It’s admittedly arbitrary and therefore admittedly ridiculous, but in my mind, there are factors that make certain no hitters more legitimate than other no hitters. I’m not writing about a pitcher’s Game Score or one specific tangible thing. There are a list of questions that are a part of a mental check list that I go over internally whenever I hear of a no hitter in progress.

  • Is this an elite pitcher involved?
  • Has the pitcher been dominant?
  • Have there been a lot of swinging strikes?
  • How many strike outs?
  • How many “lucky” plays have saved the game?
  • What team did this occur against?
  • Who’s in the opposing lineup?

Last night, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim starter Jered Weaver struck out nine batters and walked only one en route to throwing a no hitter against the Minnesota Twins as part of his team’s 9-0 victory. The closest that the opposition came to collecting a hit all night was likely in the eighth inning when Minnesota shortstop Trevor Plouffe pulled a pitch down the left field line that hooked foul a few feet before reaching the wall.

The last out of the ninth inning came on Weaver’s 121st pitch of the evening when Alexi Casilla swatted a long fly ball to the warning track that was easily tracked down by right fielder Torii Hunter. Cue celebration.

This is how the pitcher’s velocity held up over the course of nine innings:

Weaver used his sinker slightly more than normal, but on the whole it was a typical performance from the 29 year old right hander, who also mixed in a four seam fastball to go along with a slider against right handed batters, as well as a change up and curve ball against left handed batters. He collected ten whiffs along the way, induced 13 fly outs to four ground outs (along with a line out, an infield fly out and a failed bunt attempt) and for all intents and purposes could be said to have had dominated the Twins lineup.

Which brings us to the only negative aspect of Weaver’s rather incredible performance: it came against the Minnesota Twins. To put this in perspective, on the previous evening, Jerome Williams pitched for the Angels against Minnesota and threw a complete game shutout. Williams hadn’t thrown a complete game since 2003. In fact, coming into Tuesday evening’s game, Williams had allowed ten runs in 16 innings over three starts.

However, I don’t think that’s all that much of a concern to Weaver or Angels fans.

One minor thing of note is that you might notice that despite only walking one, Weaver still faced 29 batters. The extra hitter came from a second inning incident in which Twins first baseman Chris Parmelee struck out on a passed ball by Angels catcher Chris Ianetta and managed to reach first base. Until Josh Willingham’s walk in the seventh inning, it was the only thing in the way of a perfect game.

And The Rest

Worst. Call. Ever. (Yesterday). [Getting Blanked]

It’s doubtful that Chipper Jones would have preferred another way of hitting his 500th professional home run, as his Atlanta Braves beat the Philadelphia Phillies in a wild 15-13, 11 inning walk off. [Capitol Avenue Club]

From the other perspective, the Phillies lost a ball game in which they score 12 or more runs for the first time since August 3rd, 1969. [Crashburn Alley]

Johnny Damon made his Cleveland Indians debut, but had to leave early due to “general cramping,” who is not, I repeat not, a war time hero. [Let's Go Tribe]

The Los Angeles Dodgers are reportedly in serious talk with Bobby Abreu. What’s one more replacement level player when you have 20 already on your roster? [True Blue L.A.]

Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Mat Gamel has been diagnosed with a torn ACL, which will most likely spell the end of his season. Doug Melvin, may I introduce you to Alex Anthopoulos and Adam Lind, or perhaps Brian Sabean and Brett Pill? [Brew Crew Ball]

With Kevin Youkilis hitting the Disabled List, Will Middlebrooks (and eventually Aaron Cook) have been called up by the Boston Red Sox. [Over The Monster]

The Red Sox are also trying out Mark Prior. [Fenway Nation]

Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland is pretty much the greatest ever. [Getting Blanked]

In addition to not liking baseball very much, Adam Dunn is like the rest of us in our tenuous grasp on the infield fly rule. [Baseball Prospectus]

Dee Gordon’s proof of concept, in which we see the Los Angeles Dodgers middle infielder carried around like a honeymoon bride. [Baseball Nation]

Following last night’s extra inning loss to the Miami Marlins, Grant Brisbee informs us that … “Pablo’s hurt. Old Zito’s back. Crawford can’t field or hit. Second base is a revolving door of nonsense. Belt’s head is filled with cotton candy shoved in his ears by a coaching staff that thinks they can hack their way out of a slump. Melky’s back to his 2010 self. The 22-year-old backup catcher who basically skipped AAA to hit cleanup (?) is somehow — wait for it … wait for it … — not ready to hit major-league pitching. It’s supposed to rain tomorrow. Out of bourbon. Hollywood doesn’t make ‘em like they used to. Still can’t believe that John Bonham died.” [McCovey Chronicles]

Finally, it’s the latest edition of The Getting Blanked Show, in which we actually take the Baltimore Orioles seriously. [Getting Blanked]

Comments (7)

  1. Re: Infield Fly Rule

    As noted in he link, the current rule is that when there are two possible force outs and fewer than two outs in an inning, a catchable infield pop-up in the infield is automatically ruled a catch.

    I’ve always thought that instead the rule should be that where a catchable infield fly is dropped, the play should automatically be declared an error with all runners entitled to advance one base…. Doesn’t that make more sense? Why should the defender be insulated from committing an error when there are runners on base and less than 2 outs?

    • I like that, except the infielder is insulated from an error when there is only one force — if he drops the ball, he can still get the force. The idea is that an infield fly (with a man on first) generates an out virtually 100% of the time. The rule is designed to take that fact into account, and not allow gaming of the system to get two outs.

    • Why should the batter who pops up be insulated by the infield fly rule?

      The infield fly rule is an artificial protection for the batter and so it seems reasonable to me that a fielder should also have some protection.

      • This is a very good point,

      • The fielder doesn’t need artificial protection. All he has to do is catch a catchable infield fly… Nevertheless, how about this as a better rule:

        When an infielder drops a catchable infield fly with runners on base, he may still record the out at first base (if he is able to retrieve the ball and trow it to first base in time to do so), but he may not record a force out at any other base (and the runners on base can safely advance one base).

        I think that this preserves the intent of the rule by not allowing a defender to game the system into getting more than one out and does not provide any artificial protection to the batter who can still be ruled out at first base if the defender can retrieve the dropped ball in time, while still allowing for the possibility of the batter safely reaching first base on an error.

  2. Your third link says the Phillies scored 12 or more runs but lost for the first time since 1969. What about game 4 of the ’93 Series? Or do stats like that only count for regular season games?

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