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Blog Entry

No-hitter No. 5? For the Rays, it's No. 1

Posted on: July 27, 2010 12:05 am
 
The Rays knew about no-hitters.

They knew all about no-hitters. They knew far too much about no-hitters.

Two years in a row, they've had a perfect game thrown against them. Two times this season, they've watched another pitcher celebrate.

Yeah, they know there have been a lot of no-hitters this year. And they also know what made this latest one special.

Here's what makes it special: It was a Rays pitcher who threw it.

And that had never happened before.

That may not sound like such a big deal to fans of the Mets (7,743 games without a no-hitter) or the Padres (6,615 games without a no-hitter or a cycle). But it sure was a big deal to a franchise that had to endure watching all those no-hitters get thrown against them.

If there was a team that was due to be on the right side of a no-no, the Rays were that team.

And if there was a night it should have happened, Monday was that night.

Start with the pitcher who threw it. As Todd Kalas told Matt Garza in his postgame interview on Rays television, Garza is one of those pitchers that people always say "could throw a no-hitter."

His ERA going into Monday was an unimpressive 4.36, which left him 72nd among major-league starters. But Garza's stuff always ranked much, much higher than that.

On his best nights, yes, you'd call it no-hit stuff.

He already had a complete-game one-hitter on his record. He already had a Game 7 where he allowed just two hits in seven innings.

It didn't hurt that he got the Tigers at a time when Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Guillen and Brandon Inge are all missing from their lineup. They had one guy hitting .204, another guy hitting .206, another guy hitting .182 and another guy who still doesn't have a major-league hit.

It didn't hurt that home-plate umpire Ed Hickox was calling a fairly liberal strike zone.

And it obviously helped that Matt Joyce hit that sixth-inning grand slam, finally giving the Rays a hit of their own, and finally giving Garza the lead.

"Everything just was right tonight," Garza told Kalas after the game. "And it feels great."

And not just for him.

The Rays, remember, had been no-hit three times in less than a year. They've only been shut out four times this season, but somehow two of those four have been no-hitters.

Mark Buehrle threw a perfect game against them last year, and Dallas Braden did it this year. Then came the Jackson no-hitter, the one by the guy they traded away.

Perhaps it had to happen that way, because the Rays traded Jackson to the Tigers for Joyce, the guy who provided the big hit Monday. And if you want to take it a step further, you can point out that Joyce's home run was the first hit off Max Scherzer, a pitcher the Tigers got when they traded Jackson to the Diamondbacks last winter.

It will all go down in Rays history, and it will all be replayed for years to come. The image of Zobrist catching the final out will stick with them, because they'll see it, over and over.

For the rest of us, maybe this no-hitter blends in with all the others this year. Maybe it fades, behind Jackson's 149-pitch effort, behind Braden's perfect game, behind Armando Galarraga's should-have-been no-hitter, the 28-out perfect game.

That's five no-hitters already, and it should have been six. In the modern era, there have never been more than the seven that were thrown in both 1990 and 1991.

In the days that come, there's no doubt there will be more people asking why.

In the years that come, there's no doubt that the Rays and their fans won't be asking. For them, this isn't no-hitter No. 5 (or 6).

It's No. 1, and they won't forget it.

Category: MLB
Comments

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: February 20, 2012 11:20 am
 

No-hitter No. 5? For the Rays, it's No. 1




Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 14, 2012 10:50 pm
 

No-hitter No. 5? For the Rays, it's No. 1




Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 31, 2011 1:17 am
 

No-hitter No. 5? For the Rays, it's No. 1

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Since: Nov 19, 2011
Posted on: December 23, 2011 11:04 pm
 

No-hitter No. 5? For the Rays, it's No. 1

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 5, 2011 5:50 pm
 

No-hitter No. 5? For the Rays, it's No. 1




Since: Nov 19, 2011
Posted on: December 3, 2011 11:09 pm
 

No-hitter No. 5? For the Rays, it's No. 1




Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 3, 2011 6:05 pm
 

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Tomly
Since: Oct 21, 2011
Posted on: October 22, 2011 10:15 am
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Since: Oct 7, 2011
Posted on: October 12, 2011 11:12 pm
 

No-hitter No. 5? For the Rays, it's No. 1

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Since: Jan 11, 2008
Posted on: July 27, 2010 11:57 pm
 

No-hitter No. 5? For the Rays, it's No. 1

I don't mean to over-emphasize the luck part. A guy definitely has to bring a good game to get a no-hitter, but Jackson wasn't exactly hitting the bullseye to get his no-hitter this season. What did he have, 8 BBs and a hit batter? And Doc Ellis had like 6 or so BBs when he pitched his no-hitter while tripping on acid. Unless a pitcher gets 27 Ks, the ball gets put into play. They have stats for the percent of hits per balls in play. not sure what those stats are, but some days the BIP defy the odds and all go to the fielders, I'm sure the pitching has something to do with that, too, but there is some luck involved in the ball being a few inches this way vs. that way. And some no-hitters are saved by spectacular fielding plays that the pitcher has no control over.

Thanks for reminding me that Ryan started with the Mets. Varitek must feel pretty fortunate to have caught 4 of those. Is that the most for a catcher?


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