The first no-hitter of 2016 belongs to a guy who has been there before. Cubs ace Jake Arrieta blanked the Reds at the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati on Thursday for the second no-hitter of his career. The final score was 16-0 (box score).
Arrieta threw 119 pitches in the masterpiece. He struck out six and walked four. The Reds are in the middle of a massive rebuild, but they still have some quality hitters in their lineup, most notably the fearsome Joey Votto. There's no such thing as a pushover lineup in MLB.
This is Arrieta's second career no-hitter, and both have come in his past 11 regular-season starts. He tossed a no-no at Dodger Stadium on Aug. 30 of last season. Add in the postseason and Arrieta went only 14 starts between no-hitters.
Arrieta, 30, is now 4-0 with a 0.87 ERA on the season. He went 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA in 229 innings last season, which earned him the Cy Young Award.
With the victory, the Cubs are 12-4. They have baseball's best record after coming into 2016 looking like the most stacked team in the league.
Here are six things to know about Arrieta's historic night.
1. Arrieta's past 16 starts have been insane.
Last year Arrieta was historically great in the second half, which is why he won the NL Cy Young award. He's carried that performance over into 2016. Check out his last 16 starts:
Jake Arrieta's last 16 starts:— CBS Sports MLB (@CBSSportsMLB) April 22, 2016
15-0, 0.53 ERA
*these stats are stupid* pic.twitter.com/GhD7E9YqQI
That is insane. On a per-inning basis, I'm not sure there is a better pitcher in baseball right now. Arrieta is the man. He's the fourth reigning Cy Young winner to throw a no-hitter, by the way.
2. Very few have done what Arrieta has done.
Arrieta joined an exclusive club Thursday: He is only the 28th player to throw multiple no-hitters since 1913. Only five pitchers have more than two no-hitters in their careers:
- Nolan Ryan: 7
- Sandy Koufax: 4
- Larry Corcoran, Cy Young and Bob Feller: 3
Given the way he is throwing right now, I would not at all be surprised if Arrieta added another no-hitter at some point in the near future. He is untouchable. As good as it gets.
3. The longest streak since last being no-hit was snapped.
Before Thursday, the Reds had baseball's longest active streak of not being no-hit in the regular season. They were last no-hit by Rick Wise of the Phillies way back on June 23, 1971. That's a span of 7,109 games. 7,109 games!
There is a catch to this, however. The Reds were no-hit in the postseason just a few years ago. Roy Halladay, coincidentally also of the Phillies, no-hit Cincinnati in Game 1 of the 2010 NLDS. That was Doc's first career postseason start. The Reds can reset their counter now.
4. The Athletics are on the clock.
Now that the Reds' streak has been snapped, the A's currently own baseball's longest active streak of not being no-hit. They were last no-hit back in 1991 by Bob Milacki of the Orioles. That was 3,913 games ago. So A's, consider yourself on the clock.
5. This was the second most lopsided no-hitter in history.
The Cubs are a juggernaut right now. They are 12-4 with a plus-60 run differential that is nearly double the next best team (Cardinals at plus-31). The 16-0 final score makes this the second-most lopsided no-hitter in history. Here's the list:
- 18-0: Pud Galvin, Buffalo Bisons vs. Detroit Wolverines; August 4, 1884
- 16-0: Arrieta, Cubs vs. Reds; April 21, 2016
- 15-0: Frank Smith, White Sox vs. Tigers; September 6, 1905
- 13-0: Monte Pearson, Yankees vs. Indians; August 27, 1938
Needless to say, it has been a very long time since we've seen a no-hitter this one-sided. The 16-0 score is exactly double the previous most lopsided no-hitter in Cubs history:
Biggest blowout in a no-hitter by a Cubs pitcher was Milt Pappas (who passed away 2 days ago) on 9/2/72, winning 8-0— Dan Hirsch (@DanHirsch) April 22, 2016
The Cubs are so good it's unfair.
6. The Arrieta trade is going to go down as one of the biggest heists in history.
I present to you what has become one of the saddest tweets in baseball history:
The Orioles have acquired RHP Scott Feldman & CA Steve Clevenger from the Cubs in exchange for RHPs Jake Arrieta & Pedro Strop.— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) July 2, 2013
Woof. That one stings.
To be fair, if you give the Cubs a truth serum, I'm sure Theo Epstein & Co. will tell you they never expected Arrieta to become this good. They liked him as a bounceback candidate, but man, this level of performance is the best-case scenario of best-case scenarios.