Justin Verlander No-Hitter: Recapping the 8 No-Hitters Since 2010
Is perfection contagious? Maybe, maybe not. But since 2010, there have been more no-hitters and perfect games thrown in Major League Baseball than from 2007-2009 combined. And on Saturday, Tigers' ace Justin Verlander added to that number.
If perfection is not contagious, then this is all a coincidence. But when you take a close look at the time-line of the no-nos thrown in the last 12 months or so, there seems to be a common link between all of them.
Verlander's second no-hitter of his career comes five days after Francisco Liriano no-hit the Orioles. It's also almost exactly one year to the day of Dallas Braden's perfect game, last Mother's Day—which was about three weeks after Ubaldo Jimenez's no-hitter.
Exactly 20 days after Branden's perfecto, Roy Halladay joined the parade, tossing a perfect game of his own. Edwin Jackson and Matt Garza each pitched a no-hitter, almost exactly a month after each other.
Here is an in-depth recap of the eight no-hitters thrown since last season.
Ubaldo Jimenez: 4/17/10
Ubaldo Jimenez got his brilliant 2010 season off to a roaring start, when he tossed the first no-hitter in the Colorado Rockies' 18-year history. It was just his third start of the season, as the Rockies won the game 4-0.
That evening, he held the Atlanta Braves hitless through nine innings, while throwing 128 pitches, striking out seven and walking six.
Ubaldo's no-hitter was the first in the big leagues since Jonathan Sanchez and Mark Buehrle (perfect game) did the same in July 2009—13 days apart.
Miguel Olivo caught the no-hitter, the second time he has done that. He caught Anibal Sanchez's no-hitter in September 2006.
The no-hitter was almost exactly three years after Buehrle threw his first no-hitter on April 18, 2007.
Dallas Braden: 5/9/10
For Dallas Braden, Mother's Day is always an emotional day, after losing his mother to cancer as a teenager. But Mother's Day last year presented Braden with a different type of emotion.
That afternoon, Braden tossed the game's 19th perfect game, against the Tampa Bay Rays. It only took him 109 pitches to retire all 27 batters that came to the plate that day.
Braden's perfect game was the second in the history of the Oakland Athletics. The first came from Catfish Hunter, almost exactly 42 years to the day (May 8, 1968).
No one has ever thrown a perfect game against a team with a higher winning percentage (.773) than the Rays had that day.
As for the Rays, the became the first team since the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1988 and 1991 to be the losing team in back-to-back perfect games. The Rays were on the short end when Mark Buehrle threw the game's 18th perfect game, in 2009.
Roy Halladay: 5/29/10
Exactly 20 days after Braden's perfection, Phillies' ace Roy Halladay threw the game's 20th perfect game.
He retired all 27 Florida Marlins to face him, needing only 115 pitches. It was the first no-hitter of the two-time Cy Young award winner's career.
The two perfect games mark the first time since the 19th century that two perfect games were thrown in the same season, let alone the same month.
The masterpiece was Halladay's 54th career complete game, by far the most among active pitchers.
Halladay's incredible 2010 season wasn't done yet...stay tuned!
Edwin Jackson: 6/25/10
It took him an eye-popping 149 pitches, but Arizona's Edwin Jackson tossed 2010's fourth no-hitter, against (who else) the Tampa Bay Rays.
It was an excruciating feeling, watching, wondering if Diamondbacks' manager A.J. Hinch would let Jackson continue, despite throwing so many pitches. It wasn't the prettiest no-hitter, as he walked eight and struck out six.
But regardless, Jackson persevered, and threw the second no-hitter in D-Backs history (fun note: the first no-hitter in Diamondbacks history was Randy Johnson's perfect game against the Braves, which was on May 18, 2004. Ubaldo Jimenez no-hit the Braves on April 17, 2010).
Jackson's no-hitter came almost a month after Roy Halladay's perfect game. Both games ended with a 1-0 score. It's the first time since 1965 that back-to-back no-hitters had a 1-0 final score (the Chicago Cubs were the losing team in both 1965 no-nos).
The 149 pitches are the most ever in a nine-inning no-hitter. Additionally, that's the most pitches thrown by a pitcher in a nine-inning game since Livan Hernandez threw 150 in 2005.
