On one of the craziest days in recent baseball memory, Ervin Santanareached the pinnacle of his pitching ability with a no-hitter.
July 27th will be remembered by some as the day Colby Rasmus, Edwin Jackson, and Carlos Beltran all got traded. But for fans of the Los Angeles Angels and baseball fans in general, Santana's no-hitter is by far the most memorable part of the day.
This is, astonishingly, the ninth no-hitter thrown by pitchers in the past two years. It is very tough to compare no-hitters, as the task is tough enough as is. But I'll take a stab at it.
From Francisco Liriano to Roy Halladay and beyond, these are the nine no-hitters of 2010 and 2011, in order of impressiveness.
June 2nd, 2010
Pitches: 88; 67 strikes, 21 balls
Line: 9 IP, 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 walks, 3 strikeouts
It was the perfecto that never was. On June 2nd of last year, young Armando Galarraga, then of the Tigers, threw a masterful game against the Cleveland Indians. He was perfectly economic in his pitching, throwing only 88 pitches the whole game.
Obviously, everyone will remember his sole blemish—an infield single that was mistakenly called safe rather than out. Regardless, Galarraga's game is worth noting.
May 3rd, 2011
Pitches: 123; 66 strikes, 57 balls
Line: 9 IP, 0 runs, 0 hits, 6 walks, 2 strikeouts
Though it was not particularly dominant, Francisco Liriano was still completely baffling on May 3rd of this year, mowing down the Chicago White Sox lineup for his first career no-hitter.
Despite allowing six walks and not blowing many hitters away, Liriano was painting the corners all night.
For a lefty who had been struggling to that point, it was a huge breath of fresh air for Liriano and Twins fans.
Date: June 25th, 2010
Pitches: 149; 79 strikes, 70 balls
Line: 9 IP, 0 Runs, 0 Hits, 8 Walks, 1 Hit batter, 6 Strikeouts
The Diamondbacks' Edwin Jackson threw one of the most bewildering no-hitters in baseball history. He threw an incredible 149 pitches, with just over half going for strikes.
He walked eight batters, hit one, and yet did not allow a hit. This was a more a testament to the futility of the Rays that day than Jackson's brilliance.
April 17th, 2010
Pitches: 128; 72 strikes, 56 balls
Line: 9 IP, 0 Runs, 0 hits, 6 walks, 7 Strikeouts
On April 17th of last year, Ubaldo Jimenez announced his presence as a dominant pitcher by shutting down the Atlanta Braves for his first career no-hitter.
Despite walking six batters, Jimenez was able to command his pitches well enough where there were very few hard-hit balls. It was the beginning of a very dominant first half for Ubaldo.
May 7th, 2011
Pitches: 108; 74 strikes, 34 balls
Line: 9 IP, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 walk, 4 stikeouts
Usually a strikeout fiend, Verlander threw his second career no-no while striking out only four Toronto Blue Jays.
Regardless, he was just plain dominant, showing why he is one of baseball's best pitchers. He had impeccable command the entire night, and only an eighth-inning walk to J.P. Arencebia prevented him from throwing a perfect game.
Still, it was a fantastic performance and, for Justin Verlander, just as sweet as his first.
July 26th, 2010
Pitches: 120; 80 strikes, 40 balls
Line: 9 IP, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts
Almost exactly one year ago, Matt Garza of the Tampa Bay Rays showed flashes of the brilliance many believe he is capable of by throwing a no-hitter against the Detroit Tigers.
Only a walk to Brennan Boesch prevented Garza from throwing a perfect game.
He faced the minimum 27 batters, and was dominant the entire game en route to throwing Tampa Bay's first no-hitter.
July 27th, 2011
Pitches: 105; 76 strikes, 29 balls
Line: 9 IP, 1 run (unearned), 0 hits, 1 walk, 10 strikeouts
Ervin Santana has always had no-hit stuff. The problem for him has always been consistency and having everything working on the same day. Today was that day.
In a masterful performance, Santana dominated the Cleveland Indians. He allowed one unearned run, walked one batter, but otherwise struck out ten and was just plain on fire.
It marks the best pitching performance of 2011 so far.
October 6th, 2010
Pitches: 104; 79 strikes, 25 balls
Line: 9 IP, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 walk, 8 strikeouts
For the second time in 2010, Roy Halladay did not allow a hit in a game. For the second time in baseball history, a no-hitter was thrown in the playoffs.
It was a magical night in Philadelphia, as Halladay's first playoff start turned into a complete show of dominance. The Cincinnati Reds were at Doc's mercy, as he mowed down the lineup.
Only a knubber off the bat of Brandon Phillips could have broken up the no-hitter, but Carlos Ruiz made a great play to throw him out and end the ballgame. Incredible.
May 9th, 2010
Pitches: 109; 77 strikes, 32 balls
Line: 9 IP, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 6 strikeouts
Nearly one full year after falling victim to a perfect game by Chicago's Mark Buehrle, the Tampa Bay Rays again were on the wrong end of baseball history.
One of the most unlikely perfect games ever thrown came at the hands of Dallas Braden, an unheralded lefty.
He shut down the Rays, striking out six and generally getting pitches to go wherever he wanted. It was a truly masterful performance, the first of two 2010 perfect games.
May 29th, 2010
Pitches: 115; 72 strikes, 43 balls
Line: 9 IP, 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 walks, 11 strikeouts
One of the greatest pitching performances in recent memory was this, Roy Halladay's incredible perfect game.
Coming just three weeks after Dallas Braden's perfecto, Halladay one-upped the Oakland lefty by striking out 11 Marlins.
He was his usual self—incredibly efficient and dominant. It was just part of an incredible 2010 that led Halladay to the NL Cy Young.