Year of the no-no? 10 mind-boggling stats

May 19th, 2021

Do you like no-hitters? If so, the 2021 season has been a fun one for you.

Yes, there have been a lot of 27th-out celebrations in the early going, and the latest came on Tuesday night in Seattle, where the Tigers’ Spencer Turnbull no-hit the Mariners while walking two and striking out nine in a 5-0 victory. That was already the fifth no-no in MLB this season, and it’s only May. (That doesn’t even count Madison Bumgarner’s seven no-hit innings in a doubleheader against the Braves.)

Five no-hitters through May 18 are tied with the 1917 season for the most through that date on the calendar in a single season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Overall, the most no-hitters in a season was eight, in 1884. The most in any modern season (since 1900) was seven, in 1990, 1991, 2012 and 2015.

There have been three in May alone, tied for the second-most in a calendar month in MLB history. The only month with more was June 1990, when Randy Johnson, Nolan Ryan, Fernando Valenzuela and Dave Stewart threw no-hitters -- with Valenzuela’s and Stewart’s coming on the same day. The other times we’ve seen three were August 2015, June 2012, May 1917, September 1908 and September 1882.

Here are 10 other facts and figures to know about Turnbull’s big night -- and Seattle’s latest setback.

  1. This was the eighth no-hitter in Tigers history and the first since Justin Verlander twirled the second of his career, shutting down the Blue Jays on May 7, 2011, in Toronto. The last time the Tigers put together a no-no without Verlander’s involvement was April 7, 1984, when Hall of Famer Jack Morris pulled off the feat against the White Sox.
  1. An extra point of pride for the Tigers: Every no-hitter in franchise history has been thrown by a homegrown pitcher -- in other words, one who was originally drafted or signed by the organization. Turnbull was Detroit’s second-round pick in the 2014 Draft, while Verlander and Morris also were acquired through the Draft. Before its inception, Jim Bunning, Virgil Trucks and George Mullin all signed with the Tigers as amateur free agents.
  1. Turnbull came a long way to throw this no-hitter. Just two years ago, in his first full MLB season, he went 3-17, leading the Major Leagues in losses while toiling for a Tigers club that did not give him much support on its way to a 47-114 record. Now, he has a no-hitter.

According to Elias, the only other pitchers to throw a no-hitter within two seasons after leading MLB in losses are Scott Erickson (led in losses in 1993, threw a no-hitter in ‘94), Jim Tobin (1942, ‘44), Red Donahue (1897, ‘98) and Amos Rusie (1890, ‘91). Additionally, three pitchers somehow twirled a no-no in the same season in which they compiled the most losses: Sam Jones (1955), Joe Bush (1916) and Henry Porter (1888).

  1. Turnbull was in control throughout the night, while pitching past the seventh inning for the first time in his career. He threw first-pitch strikes to 24 of 29 batters, racked up a career-high 19 swinging strikes (tying a career high with 12 whiffs on four-seam fastballs) and only allowed five hard-hit balls (95-plus mph exit velocity). Just three balls were hit off Turnbull with an expected batting average -- based on exit velocity and launch angle -- above .260.
  1. As for the Mariners, this was all too familiar after Baltimore’s John Means no-hit them on May 5 at the same ballpark. Yet Seattle isn’t the first team to be no-hit twice in 2021 -- Cleveland beat it to that feat (April 14, May 7). This is just the second time in MLB history that two teams have been no-hit twice each in a single season, along with 2015 -- when both the Mets and Dodgers did it. But one silver lining: Both of those teams also won their divisions.
  1. The Mariners are just the fifth team in MLB history to be no-hit twice in a span of no more than 14 days, and only the second to suffer that fate in the past 98 seasons, according to Elias. They join the 2015 Dodgers, who were no-hit by the Astros’ Mike Fiers on Aug. 21 and by the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta on Aug. 30, a 10-day span. The only other teams to be the victim of two no-hitters in such a short span are the 1923 A’s (four days, Sept. 4-7), 1917 White Sox (two days, May 5-6) and 1884 Pittsburgh Alleghenys (six days, May 24-29).
  1. This is the 19th time a team has been no-hit twice in a season. No team has been no-hit three times in a single season, and Seattle will now try to keep it that way.
  1. Both times the Mariners have been no-hit this year, it’s been at T-Mobile Park. The last team to get no-hit twice at home in the same season was the 2015 Mets (by the Giants’ Chris Heston and the Nationals’ Max Scherzer). The only other clubs to have such misfortune at their home yard are the 2001 Padres, 1973 Royals, 1971 Reds and 1923 A’s.
  1. Speaking of which, Seattle continues to be a no-hitter hotbed. This was the sixth one thrown there since 2012, accounting for 16% of the MLB total during that time. That’s easily the most no-nos hosted by any stadium in that span, with the Mets’ Citi Field next with three.
  1. Given that, perhaps it’s no surprise that veteran Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager has seen more than his fair share of no-hitters. He’s been part of a Seattle lineup that got no-hit five times and also backed four Mariners no-nos in the field since his July 7, 2011, debut. According to STATS, Seager is the first player in MLB history to participate in nine no-hitters (for or against) with a single franchise.