Monday, January 23, 2012

More on Perfect FIP Games

David Wishinsky over at Athletics Nation proposed the idea of a 'defensive independent perfect game," a concept which he proposed would simply be a standard Complete Game with no walks or homeruns allowed. Tom Tango over at the Book blog then expounded on the idea, lobbying that the feat also require no hit batsmen and a FIP of 0.00 (requiring K*2/ IP  to be greater than 3.2).
In 9 innings of baseball that would require at least 15 strikeouts. Using the B-Ref play index, I found 12 performances that met this criteria:


This is good stuff here. Firstly, Eric Bedard is the only active player to achieve this rare feat as recently as 2007 and Van Mungo (Van Mungo?!) was the first to do it as early as 1935. Both Fergie Jenkins and Doc Gooden lost during such remarkable performances, and Gooden somehow did it in back to back starts!  Frank Tanana gave up a whopping 9 hits, and runs were surrendered in a third of these games. Roger Clemens achieved FIP perfection a ridiculous 3 times, one of which was his notorious 20K game.

Tango goes on to say in the comments that any performance prior to the 1993 season would only require a 2*K/IP above 3.0 which then extends the honor to an additional handful of performances:


[Terry Mullholland, it should be noted struck out 14 without a BB/HBP/HRthrough 9 innings in 1993, good for a K*2/IP of 3.11, but just a year shy of Tango's FIP constant cut-off.]

Koufax, as you may have noticed,  then becomes the only pitcher to have thrown both a traditional Perfect Game as well as a Defensively Independent Perfect Game in the same game.

Noticeably, the two other 20 K games in history are not on this list. Randy Johnson's game meets nearly every requirement except for the official 'CG'. He famously pitched 9 innings racking up 20 strikeouts before being pulled in extras in a one-one ballgame after 124 pitches. He therefore joins Vida Blue in the short list of FIP Perfect Games through at least nine official innings:


Kerry Wood's historic 20 K outing meanwhile was cut short of FIP perfection, if you'll remember, when he hit the oft-hit Craig Biggio, placing Kid K's in a short list of near-perfect FIP games:


Sam Mcdowell's 16-K, 3-hit game in May of 1968, incidentally, was cut short of FIP perfection by one lone hit-batsmen. It just so happened to be the first batter of the ballgame. From then on he was perfect.

But that doesn't come nearly as close to the sort of tragedy witnessed on the 7th day of September in 1998. Randy Johnson was well on his way to total FIP perfection, when suddenly and inexplicably in the top of the fifth inning, he offers an intentional walk to the opposing team, sacrificing his place in history for the good of the team. What feared slugger provoked this unspeakable travesty? Brook Fordyce, owner of a lifetime .697 OPS. Fordyce was walked to load the bases with 2 outs for the pitcher, Steve Parris.

It's this sort of profound human tragedy that just makes you want to scream, Van Mungo!!

Using Tango's alternative-FIP formula, which uses Batters Faced instead of IP, a total of 109 pitching games were considered FIP perfect. This includes 8 'traditional' Perfect Games, 3 Losses, 3 3-run games, and two 'no-hitters' with 28 BF. I've provided that list of games here:

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