No-hitters are grand achievements in baseball. It means a pitcher recorded 27 outs without any of them swinging the bat and knockin' the ball in a spot where the fielders couldn't corral it in time. But it's such a narrow result, by legendary standards. Theoretically, one could walk 50 batters, hit 10 more, give up 15 earned runs, and lose. Congratulations, though. It's a no-hitter!
Okay, Edwin Jackson's game wasn't that bad. Actually, it was quite impressive. It was a complete game shutout, but he walked eight batters, beaned another, and threw a wild pitch. Moreover, two runners stole bases. Third base was occupied multiple times. Get this: in the third inning, the bases were loaded with nobody out. Among statistical outliers, this was the J.D. Salinger of no-hitters.
Winning this game 1-0 was great for Jackson's psyche since it finally tucked his ERA neatly under the 5.00 mark. It was also a chance to stick it to his former team, the Tampa Bay Rays, who traded him after the 2008 season to the Detroit Tigers for Matt Joyce, a struggling outfielder whose first game of the 2010 season was ironically tonight (0-for-4, 6 LOB). When he moved to Arizona in the Curtis Granderson trade, he played the role of castoff All-Star who attained the lowest BB/9 of his career (2.9), which was more promising than eight in a game, which tied a career high he set in his fourth career game in 2003.
The most impressive, if not dangerous, feat of the outing was throwing 149 pitches, which was the most by a starter in five years. Not every pitcher's arm is created equal, but his most laborious game until Friday night was 2009 against the Rangers, when he chucked it 132 times over eight innings.
He's a fabulous pitcher and an easy guy to root for, but … dude, he walked eight guys. He even walked the potential final out of the game, which was anticlimactically hilarious. Thank goodness he was as accurate as a blind ivory poacher on that night, or else somebody might've accidentally swung and blooped a single.
And if none of this convinces you that it's probably the worst no-no you're going to see for a while, bear in mind that this is the third time the Rays have been no-hit since last season. Both other times were perfect games. So come on — EVERYBODY does this to Tampa Bay, and usually better. What an uncreative shutout.
Photo: Associated Press