Baseball history in 2021 comes in the form of a big, fat, zero.
That’s because, through this point in the MLB season, there have been eight no-hitters thrown, a modern record for no-hitters thrown in a season.
While plenty of teams and pitchers are happy to etch their names into history books, Cleveland, the Mariners and the Rangers sit dangerously close to the edge of unwanted recognition, with all three teams already no-hit twice in 2021. With close to two months of hardball left to be played, there’s a decent chance one of the two squads could set a record for no-hitters thrown against them in a season.
Everything you need to know about the “Year of the No-No” and more is right here:
How many no-hitters have been thrown in 2021?
So far in 2021, eight no-hitters have been thrown:
- The Padres’ Joe Musgrove kicked off no-no season on April 9 vs. the Rangers.
- White Sox starter Carlos Rodon downed division rival Cleveland on April 14.
- Baltimore hurler John Means no-hit the Mariners on May 5.
- Reds starter Wade Miley scribbled his name in the history books with the season’s second no-hitter vs. Cleveland on May 7.
- The Tigers’ Spencer Turnbull no-hit Seattle on May 18, the second time the Mariners have been no-hit this season.
- The Yankees’ Corey Kluber no-hit Texas the next night, May 19, the second time the Rangers have been no-hit this season.
- After a short respite, Cubs pitchers Zach Davies, Ryan Tepera, Andrew Chafin and Craig Kimbrel combined to throw a no-no, tying the MLB record.
- Diamondbacks rookie left-hander Tyler Gilbert set the mark Aug. 14 when he no-hit the Padres in his first MLB start.
The MLB record for no-hitters in a season (since 1900) was seven, which happened four times: 1990, 1991, 2012 and 2015.
To make this year’s no-hitters more impressive, Musgrove, Rodon and Kluber were each one batter away from perfect games. Musgrove and Rodon hit batters (Rodon in the ninth) and Kluber walked a batter.
There could be any number of reasons why there have been so many no-hitters this early in the season:
— Changes to the baseball was one of the hottest reasons early on, with pitchers (and MLB) acknowledging that certain changes affected the flight of the ball, leading to fewer home runs and a more level playing field for pitchers.
— Offensive ideologies that continue to value home-run-or-bust approaches at the plate and devalue contact, which, to be fair, are backed up by the stats. Still, batting average across MLB is exceptionally low, and that’s not a great sign for offenses moving forward.
— Pitchers were getting nastier and nastier, even if the eight no-nos thrown so far haven’t been by pitchers with the best “stuff.”
Most no-hitters in a single MLB season
We saw history during the 2021 season.
The modern record for no-hitters thrown in a season is now eight, the previous mark, seven no-nos, was set four times in MLB history: in 1990, 1991, 2012 and 2015.
Before the modern era (1900), there were eight no-hitters in the 1884 season.
Most no-hitters against a team in a season
Cleveland, the Mariners and the Rangers are on the precipice of very unfortunate history: All three teams have been no-hit twice in the 2021 season. They could set the record for most times no-hit in a season.
No team has ever been no-hit three times in a season, but the last two to be no-hit twice in a season ended up with some pretty good fortune: Both the Mets and Dodgers were no-hit twice in 2015, and both teams went on to win their division. The Mets would go on to win the National League championship before losing to the Royals in the World Series.
So, maybe it’s not all bad news for Cleveland and Seattle, though no one will mistake those teams for potential World Series contenders. Texas has been buried in the AL West basement for a long time.
When was the last perfect game in MLB?
While the aforementioned Musgrove, Rodon and Kluber came close to penning the 24th, 25th and 26th perfect games in MLB history, respectively, the baseball world will have to wait for the next.
Three of the seven no-hitters in 2012 were perfect games: White Sox right-hander Philip Humber, Giants right-hander Matt Cain and former Mariners great Felix Hernandez each threw perfectos that season.
The nine years between perfect games is the longest wait in MLB history since the gap between Catfish Hunter’s in 1968 and Len Barker’s in 1981.