Against Today's Offense, Nolan Ryan Could Have Recorded His Seven No-Hitters In One Season
Why would anyone be surprised that two no-hitters occurred within 48 hours of one another? The better question might be what took so long, considering the state of the current game of baseball.
On Wednesday May 5 Baltimore's John Means kept the Seattle Mariners from getting a hit, but his time on the spotlight was quite short-lived. The day after he was the lead story, Wade Miley of the Reds threw a no-hitter against the Indians.
Both feats would have served as a great tandem in baseball lore, bringing about words of celebration from the Commissioner's office. Instead of celebrating, Rob Manfred and his staff are panicking.
You see, those two closely-timed no-hitters were not an anomaly, for already this season there had been two others. San Diego's Joe Musgrove on April 9 had blanked the Texas Rangers, and five days later White Sox right hander Carlos Rondon did the same thing against the Cleveland Indians.
Four no-no's in the first month obviously have baseball on a record pace for 2021, and a dubious record it will likely be. The state of the game right now is much different than it was in previous seasons that saw a slate of no-hitters, especially 1990 and 2017.
The year 1990 witnessed seven no-hitters, yet there was no outcry about the lack of offense and possible changes to the sport. Two Hall of Fame fireballers achieved the feat almost within one week of each other, Randy Johnson of the Mariners on June 2 against the Tigers and Nolan Ryan of the Rangers against the Athletics on the eleventh.
In 2017 there were also seven no-hitters, each about a month apart. Max Scherzer of the nationals accounted for two of them, blanking the Pirates on June 20 and the Mets on October 3.
In between those two seasons baseball saw something similar to what happened last week, as three no-hitters took place in a two-week span in June of 2012. The trio comprised Johan Santana of Mets (June 1), Kevin Millwood and six relievers for Seattle (June 8), and Matt Cain of San Francisco (June 13).
Still, there is justifiable concern about the quartet one month into 2021, none of which was delivered by anyone close to the caliber of Scherzer, nor Santana or Cain for that matter. Mediocre pitchers have hurled no-hitters before, but in between them have been Hall of Fame caliber pitchers.
Expect more no-hitters in the coming days, whether they be delivered by virtually unknown arms or guys headed for Cooperstown. When batting averages are at an all-time low, no-hitters are bound to come at an all-time high.
Players are hitting just .234 overall this season, as they continue to either home run or strike out at record paces. Just over 8,000 hits have come from at-bats in a thousand games so far this season, translating to eight per game or four per team.
Of course the Indians would be no-hit twice, given that they have a team batting average of .208. They get one hit every five at bats, and the games are rare when each player gets past four.
Since teams overall are averaging a mere four hits per game, it seems remarkable that we have seen only four no-hitters so far. By the end of the season, no-hitters will be the headline only when there is an entire week without one.