May 27, 2019

Humble Phil, Powerful Paul

April 27, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

April 26, 2012

Philip Humber will always be associated with perfection.

He just won’t always pitch that way.

One start after throwing a perfect game against the Seattle Mariners, the White Sox right-hander plummeted back to reality Thursday night at Chicago’s U.S. Cellular Field, surrendering nine earned runs in a 10-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox.

Humber’s perfection not only didn’t spill over from his previous start it seemed all but forgotten as he walked the game’s first batter en route to a three-hit, two-run inning that put the South Siders in a deficit they would never crawl out of.  Humber’s nine runs allowed are the most of his career, going from the penthouse to the pig sty, and he also is now tagged with the ignominy of having given up the most runs ever by a pitcher following a perfect game.

Sigh.

Humber was able to go 27-up, 27-down against Seattle because he was lucky, because the Mariners can’t hit and because his slider was nastier than Newt Gingrich in need of an enema.  Against Boston on a 39-degree night the only luck Humber had was that it wasn’t snowing.  Actually, it might have been better with a little snow, right?  The Mariners are hitting just .240 as a team while Boston boasts a collective average of .293.  Against Seattle Humber’s slider was evasive.  The Red Sox hunted it down, slapped it around, took its lunch money and called it names.

Sigh.

The White Sox are now 9-9 in games in which their starting pitcher hasn’t been perfect.

Humber’s crash and burn reminds us that, what?  Baseball’s tough, the Red Sox can hit and it’s a very long season.

Lost in Humber’s perfect weekend and humble sequel is the fact that his teammate and, in a certain light a more rugged doppelganger, Paul Konerko, is hitting the ball like, well, one of the Red Sox.  Konerko was 2-for-4 on Thursday with an RBI and is hitting .365 which is fifth best in the American League, has four home runs the most recent of which on Wednesday was career number 400 (that’s more than Al Kaline, (HOF) Jim Rice, (HOF) Albert Belle, David Ortiz, Joe DiMaggio, (HOF) and Yogi Berra (HOF)), 14 RBI and has yet to make an error in the field.

No one expected Humber to toss two perfect games in a row (well maybe just a little) as no MLBer has ever thrown two, but if he’s merely respectable for the rest of 2012 the Sox will have a fighting chance especially if Konerko keeps hitting this way which is just slightly better than the way he has always hit.  Number 14 has a career average of .282, an OPS of .860 and, at age 36, has a reasonable chance of entering the 500-homer club sometime before the 2016 presidential race. (Hillary v. Sarah?)

Will Philip Humber still be pitching then?  Hopefully.  He’s humble, nice, smart and believes in his slider.  He’ll probably never know perfection again but appears to have all the tools to stick around.

It’s never a perfect ride but bumps build character.  Especially in April.

 

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