For the first time in franchise history, a San Diego Padres pitcher has thrown a no-hitter. Right-hander Joe Musgrove took down the Texas Rangers in a 3-0 victory to make history. It is the first career no-hitter for Musgrove and the first of the 2021 MLB season. Here's a look at Musgrove's reaction to the final out:
Musgrove struck out 10 Rangers batters and nearly 70 percent of his pitches went for strikes. Musgrove threw 112 pitches on the night, with 34 of them registering as sliders. He generated 15 swinging strikes, including eight on his slider. He also coerced three whiffs with his cutter and curveball. The only base runner Musgrove allowed came on a Joey Gallo hit-by-pitch in the fourth inning. Aside from the hit-by-pitch which he followed up by retiring the next 16 Rangers batters, Musgrove issued zero walks and his defense was error-less in the win.
Musgrove's effort is the 305th no-hitter in big-league history. There were two no-hitters during last year's 60-game MLB season: Lucas Giolito of the White Sox vs. Pirates and Alec Mills of the Cubs vs. Brewers. Mills threw the most recent no-hitter, last season on Sept. 13, 2020, and Victor Caratini, who caught for Musgrove Friday night, was also the catcher for Mills in his no-hitter.
"Vic was working back there," Musgrove said in his postgame interview. "He's done such a good job. I think we were just emptying the tank with sliders and curveballs [in the last three innings], but Vic just did an incredible job of knowing when they were swinging at first pitch. We were able to keep control of a lot of the counts and then throw some sinkers and cutters in on the guys' hands to get some quick outs and allow me to get this deep in the game.
Caratini is the first starting catcher in MLB history to catch consecutive no-hitters for different teams, according to Sarah Langs of MLB. There are 10 other instances of a starting catcher catching consecutive no-hitters in MLB, but all of those were for the same team.
Musgrove, 28, is a native of San Diego County and grew up a Padres fan. The Padres acquired Musgrove in a three-team trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates this offseason. Musgrove was 1-5 in eight starts with the Pirates last season despite a 3.86 ERA. He has a lifetime 30-38 record with a 4.28 ERA in 109 games (84 starts).
With Friday's brilliant outing, Musgrove now boasts 28 consecutive scoreless innings, dating back to last season with the Pirates. In his last four starts -- all at least six innings -- he's also recorded 39 strikeouts. In his Padres' debut at Petco Park, Musgrove allowed no runs on three hits and no walks with eight strikeouts over six innings.
Here are three things to know about Musgrove and his special night
1. Lots of firsts
Musgrove's no-hitter was not only the first ever in Padres franchise history, but it was also the first of the 2021 MLB season and the first no-hitter thrown at Globe Life Field. The Padres were the last remaining MLB club without a no-hitter. The Padres, in existence since 1969, had its closest chance back on July 18, 1972 when right-hander Steve Arlin came one out shy of making history. They went 8,206 regular season games (52 MLB seasons) before Musgrove broke through. Now, every active franchise in baseball now has a no-hitter.
As for the young 2021 MLB season, we're barely one week removed from Opening Day and Musgrove is already in dominant enough form to throw a no-hitter. The last time MLB fans saw a no-hitter this early in a 162-game season was two decades ago when Hideo Nomo threw a no-hitter on April 4, 2001 against the Orioles at Camden Yards. Nomo's no-no remains the earliest no-hitter by calendar date in Major League history.
Finally, Musgrove's no-hitter became the first to happen at the new Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. Sure, the Rangers likely would have preferred the history-making feat to be on their side of history, but alas. Globe Life Field -- which features a retractable roof -- opened in time for the 2020 season, and hosted the 's NLCS and World Series with a limited number of fans in attendance last season. At Friday night's historic game, there were 27,575 fans on hand to witness Globe Life's first no-hitter.
2. Homegrown guy gets it done
This is probably the best part about this no-hitter in particular. Musgrove grew up in San Diego rooting for the Padres. Now, he's the first and only Padres pitcher to throw a no-hitter. His high school (Grossmont High School in El Cajon, California) was roughly 15 miles away from Petco Park in downtown San Diego. Musgrove even wears No. 44 in homage to his favorite Padre growing up, right-hander Jake Peavy. It simply doesn't get more storybook than that. When asked if he had ever dreamed of becoming the first Padres pitcher to throw a no-hitter, here's what the right-hander said:
No, not me, man. Everyone dreams of getting the chance to throw a no-hitter. I've never even thrown a no-hitter in my life, so my first one came today on this field. It's awesome to have it be in a Padres uniform and for it to be the first one for the franchise. That's incredible.
It was not a straight route to becoming a member of his hometown team. Musgrove was drafted in the first round (46th pick) by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2011 MLB Draft before they traded him to the Astros at the 2012 trade deadline. He made his MLB debut with the Astros in 2016 before winning a World Series title with Houston in 2017. Then, the Astros sent Musgrove to the Pirates as part of the Gerrit Cole trade in January of 2018. Ten years after Musgrove was drafted, he finally went back home to pitch for the Padres.
3. Bodes well for the 1-2-3 of the rotation
The Padres made sure everyone knew they were serious about contending this offseason. It was a message made loud and clear, and one that's great for baseball. They went out and acquired Cy Young runner-up Yu Darvish, former Cy Young winner Blake Snell and of course, Musgrove in trades. Then they made sure Fernando Tatis Jr. isn't going anywhere with his mega contract. After their whirlwind of a winter, the Padres entered the 2021 MLB season with the third-best World Series odds.
Now that we've seen what Musgrove is able to do with his breaking stuff, albeit it's against a struggling Rangers lineup and very early on in the season, it's still a great sign for the Padres. The biggest thing that will help San Diego dethrone the Los Angeles Dodgers is going to be the trio of rotation acquisitions and their consistency on the mound. So far this season, both Snell and Darvish have looked solid. In the back half, Paddack struggled in his 2021 debut and Lamet is currently on the 10-day injured list. Here's a look at the Padres rotation as it's projected to be utilized for the rest of the season:
Sure, there are certainly concerns with the back half of the Padres rotation, but looking back to last year's NLDS between the Padres and eventual champion Dodgers, this new and improved 1-2-3 for San Diego could be a gamechanger.