Philip Humber's perfect game ended with a controversial call, but close plays to preserve no-hitters are the norm, not the exception.
Since the start of the 2009 season, 12 nine-inning no-hitters have been pitched. Over the same span, 24 nine-inning one-hitters have been pitched. The former will be remembered. The latter will not, except by Anibal Sanchez, who threw three of them. (Don’t feel too bad for Anibal Sanchez, since he already had a no-hitter. Anibal Sanchez: pretty good at pitching.)
The difference between a no-hitter and a one-hitter is—wait for it—one hit. But it’s too simple to say that, really. A hit can be a long home run or a hard line drive that lands somewhere on the field. It can also be an infield dribbler, a well-placed pop-up, or a routine fly that would have been caught by literally anyone but Raul Ibanez. This is a hit:
On teaching patience, a nice old lady and a hilarious inning to a near-gem.
CHICAGO—One-four-four-five-four-one. No, that's not a Tommy Tutone update, it's the game-by-game run totals for the Cubs in their first six outings of the season. They broke out with eight runs off Milwaukee ace Zack Greinke on Thursday, but questions still abound about Chicago's offense.
Matt Garza has suffered from a high BABIP this season, but has it been his own doing, or a combination of bad luck and bad defense?
Matt Garza has the fifth-most strikeouts in baseball through three starts, with 25. Only Cliff Lee has more among pitchers with three or fewer starts. Armed with that information alone, it would seem that Garza’s introduction to the Windy City has gone smoothly. Reality is cruel, though: Garza has suffered two defeats, an earned run average of 6.27, and only one quality start despite averaging six-plus innings per outing.
The Cubs didn't necessarily need to empty their farm to acquire another starter.
When news broke last week that the Cubs had acquired Matt Garza from the Rays I sarcastically suggested that the NL Central was all but locked up. Garza is certainly a quality pitcher, but the deal in which he, Fernando Perez, and Zachary Rosscup were sent to the Cubs in exchange for Chris Archer, Brandon Guyer, Robinson Chirinos, Hak-Ju Lee, and Sum Fuld struck me as being one-sided, and not from a talent perspective. No, I considered the deal to favor one side based on the idea of a team recognizing its situation and acting accordingly. The Rays, looking to cut costs, capitalized on the thin nature of the free-agent market by surrendering a better pitcher than was available. Garza was not going to be a key component to their success, and the emergence of Jeremy Hellickson provided a surplus of starters. The Cubs, however, struggled with more than their rotation over the last few seasons yet felt compelled to trade four of their top prospects for a mid-rotation starter. Many have chimed in on which team “won” the deal, but what isn’t being discussed enough is the rationale of the Cubs in a transaction like this and whether their goals could have been achieved by other means.
Is it possible in today's prospect-stingy market that the Rays and Cubs pulled off a win/win deal?
To see the Cubs step into the shrinking market for starting pitching was a mild surprise, but not that much of one. Very early on this winter, Jim Hendry was fidgeting over getting pitching help. What we didn't know was that he would wind up landing one of the best starting pitchers in play this winter. Most of the early-Hot Stove speculation centered on Hendry magically making Kosuke Fukudome go away, say for Daisuke Matsuzaka, in the latest exchange of expensive regrets, exactly like the previous winter's banishment of Milton Bradley for Carlos Silva.