Perfection itself is imperfection.
—Vladimir "Guerrero" Horowitz
After Randy Johnson throw a perfect game against the Braves last night right on the heels of an 18-strikeout drubbing at the throwing hand of Ben Sheets, the Braves batters finally scored four runs tonight in a 6-4 extra-inning loss to the D-Backs. The four runs were all in the eighth inning, after 18 straight scoreless innings.
It's little wonder given that the Braves lineup more closely resembles the 2003 Richmond Braves than the 2003 Atlanta Braves. Wilson Betemit, Nick Green, Jesse Gracia, Adam LaRoche, Dewayne Wise, and Johnny Estrada? The Jones boys are patrolling the outfield, but with Marcus Giles and Rafael Furcal injured, this team is paper thin.
Anyway, given that this offense was subjected to two very rare feats in two successive games, I wondered what the odds were that something like this would happen. Were the Braves just a victim of probability or did they have to work for those two drubbings?
There have been 20 pitchers who struck out at least 18 batters in a game (the list is here). Johnson threw the 17th perfect game in baseball history.
Going into this year there had been 363,334 games pitched (counting pitchers for each side separately). There have been 1138 games pitched this year. That's a grand total of 364,472. Ignoring the fact that the Braves have pitched some of those themselves, the odds that these two feats would follow each other are approximately 390,704,336 to one. ("Never tell me the odds."--Han Solo) That's pretty steep odds.
The Braves came to the plate 58 times in those two games (31 against sheets and 27 against Johnson), and they had 31 strikeouts, 3 hits (one of which was a double and one a home run), one walk, one sacrifice bunt, and one run. That translates into a .054 batting average, an .070 on-base percentage, a .125 slugging average, and a .195 OPS. In addition, their opponents had a 31-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Prior to the Sheets game they had been struck out 244 times and walks 120 (a 2.03 K:BB ratio) in 1196 at-bats (or 20.4% of their at-bats resulted in a K as opposed to 55.4% in the two "feat" games).