CLEVELAND -- For the first time in franchise history, the Indians have been no-hit twice in a single season.
Following a 1-hour, 23-minute rain delay, Cleveland’s bats couldn’t do anything against Cincinnati starter Wade Miley. An error by Nick Senzel and a walk to Cesar Hernandez were the only two things standing between Miley and perfection. And after Emmanuel Clase permitted three runs in the ninth, the Indians fell, 3-0, to the Reds on Friday night at Progressive Field.
“He kept us off balance,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “I think he touched 90 [mph] once tonight, but he put on a clinic. I mean, he cut the ball in on the righties, threw a changeup, threw a four-seamer in -- he just went back and forth. I mean, that was pretty impressive."
It was just 20 games ago that the Indians’ offense was stymied against White Sox starter Carlos Rodón when Francona was on the losing end of a no-hitter for the first time in his managerial career. Just over three weeks later, Cleveland found itself in the spot once again, becoming the 18th team to get no-hit twice in a single season. The last to do so was the 2019 Mariners (both against combined no-hitters). And for anyone wondering at home, no team has ever been no-hit three times in a season.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Indians are also the third team in MLB history to be no-hit twice within its first 31 games of a season, joining the 1917 White Sox and 1884 Pittsburgh Alleghenys (American Association). They are also the eighth team all-time to be no-hit twice in a single season in a span of 21 games or shorter. Here’s a look at the other seven:
1917 White Sox: Three-game span
1884 Alleghenys: Three
1923 A’s: Four
2015 Dodgers: Nine
2019 Mariners: 19
1971 Reds: 20
1965 Cubs: 21
“This is baseball,” shortstop Amed Rosario said. “I think [we’re] a great group of players, and what I notice is that everybody comes with the same intensity and energy to play. But we have to remember that the other team also comes with that intensity and desire to win. It’s just baseball.”
Heading into Friday night’s game, the focus has mainly been on the Indians’ dominant bullpen. Over its previous 11 games, it had pitched to a 1.93 ERA, while Clase continued his streak of 14 1/3 frames without permitting an earned run. With the score tied at 0-0 entering the ninth, the Indians turned to Clase after starter Zach Plesac tossed a stellar eight innings. But for the first time all year, Clase couldn’t record an out, and a sequence of an infield single, a single to left, an error, a balk and another single put three runs on the board and knocked Clase out of the game.
But on a frustrating night, as the streaky offense quickly went cold, and one of the club’s most reliable relievers had an off night, there was still one positive the Indians could walk away with.
The last time Cleveland was no-hit, Plesac was also the starter on the losing end of the game. However, that time, the 26-year-old had turned in the worst outing of his career, allowing six earned runs in just two-thirds of an inning. But this time, he was as close to being as stellar as Miley as possible, allowing just three hits with seven strikeouts and no walks in eight strong frames. Over his last three starts, he’s watched his fastball velocity creep back up to around 94 mph and has pitched to a 1.27 ERA.
“I think really every day, coming to the field, I have a game plan," Plesac said. "We know what we need to work on. I think I made some good adjustments, building confidence every day. Each pitch is starting to tick up a little bit, so [my] confidence is building with my pitches getting better. I think it goes for some good results. I think I'm locked in.”