For the Rays, they became the first team since the '01 Padres to be no-hit twice in the same season — a distinction Rays' fans are not fond of for sure. Jackson was later traded to the White Sox, becoming the first pitcher since 1951 to get traded in the same season in which he threw a no-hitter.
Matt Garza: 7/26/10
It was seeming like the Tampa Bay Rays had been infected by a curse of their own. While never throwing a no-hitter in their 13-year history, the Rays had been no-hit four times, including two perfect games.
But that all came to an on July 26, 2010, when Matt Garza spun the franchise's first no-hitter. He walked one batter, while throwing 120 pitches against the Detroit Tigers. The Rays won the game 5-0.
Interestingly enough, Garza's no-hitter came almost exactly a month after Edwin Jackson no-hit the Rays. And, for another common link, the Rays traded Jackson to the Tigers in 2009—I think there is some irony somewhere in there.
And, as a token of gratitude for his efforts, the Rays traded Garza to the Cubs during the off season. But, he will always carry with him the distinction of being the pitcher to end the Rays' "Curse of the No-Hitter".
Roy Halladay: 10/6/10
Apparently, Roy Halladay's perfect game in May wasn't enough. On October 6, he no-hit the Cincinnati Reds in Game 1 of the 2010 NLDS.
After almost 350 big league games, this was Halladay's first playoff appearance. While making the Reds look silly, he walked only one batter and struck out eight, throwing an efficient 104 pitches. The Phillies won the game 4-0.
Halladay became the fifth pitcher, and first since Nolan Ryan in 1973, to throw to no-hitters in the same season.
The no-hitter was the second in playoff history (the first of course being Don Larsen's historic 1956 perfect game).
Francisco Liriano: 5/3/11
It took a little longer than 2010, but the first no-hitter of 2011 was completed by Minnesota's Francisco Liriano. In a rather ugly no-hitter, the left-hander walked six while striking out only two as the Twins beat the Chicago White Sox 1-0.
The no-hitter was the first complete game of Liriano's career. And, as MLB.com reports, Liriano started the game with a 9.13 ERA—the second highest ever by a pitcher about to throw a no-hitter (minimum of three starts), according to Elias Sports Bureau. Additionally, the two strikeouts were the fewest in any no-hitter since 1980.
And as if it was scripted, the starting pitcher for the White Sox was none other than Edwin Jackson, who spun a similarly rough no-hitter himself a season ago.
Justin Verlander: 5/7/11
It took over a month for someone to throw the first no-hitter of 2011. It took only five days for someone to throw the second no-hitter of 2011.
Justin Verlander threw the second no-no of the season, and of his career. He lead the Tigers to a 9-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. Verlander, who was reportedly still hitting 100 MPH in the ninth inning, was perfect through seven innings.
But after issuing a one-out walk in the eighth, Verlander had to "settle" for a no-hitter. In all, he struck out four and walked just one, throwing 108 pitches.
Saturday's no-hitter, almost eerily, comes two days short of exactly one year since Dallas Braden's perfect game.
Verlander became the 28th pitcher to have at least two no-hitters in his career, joining Roy Halladay and Mark Buehrle as the only active pitchers to be in that club.
The nine runs the Tigers scored is the most since the Red Sox scored 10 to back Clay Buchholz's no-hitter in 2007.
Close but No Cigar
In between Liriano's and Verlander's respective no-hitters, there have been a few pitchers that have come awfully close to that achieving that sense of perfection.
On Saturday, as Verlander was twirling his second career no-no, Brewers' right-hander Yovani Gallardo no-hit the Cardinals through seven innings, allowing just a single hit to Daniel Descalso leading off the eighth.
Just a day earlier, Cardinals' young left-hander Jamie Garcia was perfect through 7 1/3 innings, before allowing a one-out walk to Casey McGehee in the eighth. His no-hit bid was immediately erased, as Yuniesky Betancourt took the very next pitch to left for the Brewers' first hit of the game.
Garcia was trying to become the first Cardinal pitcher to throw a perfect game (the last Cardinal no-hitter came from Bud Smith in 2001).
That same day, Braves' pitcher Derek Lowe had the Phillies hitless through six innings, in his bid for a second career no-hitter. But Lowe, who walked only won, was forced to leave the game in the seventh inning. He allowed two hits, both coming in that seventh frame.