Oliver Perez threw no pitches and had the least eventful relief appearance you'll ever see
Veteran lefty Oliver Perez had appeared in 564 games across 16 seasons prior to the Indians' 3-1 loss on Friday to the A's. However, none of Perez's hundreds of games had ever been like appearance No. 565.
In the bottom of the seventh, manager Terry Francona called upon the southpaw Perez to relieve Trevor Bauer and get the platoon advantage over the lefty hitter due up, Dustin Fowler. A's manager Bob Melvin countered by pinch-hitting Mark Canha, so Francona elected to intentionally walk the right-handed hitter. Lefty-swinging Matt Joyce was scheduled to bat next, but Melvin again took away Perez's edge with a pinch-hitter, this time with Chad Pinder, another righty.
Francona decided to bring in right-hander Zach McAllister to face Pinder, so Perez departed ... without throwing a single pitch. Everyone on the mound had to have a little laugh:
Just another day of hard work at the office, right Ollie?
It's not terribly strange for a reliever to have an outing with zero pitches: That has happened 12 times in the past decade alone. Usually it occurs because a baserunner is caught stealing or picked off. For example, that's how the Reds' Tony Cingrani did it on July 3, 2017:
What made Perez's appearance truly unusual is the new intentional walk rule, which was enacted in 2017. Before then, if a manager wanted a new pitcher to intentionally walk someone, the reliever would still be credited with the four pitches he had to throw to put the runner on. (Think Lance Lynn in Game 5 of the 2011 World Series.)
Those four pitches are now unnecessary. According to Baseball Reference, Perez became just the second pitcher since 1908 to have an outing of zero pitches and zero innings. The only other player with such a unique outing? Mike Stanton. (No, not pre-2012 Giancarlo.)
Stanton's appearance had a weird story of its own. He was with the Nationals on July 15, 2005, when his manager, Frank Robinson, brought him in to face Lyle Overbay of the Brewers with the bases loaded in the bottom of ninth.
Before Stanton could throw a pitch, he balked:
The game was over, and Stanton was in the history books for something he'd surely like to forget.
At least Perez endured a better fate in his outing.