Former Met Billy Wagner reflects on history, importance of the combined no-hitter

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Combined no-hitters don’t appear to get the exact same sort of affection that a person tossed by a single pitcher make. The outcome of each, obviously, is the exact same, however visually it feels more like household truckster versus Maserati, a minimum of in regards to prestige.

But the combination no-hitter still holds an awesome location in baseball tradition, going back to the very first one in 1917 – wait up until you hear the connected Babe Ruth angle! And the 5 Mets who teamed to toss one versus the Phillies Friday night will take pleasure in a life time of wonderful memories thanks to their effort, according to previous closer Billy Wagner, who understands plenty about it.

“Ten years from now, they’ll be getting phone calls to talk about it, just like I did,” states Wagner, who pitched in 2 combined no-hitters throughout his 16-year profession. “They’ll have a sense of brotherhood from it.”

In the opener of a three-game series at Citi Field, Tylor Megill, Drew Smith, Joely Rodríguez, Seth Lugo and Edwin Díaz tossed the 2nd no-hitter in Mets history in a 3-0 success over Philadelphia. It was the 17th combined no-hitter in history, out of the 315 no-hitters acknowledged by MLB.

Thanks to long time pitching use patterns where the starter was king and reducers were more mop-up than put-away, there are way more solo no-no’s than integrated. But, according to Wagner and John Thorn, MLB’s Official Historian, we might see more combination no-hitters in the future, thinking about how clubs count on matches, have actually cut the number of times they’ll let their beginners go through an opposing lineup and the pitch counts that tower above every starter’s workday.

In 2011, there were 173 total video games throughout MLB. In 2019, the last complete season untouched by the pandemic, there were simply 45. Ten of the 17 combination no-hitters have actually been available in MLB’s Wild Card Era (considering that 1995), consisting of 2 last season. The Rays almost achieved the task last weekend, too, however lost a quote in the 10th inning to Boston.

“Of course no-hitters with multiple pitchers represent the way forward, as complete games have neared the extinction point,” Thorn composes in an e-mail.

“I would be very surprised if there weren’t more in today’s game,” Wagner states. “When a single pitcher does it, it’s tremendous, something priceless. But nowadays, you don’t see very many starting pitchers go five or six innings. It’s just the way the game has changed.”

Still, anything’s possible – Of the record 9 no-hitters included 2021, 7 were by simply one pitcher.

Apr 29, 2022; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets catcher James McCann (33), relief pitcher Seth Lugo (67), relief pitcher Tylor Megill (38), relief pitcher Edwin Diaz (39), relief pitcher Joely Rodriguez (30), and relief pitcher Drew Smith (62) pose for a photo in front of the video board after a combined no-hitter against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field.

Apr 29, 2022; New York City, New York, U.S.A.; New York Mets catcher James McCann (33), relief pitcher Seth Lugo (67), relief pitcher Tylor Megill (38), relief pitcher Edwin Diaz (39), relief pitcher Joely Rodriguez (30), and relief pitcher Drew Smith (62) position for a picture in front of the video board after a combined no-hitter versus the Philadelphia Phillies at Citi Field.

In 1991, MLB altered the meaning of a no-hitter, decreeing that it needs to be 9 or more innings. That lopped some gems off the record rolls – no-no’s in reduced video games, for example, are no longer acknowledged.

So the very first acknowledged combined no-hitter can be found in vibrant style on June 23, 1917, thanks to an argumentative Ruth, then a star lefty with the Boston Red Sox, and a plate umpire called Brick Owens. Ruth, dealing with the Washington Senators, was infuriated by ball-and-strike calls after releasing a leadoff walk and in the taking place set-to, was ejected.

Reliever Ernie Shore can be found in, the runner in the beginning was thrown away taking and Shore retired every batter he dealt with, all 26, in a 4-0 success. Wagner laughed when the tale was stated to him. His introduction to combo no-hitters was intriguing, too.

He was on the losing side on July 12, 1997, when the Pirates beat the Astros, 1-0, in 10 innings. Pittsburgh’s Francisco Cordova tossed 9 hitless innings and Ricardo Rincon tossed one. Mark Smith of the Pirates struck a walk-off homer in the bottom of the 10th. Wagner was interested.

“That was really neat to watch,” he states. “You want to win and that’s what you’re playing for, but so many things have to go well to throw a no-hitter. When that happens, you have to recognize it.”

In the extremely next combined no-hitter – June 11, 2003 – Wagner was on the winning side, liquidating the Astros’ 8-0 success over the Yankees at Yankee Stadium, the last of 6 Houston pitchers. The initially 5 were Roy Oswalt, who left since of an injury, Peter Munro, Kirk Saarloos, Brad Lidge and Octavio Dotel.

It was Wagner’s very first look at Yankee Stadium and, unlike a few of the Mets pitchers on Friday, he understood what was percolating. When supervisor Jimy Williams called the bullpen to see if he wished to pitch in an uneven video game, “It was not even a question,” Wagner states.

“Oh, my gosh, who doesn’t want to be part of a no-hitter? I was probably more nervous for that than any game I was in to that point. It was a sense-of-pride thing for our pitchers.”

Wagner started out Jorge Posada and Bubba Trammell and retired Hideki Matsui on a grounder. It was the very first time the Yankees had actually been no-hit considering that Hoyt Wilhelm did it in 1958.

Now, Wagner calls the experience “surreal” and treasures mementos from that night: “I’ve got pictures and posters down in my little area that I keep memorabilia in, pictures of the six guys and things like that. Priceless memories.”

On June 8, 2012, the Mariners matched the Astros’ record for the majority of pitchers utilized in a no-hit video game, utilizing 6 in a 1-0 success over the Dodgers. The Mets are the only group in history (up until now, anyhow) to utilize precisely 5 pitchers in a no-hitter.

There are lots of other memories from integrated no-hitters. Two Angels pitchers, Taylor Cole and Félix Peña, integrated for one on July 12, 2019, the club’s very first house video game following the terrible death of colleague Tyler Skaggs.

In simply his 3rd profession start, Walker Buehler of the Dodgers began one in 2018, at the Estadio de Beisbol in Monterrey, Mexico. In 1990, Mike Witt, who had actually tossed a best video game 6 years previously, tossed the last 2 innings of a combined no-hitter in relief of Mark Langston, who was making his Angels’ launching. Last year, the Cubs did it versus a Dodger lineup that had 3 previous MVPs – Mookie Betts, Cody Bellinger and Albert Pujols – a very first for any no-no.

So there’s plenty to like about the combined no-no. Could it be the precursor of advantages for a season? Mets fans definitely hope so, however consider this: Of the previous 16 groups to toss a combined no-no, 5 made the playoffs. Three of those – the 1991 Braves, the 2018 Dodgers and 2019 Astros reached the World Series, however lost.

Whatever occurs, integrated no-hitters matter. Wagner might inform as he viewed Díaz complete the Phils.

“It was cool,” Wagner states. “For him to do that, do it for the Mets faithful, that’s tremendous. It’s great to see how they all stood up to the pressure.”

Here’s what Wagner would state to folks who state it’s not as huge an offer as a pitcher tossing a solo no-no:

“Well, I understand the point of view. I don’t think you could ever surpass that. But on the other hand, you’re bringing in a new pitcher in a new situation and every guy who comes in has to be on top of his game. So many things that have to go well to have it go through. What’s the chances of all those relievers not only holding a game, but giving up no hits?

“That’s a pretty neat feat.”

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