Obviously the answer to the question posed in the headline is None of Them. After all, perfect games are rare. There have only been 23 (official) perfect games in Major League Baseball's entire history. Many of the great pitchers never toss no hitters, let alone perfectos. So of course we wouldn't expect any Cub (or anyone else, for that matter) to come up perfect after 27 outs. But let's entertain the topic anyway, as an academic exercise.
Here are the ten most recent perfect games*.
|Kenny Rogers (TEX)||7/28/1994|
|David Wells (NYY)||5/17/1998|
|David Cone (NYY)||7/18/1999|
|Randy Johnson (ARI)||5/18/2004|
|Mark Buehrle (CHW)||7/23/2009|
|Dallas Braden (OAK)||5/9/2010|
|Roy Halladay (PHI)||5/29/2010|
|Philip Humber (CHW)||4/21/2012|
|Matt Cain (SF)||6/13/2012|
|Felix Hernandez (SEA)||8/15/2012|
* If you like, you can also include Armando Galarraga and his stolen perfect game from 2010.
In general, these are very good pitchers. Only Braden and Humber (and Galarraga) really seem out of place. But generally, while any fool seems capable of lucking into a no hitter, you usually have to be pretty elite to be perfect.
The Cubs do have some pretty good pitchers. Let's see how close they've come to perfection in the past.
Career OBP against: .323
Lowest OBP against: .288 (2014)
Shark has two starts that stand out. He threw a complete game shutout on 5/27/2013, giving up 2 H and 2 BB. He also had a start on 7/23/2012 where he was pulled after 8 IP, but only gave up 1 H and 1 BB. He's having his best season as we speak.
Career OBP against: .307
Lowest OBP against: .276 (2010)
Wood has actually come the closest to perfection of any of the Cub starters, with a 9 IP , 1 H, 0 BB performance on 7/10/2010 (which was not a complete game -- in fact, Wood has never thrown a complete game). He has twice given up as few as 3 baserunners, most recently on 4/4/2013.
Career OBP against: .339
Lowest OBP against: .298 (2012)
Jackson, of course, is the only one of the Cub starters that has thrown a no hitter, which he did in 2010. It was a sloppy no hitter though, as he walked 8. His fewest baserunners was actually 4/14/2012 when he gave up 2 H, 1 BB, and 1 HBP in a complete game (though not a shutout).
Career OBP against: .337
Lowest OBP against: .219 (2014)
Like Samardzija, Hammel is having the best season of his career (so far). The only game of his worth mentioning, however, happened on 6/16/2012, when he gave up 1 H and 2 BB.
Career OBP against: .340
Lowest OBP against: .326 (2013)
Like Wood, Arrieta has never been credited with a complete game, and in his case, that means he's never gone 9 innings. So choosing his nearest miss isn't simple. You can either elect the game when he gave up 2 H and 2 BB on 4/6/2012 in 7 IP or the game on 5/2/2012 when he gave up 5 H and 0 BB in 8 IP. Either way, Jake has been far from perfect.
It's tough, but if I had to put money on it, I'd go with Travis Wood. He's got the lowest career OBP against and he's already been really close one other time. Hammel is giving up the fewest baserunners this year, but Samardzija seems to be getting better with each start. I think Arrieta is the least likely of the five to pull off the feat, if only because Jackson has shown he can finish a game now and then. But if Jackson throws a perfect game, I don't envy the cleaning crew at Wrigley Field that will have to clean all the jaws off the floor.