win. His career winning percentage is .596. Throw in a .667 playoff winning percentage, a world series ring, and a couple no hitters and this could be the beginning of a great career.
But, he continues to be overlooked because he isn’t an overpowering pitcher or personality. The guy doesn’t even throw as hard as some of the kids on my high school team. And he is happily married with an infant daughter. But, maybe it will be the recipe for long term success. Guys like Greg Maddox who rely more on control than power can play a lot longer. Being the anti-mantle when it comes to his personal life won’t hurt his chances to play a long time either. So, here’s to one of baseballs good guys, Mark Buehrle, and his perfect game. - Brandon Lux