Ross knows Caratini's role in no-no very well

September 14th, 2020

After spending several minutes discussing Alec Mills' path to pitching a no-hitter against the Brewers on Sunday afternoon, Cubs manager David Ross took a moment to acknowledge the work done by his catcher.

"I'm very happy for Vic Caratini," Ross said after the historic 12-0 win at Miller Park. "I know what that feels like, so that's awesome."

In fact, Ross is now linked to the last two no-nos in Cubs history.

On April 21, 2016, Ross was behind the plate for the Cubs in Cincinnati, where Jake Arrieta threw the 15th no-hitter in franchise history. Ross stood up from the crouch, raised his hands in the air and then met Arrieta with a hug after Jason Heyward caught the final out in right field.

This time around, Ross got to watch from the top step at Miller Park as Caratini shared a similar moment with Mills after the 16th no-hitter in Cubs history. Both four years ago and Sunday, first baseman Anthony Rizzo was next to the mound for the celebration.

Ross became the 11th person in recorded MLB history to both catch and manage a no-hitter.

"When I was catching, I felt like I was along for the ride with Jake," Ross said. "He was kind of in control."

Ross said the absence of control is what hit him on Sunday.

"You're watching how he continues to execute pitches," Ross said of Mills. "You're thinking through so many different scenarios: If he gives up a hit or something kind of derails him a little bit. So you're trying to have precautions in the back of your mind, and not wanting to mess with anything."

"The difference is definitely there, because you're not in control of anything."

Instead, it was Caratini who was at the controls with Mills.

"We were on the same page all day," Mills said. "I think I may have shook once -- maybe. I don't even remember. But, yeah, same page all day. It's been that way all year."

Mills pointed to the fact that his legs felt tired early in the game and his four-seam command was not as sharp as usual. After a conversation with Caratini, they opted to focus more on the curveball, which turned into an effective weapon to keep Milwaukee's hitters guessing.

Between the eighth and ninth innings, Mills was also dealing with heightened nerves. He tried to gather himself on the bench, and even ducked into the clubhouse for a moment in an effort to calm himself.

"I can promise you, it was not a slow heartbeat," Mills said.

Caratini said he left Mills alone at that point, not wanting to disrupt any of what had been working on the mound. And instead of thinking about the no-hitter, the catcher said he and Mills focused on the scouting reports for the final three hitters.

Then, Caratini got to live out a celebration like Ross did four years ago.

"It was a really special moment for us," Caratini said via team translator Will Nadal. "I'm very happy to be a part of history. I'm really proud of Alec. I'm proud of myself as well for being part of this moment."