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Last year, for the first time in baseball history, three perfect games were thrown in a single season. Two perfectos have been thrown in a season twice -- 1880 & 2010 -- but never before had perfection been achieved on three separate occasions in one year.
The difference between a one-hitter (or one-walker) and immortality usually comes down to a dying quail, a missed spot, or a single wayward call, so a lot of the credit for the trio of perfection should be attributed to chance.
However, those three perfect games -- thrown by Felix Hernandez, Philip Humber (?), and Matt Cain -- bring the grand total to six in the last four years and seven in the last nine, which gives a strong indication that something a bit more tangible than chance is at play.
And the numbers seem to agree. The rate of no-hitters and perfect games over the last three years is at it's highest since '67-'69, when pitching was so dominant that the mound had to be lowered and the first talk of instituting a designated hitter formulated.
Some want to chalk this new rise in perfect game and no-hitter numbers to the league-wide increase in strikeout rates, others to improved defense. Whatever the cause, the fact is that they are becoming more and more frequent, and the trend doesn't appear to be reversing any time soon.
So, then. Who will be next?
- Angel Stadium is a pitcher's park, with a 0.837 park factor from '10-'12
- The Halos' outfield defense is arguably the best in the league.
- The infield defense is pretty good too.
- While fly-ball heavy, most of rotation doesn't walk many batters.