So very, very close. For the second time in under two weeks a Toronto Blue Jay starting pitcher threw a complete game one-hitter, just narrowly missing out on joining Dave Stieb in the no-hit club. While Shaun Marcum didn’t dominate the way Brandon Morrow did last Sunday, he pitched a fantastic ballgame that was only marred by a Conor Jackson leadoff home run in the seventh inning.
I was sadly unable to watch the Morrow gem last week as I was driving back from Pittsburgh, meaning I didn’t see the way fans reacted on Twitter. But last night I caught the game start to finish (Sportnset One be damned!) and saw the way people reacted to each out. Most fans on Twitter stayed superstitious (as did I) refusing to talk about the no-hitter. Buck Martinez however decided to throw superstition in the toilet by referring constantly to the no-hit bid. Ultimately it didn’t matter.
The bottom line is that it was yet another complete game one-hitter by a Blue Jay. Maybe because so many Blue Jays are taking no-hitters deep into games this year, or maybe because Morrow’s game is so fresh in my mind, it seems like these one-hitters happen quite often in Toronto’s history.
With a little help (well, a lot of help actually) from retrosheet.org and baseball-reference.com I was able to put together a list of everytime a Jays pitcher has thrown a complete game one-hitter. The feat has happened on 16 occassions:
Here are some random thoughts on the above list:
– While a one-hitter has happened 16 times in Blue Jays history, only 12 can be seen as legitimate no-hit bids. Neither Lemanczyk in ’79, Key in ’86, Stieb in his first in ’88, nor Menhart in ’95, took no-hitters into the sixth inning – too early to get excited.
– A Blue Jays starter has had a no-no broken up in the ninth inning seven times. Those hurt.
– While you don’t have to be a big name pitcher to throw one (hello Dallas Braden) it helps. In my estimation 13 of the 16 one-hitters have been hurled by recognizable names (sorry Dave Lemanczyk, Phil Huffman, and Paul Menhart).
– I have never heard of Paul Menhart.
– Poor Dave Stieb. He is on this list five times, including a remarkable three times in four starts (his final two starts of 1988 and his second start of 1989). In fact, in a five-start stretch spread across two seasons (September 18, 24, and 30 of ’88 and April 5 and 10 of ’89) Stieb was unbelievable: 1 CG 4 H shutout, 3 CG 1 H shutouts, and one game with 8 IP, 4 H, 1 ER for a total of 44 IP, 11 H, 1 ER (0.20 ERA).
– In a weird coincidence Dave Lemanczyk, the first man to throw a CG one-hitter in Jays history, later became Dave Stieb’s agent.
– 15 of the 16 one-hitters have been thrown by right-handed pitchers. Only Jimmy Key in 1986 was a lefty.
– Just saying it ’cause it’s there: 11 of the 16 have come in the final two months of the season (six in August, five in September). Four occurred on a weekend (Friday/Saturday/Sunday) in September.
– Five teams have been victimized by the Jays twice, including AL East rivals New York and Baltimore.
– The one-hitters have been pretty equally spread between home and road: seven on the road, nine at home.
So basically, here is the best bet on the next time a Blue Jay will achieve a complete game one-hitter: a right-handed starter on a weekend series in September against the Yankees or Orioles. Circle September 3-5 (in NY) and 24-26 (at home vs. Baltimore) on your calendars.