Ranking All No-Hitters and Perfect Games Thrown This Season
Another day, another no-hitter and perfect game.
Felix Hernandez became the sixth (or more appropriately, the 11th) pitcher to throw a no-hitter and the third to throw a perfect game this year. He also threw the 278th no-hitter and 23rd perfect game in Major League Baseball history.
Hernandez joins the likes of Phil Humber, Jered Weaver, Johan Santana, Kevin Millwood, Charlie Furbush, Stephen Pryor, Lucas Luetge, Brandon League, Tom Wilhelmson, and Matt Cain, as the latest members of this exclusive club.
The question arises? Who pitched the greatest no-hitter this year? The best perfect game?
This ranking will determine who pitched the best no-hitter and the best perfect game so far this year. Criteria for the no-hitter is number of pitches and baserunners, and perfect game is number of pitches, in particular, the least amount of balls, and most strikeouts.
Without further delay...
6. Johan Santana vs. St. Louis Cardinals
8,020 games after the New York Mets took the field for the first time, Johan Santana threw the first no-hitter in franchise history against the first team they ever faced.
Johan's was a workman's no-hitter, as he extended his pitch count beyond his previous maximum, and allowed five baserunners, not to mention a close call on a Carlos Beltran foul.
While not an outstanding no-hitter, it certainly was a memorable one.
5. Kevin Millwood and Others vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
It had been almost nine years since the last combined no-hitter, when Roy Oswalt, Pete Munro, Kirk Saarloos, Brad Lidge, Octavio Dotel and Billy Wagner all silenced the Yankees' bats. It's fitting that the next one was also an interleague game, and the winning team used six pitchers.
Millwood, the starter, only pitched two innings and left with a groin injury, leaving the bullpen to do the dirty work, much like the last combined no-no.
All in all, each pitcher combined to allow four baserunners, one better than Johan Santana's no-hitter.
Incidentally, this was the second of three no-hitters/perfect games thrown at Safeco Field.
4. Jered Weaver vs. Minnesota Twins
3. Phil Humber vs. Seattle Mariners (PG)
The first no-hit game of the year was a perfect game, although, like Johan's No-no, it nearly wasn't.
Brendan Ryan, who was the last batter, checked his swing. Although he struck out, the ball went in the dirt, giving him ample opportunity to get to first base. Ryan, however, did not run, and was shot down like a wounded pigeon,
Controversy aside, Humber's game was solid, especially with nine strikeouts. Not only that, it was the first no-hit game at Safeco this year.
2. Felix Hernandez vs. Tampa Bay Rays (PG)
It's good to be the King.
In the third no-hit game at Safeco Field this year, Hernandez struck out 12 Rays, all on off-speed pitches, many on counts with three balls.
Hernandez nearly didn't have a perfect game or a no-hitter when the first batter crushed a fly ball to right field, but like all no-hit games as of late, a fantastic catch saved the day.
If there were any doubt as to whether Felix was going to stay in Seattle, it's possible that doubt may have just gone.
1. Matt Cain vs. Houston Astros (PG)
In the game, Cain struck out 14 batters and gained position on a developing Cy Young race, this coming before his controversial appointment as starter of the All-Star game.
Nevertheless, if your pitching performance is comparable to one of baseball's greatest pitchers, then there is no doubt that it is bound to be the top performance of the year.