The Tampa Bay Rays are in the middle of a wild card race in the American League. The Rays entered Sunday's contest against the Baltimore Orioles just a half game up for the final wild card. Baltimore shockingly was the team on the Rays tail, making Sunday's game crucial. Well, apparently Rays pitcher Drew Rasmussen got the message.
He had the best performance of his young career. Rasmussen had a perfect game going into the 9th inning. Ultimately, Jorge Mateo broke up the perfect game bid with a leadoff double. Rasmussen would of course leave to a standing ovation. Despite not achieving the ultimate prize, Rasmussen still made history.
Drew Rasmussen is the first pitcher to be perfect through 7 innings while averaging 9.0 or fewer pitches per inning in the last 20 seasons (63 pitches through 7 perfect innings) pic.twitter.com/OR8gYq5VjN
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 14, 2022
According to ESPN Stats & Info, he became the first pitcher to be perfect through seven innings while averaging nine or fewer pitches per inning in the last 20 years. He only needed 63 pitches to get through the first seven frames.
With the victory, Drew Rasmussen improved to 7-4 on the season. But his record does not properly reflect how well he has pitched this year. The 27-year-old has a .280 ERA to go along with a 1.08 WHIP and 82 strikeouts in 99 2/3 innings this year.
The Rays for years now have been built around pitching and defense. That is no exception this year either. Shane McClanahan is having a breakout year and would be a Cy Young contender if Justin Verlander wasn't pitching out of his mind. Corey Kluber has had a resurgent year after a couple of injury plagued seasons. But's it's been Rasmussen that helps fill out the depth of the rotation.
As a side note, it's been 10 years since we saw a perfect game. Felix Hernandez was the last to accomplish the feat in 2012.