After Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts made the controversial decision to pull veteran left-hander Clayton Kershaw from the game after seven perfect innings on just 80 pitches, it’s time to unpack a little history.
Only two pitchers have been pulled after tossing seven perfect innings since the 1901 season.
The last pitcher to have been pulled after such a feat was current Boston Red Sox pitcher Rich Hill back in 2016.
Back then, Hill was a member of the Dodgers, and the manager of that team was none other than Roberts himself, meaning that twice now, Roberts has been the only thing standing in between one of his pitchers and history.
Dave Roberts was the manager both times a pitcher has been pulled from a perfect game after 7+ innings 😯 pic.twitter.com/fYjtzndzCS
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) April 13, 2022
No Perfect Games To See Here
This certainly gives Roberts somewhat of a bad rap.
He’s a great manager, but his trust in analytics has gotten him into a little trouble with things such as this.
Both times Roberts has pulled pitchers after seven or more perfect innings, the perfect game bid has been lost by the Dodgers’ bullpen.
Of course, both times, his pitchers were at a point in their careers where injuries had taken their toll.
Roberts just wanted to play it safe, and you can’t blame him for that.
But at the same time, you can’t help but feel sorry for both Hill and Kershaw, especially after they were pulled when they were so close to finishing it off and earning a place in history.
By that argument, you could say Roberts has a history of robbing his pitchers of perfect games, games which are so rare as it is.
We’ll see how Roberts ends up handling the backlash from the Kershaw situation.
Kershaw doesn’t seem upset by it, but this is the second time Roberts has pulled his pitcher before he had a chance to finish off a perfect game.