Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Year Of The No-No? The MLB Could Set A New No-Hitter Record This Season

This MLB season seems to be on course to make light of the record for the most no-hitters in a single campaign, with six thrown so far. It has been a great season for pitchers, who have been salivating at the opportunity to jot their names down in the record books but, on the other end, we also see a few teams that are close to getting their names in the books for shameful reasons.

The Cleveland Indians, Seattle Mariners, and Texans Rangers have all delivered two no-hit games this term. Given there are still four months to go, it’s very likely that one of them could end the season as the team with the unwanted record of most no-hitters thrown against them.

With a total of six such games have been seen this season, the no-hitter odds offered by some sportsbooks have become very attractive. Considered a bit of a sucker’s bet in the past, the trend has made it so that bettors could strike it big off a game in which zero strikes are hit. Of course, it has also cost them money but there are plenty of ways in which one can recoup lost funds as the season continues, so why not put that moneyline calculator to work?

The MLB’s record for no-hitters in a single season stands at seven, at least since 1900. It first happened in 1990 and was repeated in 1991, 2012, and 2015.

Joe Musgrove of the San Diego Padres threw his team’s first-ever no-hitter against the Rangers on April 9 and just five days later, the Chicago White Sox’s Carlos Rodón left Cleveland nursing their own. Baltimore’s John Means recorded a no-hitter against the Mariners on May 5, Wade Miley registered his against the Indians on May 7, and the Mariners got their second no-hitter courtesy of the Detroit Tigers’ Spencer Turnbull on May 18.

The Rangers suffered another no-hit contest via Corey Kluber of the New York Yankees.

Baseball fans have seen six-no-hitters in the space of just 42 days. Something similar happened way back in 1917 when five were thrown in just 23 days. A sixth no-hitter came around a month later to tie a record set in 1908.

What makes this season’s more impressive is the fact that Musgrove, Rodón and Kluber were one batter away from perfect outings. Musgrove and Rodón hit batters, while Kluber walked one.

As to why this season has thrown up as many no-hitters is left to debate, but it could be because pitchers are simply becoming more dangerous, although all of the no-hitters thrown so far have not come from pitchers considered to be among the league's elite.

There have been changes to the baseball itself. The league has admitted that certain alterations have affected the flight of the ball, which has, in turn, led to fewer home runs. Pitchers also agree.

Batting averages have been lower this season, making it all the more likely that no-hitters are thrown on a nightly basis.

"It's great for your team when a guy throws a no-no, it's great for that guy, it's a great accomplishment,” Yankees legend and current Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly was quoted as saying recently. "But, when there's so many, so early, strikeouts are at an all-time high, things like that. It tells you that there are some issues in the game that need to be addressed."

No MLB team has ever been no-hit three times in a season, but the Indians, Mariners and Rangers are all one no-hit away from having what would be a pretty poor record. The last two sides to collect double no-hits, the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers, went on to win their divisions in 2015. The Mets also won the National League before bowing out to the Kansas City Royals ahead of the World Series that year.

This sort of puts things in a better light for the aforementioned trio of teams but they certainly do not have the look of contenders where the World Series is concerned.

Out of the seven no-hitters from 2012, three of them were perfect games. Chicago right-hander Philip Humber, San Francisco Giants right-hander Matt Cain and Mariners icon Felix Hernandez all threw perfect games that season. Musgrove, Rodón, and Kluber came very close to the feat, which would have seen to the 24th, 25th, and 26th perfectos in MLB history. The current nine-year wait is the longest since Catfish Hunter’s perfect game in 1968 and the one thrown by Len Barker in 1981.

We’re very likely to see the record surpassed this year and we imagine a good few wagers are already in play in that regard. As to whether a no-hit game should be cause for excitement has been a subject of debate for several years. This season might just be the one to provide the answer. We already know Mattingly is not impressed.


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