It's early in the season, so you probably can't make too much of early season stats. The Seattle Mariners entered Saturday with a team batting average of .235, an on-base percentage of .285, and a slugging percentage of .367. Then they recorded 27 straight outs.
But it's early. It's just April. Small sample size, right? I did some serious research, though, and I'm thinking this might not be a mirage. Turns out that the Mariners were pretty bad offensively last year too. And while Jesus Montero is a fine young player, he's unlikely to fix the offense by himself.
If the Mariners continue on their current pace, will they be the worst-hitting team to ever have a perfect game thrown against them? To the stat cave! Wait, my mom's using it to do laundry. To Baseball Reference!
Here's a list of the teams who were on the wrong side of perfect-game history, ranked in reverse order of OPS+. I used OPS+ because it accounts for a) the home park of the team, and b) what other teams are hitting around the league. A team with a 100 OPS+ is a league-average team:
|1981 Toronto Blue Jays||74||37-69||.349|
|1880 Buffalo Bison||80||24-58||.293|
|1964 New York Mets||84||53-109||.327|
|1965 Chicago Cubs||86||72-90||.444|
|1998 Minnesota Twins||86||70-92||.432|
|1908 Chicago White Sox||87||88-64||.579|
|1984 Texas Rangers||88||69-92||.429|
|1988 Los Angeles Dodgers||90||94-67||.580|
|1994 California Angels||90||47-68||.409|
|1968 Minnesota Twins||91||79-83||.488|
|1999 Montreal Expos||91||68-94||.420|
|2010 Florida Marlins||92||80-82||.494|
|1991 Los Angeles Dodgers||95||93-69||.574|
|1904 Philadelphia Athletics||96||81-70||.536|
|1956 Brooklyn Dodgers||96||93-61||.604|
|1880 Cleveland Blues||99||47-37||.560|
|2004 Atlanta Braves||99||96-66||.593|
|2010 Tampa Bay Rays||105||96-66||.593|
|2009 Tampa Bay Rays||106||84-78||.519|
|1922 Detroit Tigers||108||79-75||.513|
The 2011 Mariners, with a team OPS+ of 82, would have been the third-worst offensive team on this list. The 2012 Mariners had an 83 team OPS+ entering play Saturday, and that went down to 74 after Humber's perfect game. They could be one of the worst, certainly. If they did exactly what they've been doing this year -- complete with a perfect game against them every 16 games or so -- they'd be tied for first.
But they'd have a long, long season if they were to catch the 1981 Toronto Blue Jays, who flailed their way through a strike-shortened season. Alfredo Griffin hit .209/.243/.289; basketball player Danny Ainge got lost on the way to Boston Garden on 86 separate occasions and hit .187/.258/.228. Other than John Mayberry and Otto Velez, every player with more than 50 at-bats had an OPS+ below 80. Woof.
This isn't to take away from Philip Humber's accomplishment. There have been thousands and thousands of games in history featuring teams with wretched offenses, and almost every single one featured at least one runner. It's still a monumental feat.
But while the 2012 Mariners aren't good, they aren't likely to be the worst-hitting team in perfect-game history. It's still early, of course. They have something to shoot for!