A Pitcher’s Dream or a Batter’s Nightmare?

The MLB season has been going on for about a month and a half as most teams are right around the 40 game mark. This season has been nothing short of spectacular so far with exciting players like Shohei Ohtani, Mike Trout, Fernando Tatis jr., Ronald Acuna, Juan Soto and many others. But one thing that separates this year from many others is not in the batters box. In an era of lots of home runs and exciting offensive explosions in games, this year is vastly different. Pitchers have been the star of the show.

Pitchers have been selling out ballparks since the beginning of baseball with some current stars on the mound such as Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, Gerrit Cole, Trevor Bauer, and Clayton Kershaw. But this year, there have been SIX no hitters. That stat is absolutely ridiculous since the record for the most no-hitters in one season in the modern era of baseball is 7 (1990, 1991, 2012). And we are only in MAY! So what in the world is going on?!

The following pitchers have all thrown a no hitter this year:

  • Joe Musgrove, San Diego Padres (April 9th vs Texas Rangers)

  • Carlos Rodon, Chicago White Sox (April 14th vs Cleveland Indians)

  • John Means, Baltimore Orioles (May 5th vs Seattle Mariners)

  • Wade Miley, Cincinnati Reds (May 8th vs Cleveland Indians)

  • Spencer Turnbull, Detroit Tigers (May 18th vs Seattle Mariners)

  • Corey Kluber (May 19th vs Texas Rangers)

Madison Bumgarner also had a no hitter but it technically doesn’t count because it was a 7 inning game, which I personally think is a dumb rule.

Now you might see a trend in the list above; the same few teams are getting no hitters against them. The Cleveland Indians, the Seattle Mariners, and the Texas Rangers have all had two no hitters thrown against them. Could this be just bad offensive performances? It is absolutely a part of it. The Seattle Mariners have a team batting average .199, the lowest in the league. The Cleveland Indians have a team batting average of .212 with the second lowest in the league, tied with the Milwaukee brewers. The Texas Rangers are a bit surprising however with a team batting average of .241, the 11th HIGHEST in the league, tied with the Phillies.

Obviously you still need a great arm on the bump to throw a no hitter so let’s take a look at some of the stats from these no-hitter-pitchers.

  • Joe Musgrove: (3-4), 2.86 ERA, 59 strikeouts, and 31 hits allowed in 44.0 innings pitched and 8 games.

  • Carlos Rodon: (5-1), 1.47 ERA, 49 Strikeout, and 20 hits allowed for in 6 games and 36.2 innings pitched.

  • John Means: (4-0), 1.21 ERA, 53 strikeouts, 27 hits allowed in 8 games and 52.0 innings pitched.

  • Wade Miley: (4-3), 3.69 ERA, 32 strikeouts, and 30 hits in 39.0 innings pitched and 7 games.

  • Spencer Turnbull: (3-2), 2.88 ERA, 31 strikeouts, and 25 hits allowed in 34.1 innings pitched and 6 games.

  • Corey Kluber: (3-2), 3.48 ERA, 41 strikeouts, and 39 hits in 41.1 innings pitched and 8 games.

Some of these numbers are absolutely incredible, especially the with some of the ERA’s down in the 1’s. Overall I think it is a combination of great pitching against some mediocre to terrible offense. Offensive numbers have definitely been down this year, though, as teams are averaging 7.83 hits per game which is the second-lowest in MLB history. Teams are also striking out an average of 8.97 times per game- which is one of the highest ever.

While nowadays it seems to be rare to see a pitcher pitch a complete game, this year seems to be different. These numbers could also raise some other questions; how many no-hitters will there be this year? Will a pitcher win an MVP this year? Will we see more years like this in the future? I can’t answer any of those questions right now but be sure to stay alert for that ESPN or CBS notification about another no-hitter.

All stats from https://www.baseball-reference.com

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