The “Year of the Pitcher” continued Friday night as Arizona Diamondbacks’ pitcher Edwin Jackson threw the fourth no-hitter this year as he defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0 in front of 18,918 at Tropicana Field. Jackson struck out six and walked eight in the 149-pitch effort.
This wasn’t your traditional no-hitter as Jackson walked eight and reminded me of AJ Burnett’s no-hitter against the San Diego Padres back in 2001. Burnett walked nine that game and struck out seven. Very similar to Jackson’s Friday night.
What was so interesting about this no-hitter was that Jackson was almost pulled for being so bad early on. Jackson walked the first three batters in the bottom of the third, which brought his walk total to seven at the time. If Matt Joyce or BJ Upton get a hit in that situation, Jackson might have been pulled.
But Jackson got out of the bases loaded and no-out jam and really settled down from there. He only allowed one walk from the fourth inning on and once the Rays let Jackson off the hook, he found his groove.
Of course, the other story of this game was his pitch count; the Diamondbacks let Jackson throw 149 pitches. The most he had thrown all year was 123 and that was June 2 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
I didn’t have a problem with Jackson throwing 149 pitches. I have always believed there is no difference for a pitcher who throws between 120 pitches and 149 pitches. I have also always believed there is no correlation between pitch counts and injuries.
Guys get hurt because of poor mechanics, not because they threw 120 pitches every game. I am sure Chicago Cubs fans feel differently because of Mark Prior and Kerry Wood, but those two got hurt because they had poor mechanics and it had very little to do with Dusty Baker letting them throw 115 pitches a game.
Do I think allowing a pitcher to throw 149 pitches every game is a smart move? No, I don’t. But allowing a pitcher to throw 110-120 pitches a game won’t hurt a pitcher’s career.
The Diamondbacks will be cautious with Jackson and move his next start back a day or two. He was supposed to start Wednesday against the Dodgers, but will have his start moved back to Thursday or Friday.
For the Rays, this was the second time they have been no hit this season.
The last team to be no hit twice in one season were the aforementioned 2001 Padres, who were no-hit by Burnett and St. Louis Cardinals’ legend Bud Smith.
You have to kind of wonder how a team as good as the Rays gets no-hit so often. Then you look at the lineup they threw out there Friday and you can see why. Look at the averages of the players in the Rays’ lineup Friday night:
1. Jason Jaso: .275
2. Ben Zobrist: .297
3. Evan Longoria: .301
4. Carlos Pena: .199
5. Matt Joyce: .000
6. B.J. Upton: .227
7. Hank Blalock: .246
8. Sean Rodriguez: .255
9. Jason Bartlett: .225
Once you get past Longoria, that is a pretty feeble lineup. But still, a lineup that has scored the fourth-most runs in baseball shouldn’t get no hit three times in the past year and a half.
Jackson joins Ubaldo Jimenez, Dallas Braden, and Roy Halladay as pitchers who have thrown no-hitters and perfect games this season.
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