Sudden Wave of No-Hitters Could Result in Achievement Losing Some of Its Luster

by abournenesn

June 14, 2012

Sudden Wave of No-Hitters Could Result in Achievement Losing Some of Its LusterOver the last 12 days, there have been three no-hitters in Major League Baseball.

Johan Santana started the trend on June 1, blanking the Cardinals to achieve the first no-hitter in Mets' history. Exactly one week later, six Mariners pitchers combined to silence the Dodgers' bats and replicate Santana's feat.

Then, on Wednesday night, San Francisco's Matt Cain became the latest pitcher to etch his name in the history books, throwing a perfect game against the Astros while striking out a career-high 14 batters.

All in all, there have been five no-hitters in 2012 — White Sox pitcher Philip Humber and Angels ace Jered Weaver were the others — and that's just through a third of the season.

It begs the question: with the high frequency of no-hitters, is the achievement starting to lose a little luster? It seems to be headed in that direction based on the recent spike of no-hitters.

Before 2010, a no-hitter — and a perfect game, for that matter — was considered a sacred exploit. The image of former Yankees pitcher David Cone falling to his knees in 1999 after achieving perfection versus the Expos embodied the difficulty of the task.

From 2001 to 2009, there were a grand total of 15 no-hitters thrown, an average of 1.6 per season. But in the last 2 1/3 seasons alone, major league pitchers have already reached the no-hit plateau 12 times.

That's not counting Armando Galarraga's near-perfect game for the Tigers in 2010, which was ruined by umpire Jim Joyce's missed call. You might even be able to add Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey's outing on Wednesday to that list.

During the start, Dickey yielded a hit in the first inning, the only one in a complete game against the Rays. But it was debatable whether the hit should've actually been charged as an error to third baseman David Wright.

As a result of the close call, the Mets are appealing for the decision to be overturned and the game ruled a no-hitter. If MLB were to make the alteration, it would seemingly devalue the merits of a no-hitter.

While speaking to New York reporters, Dickey admitted as much, saying a no-hitter would feel "cheap" under those circumstances.

But no one could've expected this recent flurry of no-hitters, either.

For decades, no-hitters were heralded for being rare achievements. While they are still tough feats for any pitcher, no-hitters are gradually losing that "rare" element that historically warranted such mystique.

If pitchers sustain this current pace, the luster of no-hitters could be fading.

Have a question for Didier Morais? Send it to him via Twitter at @DidierMorais or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

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