What does a no-hitter mean? For the pitcher who has achieved it, it’s a shining example of his skill and a chance for a little more time in the highlight reels. For the team backing up the pitcher, it’s a time to gush about their ace in post-game interviews. For the fans of the winning team, it’s a thrill ride and a great conversation around the water cooler at work the next day.
But what about the losing team? In post-game interviews they will, no doubt, applaud the opposing pitcher’s skill and his command. Fans might moan about lack of offense but also reluctantly acknowledge the ability of the other team’s ace.
The Red Sox were almost on the receiving end of a no-hitter last night. The Texas Rangers’ Yu Darvish was on fire (8.2 innings, one hit, two walks, 12 strike outs, 126 pitches). In the style of gracious losers, David Ortiz said “he was masterful” and John Farrell added “he was on his game early.” (from MLB.com) In the seventh inning a play was ruled an error that could have been a hit, depending on your viewpoint. In the ninth with two outs Ortiz got a hold of a pitch for an irrefutable hit. And thus ended the no-hitter.
Why is it that we fans, at least me anyway, were overjoyed that we got a hit? The game was a loss anyway. The Sox sunk back under .500 regardless of Darvish’s stat line. The Sox defense gave up eight runs and 14 hits. So what difference does it make if the Sox had one hit or zero? I think it’s a matter of pride. Getting shut out is bad enough. No team wants to be the owner of a zero in the box score for hits as well.
Big Papi summed it up best. “You know if you don’t break up the no-hitter you’ll be showing up on MLB and ESPN for about a month.” (from MLB.com) No one wants that.