Ranking the Best No-Hitters Since 2010

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistMay 8, 2021

Ranking the Best No-Hitters Since 2010

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    Clayton Kershaw tossed his first career no-hitter in 2014.
    Clayton Kershaw tossed his first career no-hitter in 2014.Chris Carlson/Associated Press

    After the 2000s featured just 15 no-hitters, the accomplishment has become a much larger part of Major League Baseball.

    Since the beginning of the 2010 campaign, MLB pitchers have spun 39 no-hittersplus five perfect games. In fact, every season since 2010 has included at least one no-hitter.

    And we're remembering the best of this special group.

    The ranking is subjective, but each pitcher highlighted threw nine innings and faced 27 or 28 batters. The number of strikeouts was also a factor to shape the order.

    One important note: Perfect games are not included in the list because they are a category of their own. The five pitchers with a perfect game since 2010 are Dallas Braden, Roy Halladay, Phillip Humber, Matt Cain and Felix Hernandez.

8. Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers (2011)

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    Justin Verlander, the AL Rookie of the Year in 2006, silenced the Milwaukee Brewers to record his first career no-hitter with the Detroit Tigers in June 2007. Four years later, he did it again.

    Verlander flirted with a perfect game, setting down the first 22 Toronto Blue Jays he faced. During the bottom of the eighth, J.P. Arencibia worked a 12-pitch at-bat and walked on a fastball that narrowly missed the outside edge of the plate.

    But the Jays would get nothing more.

    In fact, Edwin Encarnacion grounded into a double play to end the eighth. Verlander worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning and faced the minimum 27, striking out four batters along the way.

7. Matt Garza, Tampa Bay Rays (2010)

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    Through five innings of this July 2010 clash, neither the Tigers nor Tampa Bay Rays had combined for a single hit. Max Scherzer and Matt Garza both cruised into the sixth inning.

    Then, in epic fashion, the Rays took control.

    With two outs in the sixth, Matt Joyce launched a grand slam. Two walks and a catcher's interference had loaded the bases for Joyce, and it was all the support Garza needed.

    Garza had issued a walk in the second inning, so a perfect game was hardly a thought. Still, he induced a double play and retired each of the next 21 batters, striking out six and ending with a harmless fly ball to secure the first no-hitter in franchise history.

6. Lucas Giolito, Chicago White Sox (2020)

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    Playing in a fan-less stadium because of the coronavirus pandemic, Lucas Giolito had the quietest no-hitter in MLB history.

    Even without fans, though, the game had a dramatic close.

    Giolito walked Erik Gonzalez in the fourth inning, and he nearly broke up the no-hitter at the last moment. Gonzalez smashed a line drive to right field with two outs in the ninth inning.

    Fortunately for Giolito, though, Adam Engel made an excellent read and snared a running catch. The line drive had an expected batting average of .850, per Sam Dykstra of MiLB.com, but Engel instead sent the Chicago White Sox into a celebration.

    Giolito finished with 13 strikeouts and needed just 101 pitches to seal his place in baseball lore.

5. Edinson Volquez, Miami Marlins (2017)

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    Edinson Volquez walked two Arizona Diamondbacks but still managed to face the minimum 27 batters in his June 2017 no-hitter.

    After retiring 12 straight to begin the afternoon, Volquez issued a walk to Jake Lamb in the fifth inning. Two batters later, however, Brandon Drury grounded into a double play. Drury did the same in the eight inning after Chris Herrmann walked, too.

    It was an improbable feat for a struggling veteran.

    Volquez entered the matchup with a 1-7 record yet overwhelmed the D-Backs with 10 strikeouts, needing just 98 pitches. But in his 263rd career start, Volquez became immortal.

4. Justin Verlander, Houston Astros (2019)

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    Once is good. Twice is nice. Thrice is, well, spectacular.

    Verlander again overwhelmed the Blue Jays in September 2019 and earned his third career no-hitter. While he forced a bunch of soft contact in his 2011 no-no against Toronto, Verlander proved untouchable on this particular afternoon.

    With the only blemish a one-out, first-inning walk to Cavan Biggio, Verlander struck out at least one batter in every inning. He whiffed 14 Blue Jays and retired the last 26 of the game.

    Verlander joined Nolan Ryan, Sandy Koufax, Bob Feller, Larry Corcoran and Cy Young as the only pitchers with three career no-hitters.

3. John Means, Baltimore Orioles (2021)

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    Only a seldom-seen rule prevented John Means from throwing a perfect game for the Baltimore Orioles in May 2021.

    During the third inning, the southpaw struck out Sam Haggerty. However, the ball bounced away from Baltimore catcher Pedro Severino, allowing Haggerty to reach first base. Severino had his revenge and caught Haggerty stealing on the next pitch.

    In a funky way, the O's kept "27 up, 27 down" intact.

    Means cruised through the last six innings and ended with 12 strikeouts. Impressively, he tossed a first-pitch strike against 26 of the 27 batters he faced for the franchise's first no-hitter in 30 years.

2. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers (2014)

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    Easily one of the greatest pitchers of his generation, Clayton Kershaw joined the no-hitter club in June 2014.

    The longtime Los Angeles Dodgers star confounded the Colorado Rockies with six flawless innings before a throwing error from shortstop Hanley Ramirez dissolved the perfect game.

    After that error, Kershaw left little to chance.

    He struck out five of the last nine Colorado hitters, including Corey Dickersonwho had reached on the errorto end the game. Kershaw posted 15 strikeouts and soon collected both the NL Cy Young and MVP awards for his dominant 2014 season.

1. Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals (2015)

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    Exactly like Kershaw, Scherzer lost his perfect game because of a throwing error. Similar to the Rockies, however, the New York Mets otherwise had zero answers at the plate.

    Scherzer fanned 17 batters, which tied Nolan Ryan for the most strikeouts during a no-hitter in MLB history. Most notably, Scherzer struck out nine straight Mets until Curtis Granderson hit a routine pop-up for the final out of the game.

    While his total dominance is the reason for the No. 1 slot, context makes Scherzer's day more impressive.

    Scherzer had already thrown a no-hitter three months earlier, and only a controversial hit-by-pitch with two outs in the ninth inning prevented a perfect game. He became just the fifth player to throw multiple no-hitters in the same season.