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The 2021 season has its third no-no.
Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher John Means threw a no-hitter versus the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday, striking out 12 batters in a brilliant display.
How close was he to a perfect game? Only Sam Haggerty reached base after a wild pitch on a third strike. He was erased when he was caught stealing second base.
It was Baltimore’s first no-hitter since Bob Milacki, Mike Flanagan, Mark Williamson and Gregg Olson combined for one in 1991. Before that, the legendary Jim Palmer pulled off the feat in 1969.
As Jayson Stark of The Athletic noted, Palmer faced 35 batters in his no-no because he gave up six walks and the defense committed two errors. Means’ afternoon went a bit smoother. He was untouchable.
And he made some history along the way:
If there were questions about whether Means could be Baltimore’s ace, well, he’s answered them. He is 4-0 with a 1.37 ERA, a minuscule 0.67 WHIP and 50 strikeouts in 46 innings across seven starts.
This no-hitter will be talked about for the controversy surrounding it as well, as some folks were more than a bit annoyed that a strikeout cost Means a perfect game:
It’s the latest no-hitter controversy after Arizona Diamondbacks starter Madison Bumgarner threw seven innings of hitless ball against the Atlanta Braves last Sunday. The game was just seven innings since it was part of a doubleheader, so MLB won’t count it as a no-no since it didn’t go nine innings.
Nobody’s taking Means’ no-hitter away. But it will be argued that his performance deserved better than the dropped third strike rule allows and that he should be immortalized among the 23 pitchers who have achieved perfection.
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