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Wednesday, May 24, 2023

What happened to the no-hitter? MLB still waiting for its first no-no in pitch-clock era

And Major League Baseball’s sweeping rule changes to stimulate offense – a pitch clock, a ban on defensive shifts, a few less inches from home to first – have had a modest but still profound effect.

Hits per game are up 2% from last year and 2.5% from 2021 and runs scored up 7%. Even the stingiest pitcher might agree that the changes – resulting in a faster, more active game – have been positive.

But so far in 2023, this hitter-friendlier game has helped wash away one of the game’s enduring gems:

The no-hitter.

It’s been almost exactly two years since then-Yankees right-hander Corey Kluber needed just 101 pitches to no-hit the Texas Rangers on May 19, 2021 – the second no-hitter in as many days and the seventh to date that season.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 24, 2023 at 09:14 AM | 15 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: pitch clock

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   1. Cooper Nielson Posted: May 24, 2023 at 10:08 AM (#6129889)
This whole premise is kinda dumb.

As of this date (May 24) last year, there had been two no-hitters.
In 2021, yeah, there had been six, as mentioned in the story. (The story said seven, but that included an 8-inning loss.)
2020 was the Covid season so there weren't even games through May. There was one no-hitter in August and one in September.
In 2019, there had been one.
In 2018, there had been three, but then none the rest of the year.
In 2017, there had been none; and there was only one all year.
In 2016, there was one in April, and that was the only one all year.
In 2015, there had been none, but there were SEVEN from June onward.
In 2014, there had been none; then there was one on May 25 and four more after that.
In 2013, there had been none; then three the rest of the year

So over the past decade leading up to this season, there were zero or one no-hitters through May 24 in 6 of 10 seasons (7 if you include 2020). There's nothing remarkable about this season.
   2. Cris E Posted: May 24, 2023 at 10:49 AM (#6129892)
The reason no hitters are cool is that they are rare. Racking up six or eight a year makes them pedestrian, like 5 hit games or 12 strikeout performances aren't but used to be.

Before WW2 they were very rare, but since then there are usually 3-4 a season in most years. In 1966-69, the height of pitching dominance, they had 1, 4, 5 and 6 no hitters. There are a few more games each day now, even so things have been a little high of late with seven in 2015 and nine in 2021, but there was only one each in 2016 and 2017. So there's not much pattern to baseline against.

And then there's this: "Nine one-hitters have been thrown this season, but just two reached the eighth inning hitless." The particular inning is a measure of excitement, not pitcher dominance. But nine in the first quarter of the season is a good sign that pitchers are still doing pretty well and we can look forward to another. As Cooper said, no story here, move along.
   3. cardsfanboy Posted: May 24, 2023 at 01:01 PM (#6129921)
If I had a guess(someone could always do the math) it feels like there is about an average 1 no hitter per 10 teams in baseball, but that is just an average some years you'll get more some not as many, according to a MLB articlethere have been 318 no-hitters in mlb history, but they go all the way back to 1876 on their counting, and that would include seasons of less than 154 games so not sure my wild guess at rate of no-hitter would apply there. 275 that occurred in the modern era. That comes out to 2.3 per year, so that one per 10 looks a little low, maybe closer to 1 per 12?
   4. cardsfanboy Posted: May 24, 2023 at 01:43 PM (#6129923)
Edit that comment out because my spreadsheet missed some lines.

(doing the rough math, since 1901 there have been 2614 seasons and 275 no hitters (according to wikipedia) which comes out to one per 9.5 team--no adjustments for shortened seasons in that math) So we should expect on an average year roughly 3+ no hitters.
   5. Tony S Posted: May 24, 2023 at 02:12 PM (#6129928)
Ah yes, the pitch-clock era. Both months of it.

It's also had a huge effect on unassisted triple plays.
   6. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 24, 2023 at 02:21 PM (#6129932)
Here's a related series of stats that may help explain why no-hitters may be vanishing. Managers simply don't let pitchers finish games, even when they're throwing blanks.

Shutouts / Team Shutouts:

1972 295 / 357
1982 161 / 238
1992 146 / 298
2002 87 / 275
2012 69 / 310
2022 16 / 341

Ironically, the ratio of no-hitters to complete games is likely at an all-time high, but of course that's entirely due to the shrinking denominator.

   7. Cris E Posted: May 24, 2023 at 02:57 PM (#6129937)
There were nine no hitters in 2021. I'm not sure vanishing is the right word.
   8. Howie Menckel Posted: May 24, 2023 at 03:52 PM (#6129944)
this is one of the dumbest "takes" I can ever remember.

now, if all of these rules had begun LAST YEAR, and were 1.3 years into the new era - well, it would still be dumb for the reasons stated above. but that would be more run-of-the-mill dumb.

but because the rules have just gone into effect - that's what elevates this dumb story into the pantheon of "one of the dumbest 'takes' I can ever remember.

I have actually looked up which university's reputation for teaching critical thinking has been damaged here - it's Cal State Fullerton.
   9. sunday silence (again) Posted: May 24, 2023 at 04:43 PM (#6129950)
its also kind of dodgy to say hits (or hits per game) are up 2% over last year. Batting average is up 0.5%. Comparing the increase in hits to hits themselves turns 0.5% into 2%. Clever and rather sneaky.
   10. Rally Posted: May 24, 2023 at 07:35 PM (#6129985)
Racking up six or eight a year makes them pedestrian

Especially when it takes 40 pitchers to complete 6-8 no-hitters.
   11. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 24, 2023 at 07:35 PM (#6129986)
There were nine no hitters in 2021. I'm not sure vanishing is the right word.

Maybe it isn't, but we're fast approaching the point where a starter will practically have to be pitching a no-no through 7 in order to be allowed even to finish the game.

If there were 9 no-hitters in 2021, that would've accounted for 18% of all complete games, and 31% of the shutouts. The trend lines seem pretty clear.
   12. Cooper Nielson Posted: May 24, 2023 at 09:01 PM (#6129998)
If there were 9 no-hitters in 2021, that would've accounted for 18% of all complete games, and 31% of the shutouts. The trend lines seem pretty clear.

This article, and most of us commenting here, are counting combined no-hitters as no-hitters.
   13. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: May 24, 2023 at 10:37 PM (#6130010)
Which is a completely ahistorical way of looking at no-hitters. How many individual no-hitters were there in 2021?
   14. Cooper Nielson Posted: May 24, 2023 at 10:45 PM (#6130012)
7 of the 9 in 2021 were individual ("real") no-hitters.

In 2022, only 1 of 4 no-hitters (including the one in the World Series) were by solo pitchers. In 2019, 2 of 4 no-hitters were combined.

I don't think the no-hitter is going away, but the future, sadly, seems like it will be more and more "all-staff" no-hitters.
   15. cardsfanboy Posted: May 24, 2023 at 11:42 PM (#6130020)
I do think that there is something wrong with classifying a team no hitter as a no-hitter, but an 8 inning complete game no hitter, is classified as not a real no-hitter. If you are going to accept team no-hitters, then games in which the pitcher lost but still had a no-hitter should qualify, or in those seasons where there were 7 inning double headers, those should also count.

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