Ubaldo Jimenez throws first no-hitter in Rockies history

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It should come as no surprise who pulled it off. The execution, though, was rather shocking.
After battling command woes early in the game, Ubaldo Jimenez started working exclusively out of the stretch in the sixth inning Saturday on his way to a no-hitter against the Braves.
Jimenez retired 15 straight after walking Jason Heyward to lead off the fifth. That was his sixth and final walk of the game. He struck out seven and threw 128 pitches in the contest.
It was Jimenez’s first career shutout and third complete game. Considering that he was at 115 pitches through eight, there’s not much chance he would have worked the ninth without the no-no intact. However, he still hit 98 mph on the gun while showing no fatigue at all in the final inning.
Jimenez, who established himself as the Rockies’ ace and one of the NL’s best young starters last year, has opened the 2010 season 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA.

Must-Click Link: Sherri Nichols, Sabermetic Pioneer

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If you are old enough and lame enough as I am, you may have lurked around on sabermetic message boards in the 1990s. If you did, you may have heard of Sherri Nichols, who back in the day, was a significant contributor to the advancement of statistical analysis, particularly defensive analysis.

While it’s probably better that not everyone is as old and nerdy as me, the downside of it is that most people haven’t heard of Nichols and know nothing about her contributions. That changes today with Ben Lindbergh’s excellent analysis of Nichols and her work over at The Ringer, which I recommend that you all read.

The short version: Nichols is the one who planted the seed about on-base percentage being valuable in the mind of Baseball Prospectus Founder Gary Huckabay, back in the late 80s. She’s also the one most responsible for the rise of zone-based defensive metrics in the 1990s, such as Defensive Average, which she created and which served as the basis for other such metrics going forward. She also played a critical role in the development of RetroSheet, which collected almost all extant box score and play-by-play information going back to the turn of the 20th century, thereby making so much of the information available at Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs possible. A key contribution there: making the information free and available to everyone, rather than closing the underlying data off as proprietary and either charging for access or keeping it in-house like some recent data collectors have chosen to do. Ahem.

A larger takeaway than all of Nichols’ contributions is just how loathe the baseball community was to listen to a woman back then. I mean, yeah, they’re still loathe to listen to women now, as indicated by the small number of women who hold jobs in baseball operations departments, but back then it was even worse, as evidenced by Lindbergh’s stories and Nichols’ anecdotes.

A great read and a great history lesson.