Matt Garza No-Hitter: Another No-No, Take a Number
Monday night the Tampa Bay Ray's Matt Garza no-hit the Detroit Tigers for the fifth no-no of the season, the sixth if you count the Umpire Jim Joyce's botched call during Armando Galarraga's perfect game. No hitters used to be a special moment in the MLB, so why all of the sudden has it become a mere once a month event? There are several potential reasons for the resurgence in pitching.
Reason #1: Steroids, or lack thereof
In order for pitchers to throw a no hitter against another team, they need to dominate batters for the whole game. That task is simplified if hitters are not hitting in the first place. Since the fallout from the steroid era numbers have been down across the league. Take, for instance, that in 2007 Alex Rodriguez had 54 home runs, and now, in the year after his confession to using performance enhancing drugs, only has 16. In today's game hitters with big years are suspected of juicing. They are subsequently put under a microscope, making it hard for players to cheat. The MLB's announcement that the minor leagues will be tested for performance enhancing drugs gives young pitchers an edge.
Reason #2: It is the Year of the Pitcher
Often times in sports patterns, streaks, and fads will factor into the game. Several years ago when the Wildcat formation was introduced into the NFL, it caught defenses by surprise, and teams such as the Miami Dolphins used it until teams found a solution. The same could be true for the MLB. Through the late 90s up until recently, hitters dominated, despite the fact that both pitchers and hitters juiced. So, it may be time for the pitchers to even out the game a little. It also must be considered that some rookie pitchers, such as Stephen Strasburg, enter the league with a fully developed repertoire and are more advanced then their counterparts.
Regardless of the reasons, congratulations to Matt Garza and the Rays, as it is still no easy feat to no hit a team. However, since the steroid era has "ended," A-Rod's pursuit of 600 home runs has not gotten as much attention as would have gotten 10 years ago, and players like Mark McGwire have been denied the Hall of Fame due to their drug use. It is now time for the MLB fan to decide whether they have witnessed amazing feats of dominance or just a bunch of roidless batters.
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