When Cleveland Indians pitcher Justin Masterson struck out the Boston Red Sox’s side on nine pitches on Tuesday, it seemed like a rare and impressive feat.
Not in today’s league, apparently.
Los Angeles Angels hurler Garrett Richards did his best Masterson impersonation on Wednesday, mowing down three consecutive Houston Astros on nine straight strikes in the second inning.
The Astros couldn’t touch Richards all night, as the 26-year-old righthander allowed just four hits over eight innings while striking out nine in a 4-0 shutout.
Yet Richards’ perfect frame, which in the past would have put him in rare company, has become almost commonplace in Major League Baseball this season. According to the Baseball Almanac, there have been just 74 “immaculate innings” in the league’s entire history, which dates back to 1869.
Richards became the second pitcher to pull off the feat this week and the fourth major league pitcher to do so this season, joining Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels and Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Brad Boxberger.
There have never been more than four perfect innings in one season, but at this rate, we could potentially see that number doubled by September. Time to step up your game, batters.
Hat tip to Deadspin