1 catcher, 2 teams, back-to-back no-hitters
Victor Caratini was behind the plate when Joe Musgrove threw the first no-hitter in Padres history on Friday night against the Rangers at Globe Life Field.
The Padres’ 3-0 win marked the second no-hitter Caratini has caught in his career, the first taking place not that long ago, with Alec Mills' no-hitter for the Cubs against the Brewers on Sept. 13, 2020.
That means Caratini caught the Majors’ two most recent no-hitters, and it makes him the first starting catcher in Major League history to catch consecutive no-hitters for different clubs. A starting backstop catching consecutive no-hitters has happened 10 previous times in MLB history, but all of those instances occurred with the same team.
“It's pretty rare to find yourself in those situations,” Caratini said. “It's not every day someone throws a no-hitter. But Joe just had everything working. I was just really happy to be a part of it.”
Caratini also made a bit of history in his native Puerto Rico. He’s only the second Puerto Rican catcher to backstop multiple no-nos, joining Ivan Rodriguez.
“Super happy, super proud to be on that same list, to be in that same company as Ivan,” Caratini said. “He's one of my idols. Hope I can just keep doing a good job.”
According to the Padres, Caratini’s double is more than coincidence.
“You start to get to the point you don’t really want to talk to Joe too much, so we’re doing some communication with Victor,” Padres manager Jayce Tingler said. “[He said], ‘He’s good, he’s good, the stuff’s still good, keep going.’ So he was our third party there late in the game.”
After completing his no-hit gem, Musgrove likened Caratini to a scientist, praising the backstop for his knowledge of the opposing hitters’ tendencies, as well as his ability to think multiple batters and multiple innings ahead.
“He was calculating how many guys until we get to the top of the order, so that by the sixth, seventh inning, it would be 6-7-8, 9-1-2,” Musgrove said. “Just doing all the math and figuring out which guys we need to be more aggressive with fastballs and sinkers and cutters to get one-pitch outs and try to save a few pitches here and there.
“He just did such a good job back there, and it made my job so easy to let him call the game and just try to execute pitches.”
Caratini -- as he is wont to do -- deflected the credit.
“It was his day,” Caratini said. “He had all his stuff. Everything was working, and I’m really happy for him at the end of the day."