John Means took a perfect game into the 9th inning for the Boston Red Sox on Saturday against the Orioles. He lost it not because of a bad call by the umpire, but because of a bad play by the catcher. While umpire Jim Joyce’s ruling that Jason Michaels caught the ball on the infield fly rule may have been wrong, it was the catcher Martín Gómez’s poor positioning that prevented Means from getting the third out of the inning.
On Sunday, John Means of the Washington Wild Things pitched the first perfect game in the history of the Frontier League. That would have been great, except for the fact that the catcher’s passed ball on the first batter spoiled the rare feat. Thankfully, there is no bad-play-by-umpire rule, so Means is the owner of a perfect game. Frontier League president Joe Wendle, a former Wild Things pitcher, said of the call: “It was a bad call, not a bad rule.”
John Means of the Baltimore Orioles delivered a masterpiece in Wednesday’s game against the Seattle Mariners. Means pitched the least in the Orioles’ 6-0 win, allowing no hits, no runs and just one walk. It was the way the runner reached first base that caused the controversy over this old, familiar rule. Because of the proper application of this rule, many experts urge its repeal. It is rule 6.09(b) of Major League Baseball’s Official Rules. In general, rule 6.09 covers the ways in which a batsman becomes a runner, and 6.09(b) would be the answer in a standardized test if the question was which item on the list is not equal to others. But does the fact that it’s different make it a bad rule? Or is it a bad rule because – in this case – it negated a more acceptable outcome?
John Means eliminated Sam Haggerty and that was the end of it.
COMPARED TO: How Chris Gwynn and Billy Ripken lived in the shadow of their more atypical brothers On Wednesday, John Means was virtually untouchable. Of the 113 pitches, 79 were strikes. He threw the first strikeout on the first pitch of 26 of the 27 batters he saw, and that’s ridiculous. He finished with 12 strikeouts. This is the first non-ideal no-hitter in the history of Major League Baseball in which none of the opposing batters reached base via walk, hit or error. Instead, wild pitches prevented Minh from playing his first perfect MLB game in nearly nine years. This is where Rule 6.09(b) comes into play. According to official MLB rule, a batter becomes a runner if: (a) he hits a fair ball; (b) the third strike called by the umpire is not caught if (1) first base is not caught, or (2) first base is caught with two outs. When Means struck out Sam Haggerty with one out in the bottom of the third inning, the third batter broke free and slipped between the legs of catcher Pedro Severino. But here’s the thing: Watching the video of the performance, two things become clear:
- It was a messy business that Min had on Wednesday.
- Severino stepped out of the game when the throw broke instead of going through the knees to block it.
Blame the rules, but the inevitable end result is this: Means lost his perfect match due to Severino’s poor execution of ground strikes. Period.
Actually, Mina didn’t seem to care much.
John Means, Baltimore Orioles, Wednesday. | Steph Chambers/Getty Images OVER: Record for at-bats, which the Orioles’ Chris Davis has but will not have With his big performance Wednesday, Means broke the longest no-hitter streak in a franchise. The last time the Orioles held a no-hitter was on the 13th. August 1969, when Jim Palmer, renowned player, stopped the Oakland Athletics without a hit. In 1991, also against Oakland, the franchise recorded a collective no-hitter. This is the third no-hitter of the season. Joe Musgrove of the San Diego Padres scored in the ninth. April against the Texas Rangers, the first no-hitter in franchise history – since 1969 – and Carlos Rodon of the Chicago White Sox had 14 strikeouts. April the Cleveland Indians. After Wednesday’s game, Means told reporters he didn’t care if the game was perfect. It’s such a crazy feeling, Means said, according to the Associated Press. It’s such a whirlwind experience. I don’t think I’m ready to deal with that yet. But when you’re mentioned in the same breath as Palmer, I don’t think it gets any better.
Perfect or not, John Means dominated….again.
COMPARED TO: What happened to fan favorite Mickey Tettleton and his love of Froot Loops? MLB’s last perfect game also took place at Seattle’s T-Mobile Park, when the Mariners’ Felix Hernandez at the 15th. August 2012 against the Tampa Bay Rays played 27 up and 27 down. It was the 23rd perfect game in MLB history and the seventh this century. For John Means, it was the final – and best – effort of what has been a dominant season. In seven starts this season, Meane has a 1.37 ERA in 46 innings and allowed just 21 hits with a WHIP of .674. Means made 10 starts last season and recorded a 4.53 ERA and a .985 WHIP in 43.2 innings pitched. Home runs were a problem in 2020 – he threw 12 balls, an average of 2.5 per nine innings. He detonated five bombs in 2021. To put Mian’s current numbers in perspective: The lowest WHIP in a single season was .737 for Hall of Fame player Pedro Martinez in 2000. Means is allowing just 4.1 hits per nine innings. Trevor Bauer set an MLB record last season with a 5.1 ERA. The lowest season record ever was achieved by fellow Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan in 1972, when he allowed 5.3 hits inside the nine-hitter zone. statistics provided by Baseball Reference.