As the past few weeks have panned out in Major League Baseball with multi-HR games, a cycle, a perfect game, and a no-hitter, it got me thinking as to what people like to watch: Offensive Thrills? or Pitching Skills?
I looked up a few stats and made some comparisons based on rarity and difficulty.
No Hitter vs. Hitting for the Cycle
There have been 274 no-hitters in MLB history (including Perfect Games). Watching Jered Weaver go through the flimsy Minnesota Twins offense in just under 2.5 hours with 121 pitches was masterful to say the least. Obviously throwing a no-hitter is magical. The other team is forced to sit there and watch the pitcher mow down batter after batter with that big goose egg sitting on the scoreboard. Some days the pitcher just has “it” and there’s nothing you can do about it. Line drives are hit right at people and your deep fly balls always seem to run out of steam at the warning track.
On the flip side of the comparison, there have been 293 players to hit for the cycle, a mere 19 higher than the no-hitter total. People don’t seem to get quite as excited for this feat, yet it is almost just as rare as shutting down an entire team. Scott Hairston was the first to accomplish it this season on April 27. I might play devils advocate here, but I think that hitting for the cycle needs to be celebrated a lot more. Arguably the hardest part to get is the triple, and rightfully so, not many players have the speed to get that elusive extra base hit. There have been 147 triples hit this year by 108 players. That list is quite small and will continue to be small year after year. That means that while one of those players hits the elusive triple, they also have to compile the other three parts of the cycle. Not an easy feat and definitely shouldn’t be overlooked.
Perfect Game vs. 4-HR in One Game
Philip Humber took on another lowly offense against the Seattle Mariners and set down 27 straight in 2:17 only using 96 pitches. Not a single Mariner got to set their foot on that pearly white square down the first base line. They hardly deserved to after Humber made them look silly through 9 innings of incredible pitching prowess. Humber had great defense behind him and showed the rest of the MLB how it’s done and got his name onto the elusive list with 20 other Perfect Games.
Ryan Braun’s onslaught at Petco Park last week with 3 Homeruns in that park made this argument come about. His deep triple to the right field fence as his fourth hit almost put him in an elite club of people that have hit 4 home runs in one game. There have only been 15 batters to ever accomplish this feat, most recently being Carlos Delgado in 2003. To argue these two points is more of an opinion matter. I think seeing a pitcher calmly set down 27 in a row is peaceful, while having a batter mash balls 4 times over 350 feet is quite aggressive and violent, however both are quite incredible.
I’m curious to see what you think about these offensive/defensive comparisons. Fill out the poll, comment below, and let me know why on Twitter (@FalconKP)