CHICAGO — The Red Sox will be facing Philip Humber tonight. In his last start, against Seattle on Saturday, the White Sox righthander threw a perfect game.
It was the 21st perfect game in major league history.
That got me thinking: What happens in the next game after you're perfect?
There have been 14 perfect games since Don Larsen in the 1956 World Series. Outside of California's Mike Witt, who had his on Sept. 30, 1984, every perfect game pitcher took the mound four or five days later.
They were 5-5 with a 4.31 ERA. None of the perfect gamers followed up their gem with a shutout. Only one went the distance, Len Barker in 1981. He went nine innings, gave up three runs and took a loss.
The best follow-up effort was by Tom Browning of the Reds. After a perfect game against the Dodgers on Sept. 16, 1988, he allowed one run over eight innings against the Giants in a 5-1 victory.
The worst follow-up was by Catfish Hunter in 1968. He was perfect against the Twins on May 8 and on May 14 gave up eight runs in six innings against those very same Twins.
David Wells had his follow-up against the Red Sox in 1998. He went seven innings and allowed three runs in a victory at Fenway Park. The perfect game ended in the first inning when Darren Bragg singled.
Wells beat a young Derek Lowe that day. Jason Varitek, in his rookie season, was 0 for 4. Lou Merloni was 0 for 3.
As for Mr. Humber, we shall see what transpires tonight. He faced the Red Sox twice last season and allowed eight runs on 15 hits in 12.1 innings.
The prediction here is Dustin Pedroia singles to center in the first inning.