OAKLAND -- A definitive similarity exists between the perfect games thrown by Mark Buehrle against the Rays in 2009 and by Philip Humber this past Saturday in Seattle, according to White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper.
That similarity goes deeper than the obvious -- no baserunners allowed by either starting pitcher. It's about tempo and flow.
"There was a rhythm to those games," Cooper said before Wednesday's series finale in Oakland. "Buehrle works fast and throws strikes. Philip was working fast and throwing strikes. It was like the rhythm of the game, the flow of the game just kind of sweeps and usually that gives you a chance to have a pretty good game when you get that rhythm going.
"But in two cases we saw it create a perfect scenario. It flowed for a while. In Phil's game, he was getting them out with seven pitches, nine pitches, 11 pitches. We scored some runs and they kind of were getting us out fairly quick in a few of those innings. He was right back out, so the whole flow of that game and the rhythm was something that I made note of to myself."
Cooper threw a no-hitter for Ft. Lauderdale in 1978 as part of the Yankees' Minor League system, but never found perfection. Humber enters Thursday's start against the Red Sox with a stretch of 29 straight batters retired, leaving him 16 short of Buehrle's single-season Major League record. But going another game without allowing a baserunner is not exactly the expectation.
"If we are setting perfect games as the standard now, I think we might be waiting a while," Cooper said. "But listen, he's a quality pitcher and we need to look at him to be consistent throughout."