By Bill Arnold and Rick Wacha
Justin Verlander‘s no-hitter on Sept. 1 in Toronto was the third no-hitter to be thrown by the Houston Astros while being managed by AJ Hinch, who got the job in 2015. His first no-hitter as the skipper was Mike Fiers‘ effort against the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers on Aug. 21, 2015, and his second was a combined effort by starter Aaron Sanchez and three relievers Will Harris, Joe Biagini and Chris Devenski against the visiting Seattle Mariners on August 3. Hinch’s three no-hitters don’t come close to the record owned by Hall-of-Fame manager Walter Alston, who saw his pitchers throw seven during his 23 years (1954-76) at the helm of the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers. Verlander’s gem was the first thrown against Blue Jays’ manager Charlie Montoyo Hall-of-Famer Casey Stengel and current Chicago Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon share the unenviable record for being on the receiving end of the most no-hitters as a manager with six each. Connie Mack is the only skipper to have pitchers throw at least five no-hitters for him and endure five or more thrown against him. The lists below show the five managers who have had the most no-hitters thrown for them and most against them since 1900 (* – was the interim manager):
Most No-Hitters For:
Most No-Hitters Against:
|Fielder Jones||White Sox-Browns||5|
There are days most people don’t want to get out of bed. Umpire Joe West had one of those days while calling balls and strikes during the New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies game on Sept. 1. In the top of the eighth inning, with the Mets trailing 2-1, West got tangled up in a play at the plate when the Mets’ Rajai Davis broke for home on a Jeff McNeil grounder to first. Rhys Hoskins of the Phillies fielded the ball and threw home to catcher J.T. Realmuto, who caught the ball and tagged out the sliding Davis. But Davis’ slide took him straight into the West and the knocked the 66-year-old umpire’s legs out from under him. West tumbled onto Davis. Phillies’ pitcher Hector Neris helped the longest actively-tenured ump in the bigs to his feet as “Cowboy Joe” signaled that Davis was out.
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
Justin Verlander became the 12th-oldest pitcher to throw a no-hitter when he held the host Blue Jays hitless on Sept. 1. The Astros’ ace and Cy Young Award favorite was 36 years and 193 days of age when he completed his third career no-hitter and his first in eight years, three months and 26 days since he last threw one – coincidently in Toronto – on May 7, 2011 as a Detroit Tiger. The pitchers older were: Nolan Ryan “The Ryan Express” (1991, 44 years and 90 days of age), Nolan Ryan (1990, 43.131), Denton “Cy” Young (1908, 41.285), Randy “The Big Unit” Johnson (2004, 40.251), Warren “Hooks” Spahn (1961, 40.005), Sal “The Barber” Maglie (1956, 39.152), Warren Spahn (1960, 39.146), Dennis “El Presidente” Martinez (1991, 37.075), “Cy” Young (1904, 37.037), Bob “Smiley” Keegan (1957, 37.016) and David “Coney” Cone (1999, 36.197).
AROUND THE HORN
… Umpire Mike Estabrook has already ejected 11 players and managers this season, but the high watermark
… On Monday night – for the first time in major-league history – two teams combined to hit 11 doubles and 11 home runs in the same game; the matchup between the Rockies and the host Dodgers saw the teams become the first teams to record 11 extra-base hits each in a game since the Cubs and the host Cardinals did it on July 12, 1931.
… On Wednesday night against the visiting Phils, Reds pitcher and sometimes utility outfielder Michael Lorensen became the first pitcher to garner a win, hit a home run and then play the outfield since Babe Ruth accomplished the trick on June 13, 1921 against the visiting Tigers.
… Cubs’ shortstop Javier Baez has converted 91-of-126 double play opportunities, which are the most of any fielder or pivot man this season through Thursday according to Baseball Info Solutions.
… Through Thursday Giants’ second baseman and shortstop Donovan Solano had a road batting average of .408 (40-for-98), which is the eighth highest road batting average (minimum of 100 total plate appearances) since 1970; the only players with higher road averages were Johnny Grubb (1977 Indians, .450), Greg Gross (1979 Phillies, .435), Mickey Rivers (1973 Angels, .431), David Dellucci (1999 D’backs, .423), Craig Grebeck (1999, White Sox,.415), Chris Gomez (2006, Orioles,.410) and Aaron Ledesma (1997, Orioles, .409)
… Prior to this season David Fletcher had never played at any outfield position in the majors, minors, college or high school levels of ball; so far this season the Angels’ super utilityman has appeared defensively at second base, shortstop, third base, left field and right field and has batted in every slot in the team’s lineup except third.
… According to Ben Lindbergh of online sports magazine “The Ringer” just 200 knuckleballs have been thrown this season; due in part to the fact that only two pitchers (Ryan Feierabend of the Blue Jays and Steven Wright of the Red Sox) are practicing the art form of throwing the floating and unpredictable pitch this year.
… Before his recent Twins’ call-up, rookie right-handed pitcher Randy Dobnak supplemented his lowly minor-league income by driving for Uber where he earned a 4.9 out of five star rating.
… Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin of the Nationals have become the first trio of N.L. teammates, since the Astros’ Larry Dierker, Tom Griffin and Don Wilson, to each strike out at least 200 batters in 1969; Strasburg had 222 Ks while Scherzer had 207 and Corbin had 201 through Thursday.
… In the year of the home run the woeful Tigers are the only team in the bigs without a batter with 20 round-trippers; first baseman Brandon Dixon leads the team with 15.
… Scott Kingery of the Phillies is the 12th player since 1888 to record 45 or more extra-base hits while playing all three outfield positions, third base, shortstop and second base; further, at 25 years of age, Kingery is the youngest hitter to accomplish the trick since 24-year-old Thomas “Oyster” Burns, who played for the American Association’s Baltimore Orioles and Brooklyn Bridegrooms in 1888.
… On Aug. 28 – according to baseball name guru Diane Firstman the pitching matchup between the Braves’ Mike Foltynewicz and the Blue Jays’ Jacob Waguespack came within one letter of tying the record for the most unique letters in two starting pitchers’ surnames in a game with 17; Bob Tewksbury (Padres) and William VanLandingham (Giants) set the record with 18 unique surnamed letters set on June 30, 1996.
… The Rays called up long-time minor-leaguer Cole Sulser, 29, when rosters expanded on Sunday; the Dartmouth-educated pitcher (double-major in mechanical engineering and public policy) is the fifth Ivy League alumni to be on an active major-league roster – joining Matt Bowman (Princeton, Reds), Mike Ford (Princeton, Yankees), Kyle Hendricks (Dartmouth, Cubs) and Brent Suter (Harvard, Brewers).
… The Twins’ Max Kepler has 67 extra-base hits (31 doubles and 36 home runs) out of the 128 hits he has logged this season.
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