Giants starter Yusmeiro Petit just missed becoming the 24th pitcher in major league history to throw a perfect game last night, as Eric Chavez's two-out, two-strike looper to right field in the ninth inning dropped mere inches in front of a sprawling Hunter Pence. Instead, Petit joined a lonely hearts club of hurlers -- Yu Darvish, Armando Galarraga, Mike Mussina and Dave Stieb among them -- who lost their bid for perfection with two outs in the ninth frame.
Petit, 28, might have gone down as the most improbable pitcher to sit down 27 consecutive batters, aside from maybe Philip Humber. Once a Mets prospect who puzzled talent evaluators by dominating minor league hitters with dime-a-dozen stuff, the squat righty has been battered for a five-plus ERA in the majors while passing through Florida, Arizona, Seattle and now San Francisco. Any team could have grabbed him as recently as late July, when the Giants designated him for assignment to make room on the roster for Guillermo Moscoso.
How did Petit go from disposable to nearly immortal (for one night, anyway)? Here's a breakdown of his nearly perfect outing.
- Petit was content to paint the outside corner against the D-Backs, throwing 67 of his 95 total pitches (70.5 percent) away to Arizona's batters. He stretched the strike zone horizontally, getting hitters to chase 45 percent of his pitches thrown away outside of the strike zone. Overall, MLB hitters have chased about 24 percent of pitches thrown away this season.
Petit's pitch location vs. Arizona's lefty hitters, 9-6-13
Petit's pitch location vs. Arizona's righty hitters, 9-6-13
- He averaged a modest 88.5 MPH with his fastball, reaching 90 on the radar gun just seven times. Petit threw a nearly equal amount of "heaters" and off-speed stuff: 52% fastballs, 21% curveballs, 11 percent sliders, nine percent cutters, and seven percent changeups.
- Petit's curveball was his main strikeout pitch, as he got Aaron Hill, Martin Prado and Chris Owings to swing and miss at the sweeping, mid-to-high 70s offering. D-Backs hitters whiffed on eight of the 10 Petit curveballs that they swung at.
- Petit threw a first-pitch strike to 21 of the 28 batters that he faced (75%). He fell behind in the count in just five of those 28 plate appearances.