Tigers ace Justin Verlander did a number of impressive things over the course of his nine-inning no-hitter Saturday in Toronto. He threw 74 of his 108 pitches for strikes, induced 12 groundball outs, and issued just one walk to the 27 batters that he faced.
But the most impressive feat of the historical outing was a 100 mph fastball that Verlander delivered to final batter Rajai Davis with two outs in the ninth inning. It was his 106th pitch and the third-to-last offering of the afternoon. Davis fouled it off before whiffing on a slider two pitches later.
It wasn’t the only time Verlander was caught pushing the radar gun to its limit. According to MLB.com’s Gameday application, which uses the trustworthy Pitch-F/x system, the right-hander from Richmond, Virginia also hit 100 mph in the seventh and eighth innings. He topped out at 101 mph.
Possessing triple-digit velocity isn’t necessary for big league domination. Francisco Liriano is averaging 92.1 mph on his fastball this season and he threw a no-no just a handful of days ago. Mark Buehrle, who rarely tops 88 mph, threw one in July of 2009 and April of 2007. But that 100 mph fastball that Verlander delivered today with the Rogers Centre crowd wavering on who to root for is an indication of the kind of arm strength and clean mechanics that go along with being one of the most lethal pitchers in the game.
Verlander is one of three active pitchers with multiple no-hitters. The others: Buehrle and Roy Halladay.
Who says no-hitters can’t be just as fun when they happen during spring training?
Angels’ right-hander Bud Norris delivered two perfect innings on Friday night, paving the way for an eight-pitcher no-hitter against the Mariners at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Jose Alvarez, Cam Bedrosian, Andrew Bailey, Austin Adams, Drew Gagnon and Justin Anderson each filed a hitless inning of their own, leaving right-hander Abel De Los Santos to close out the ninth inning with just three pitches — and three game-saving plays by the defense.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that the Angels were facing a bevy of Mariners’ backups, rather than their starting lineup. In fact, Seattle’s lineup featured just two starting players — outfielder Leonys Martin and shortstop Jean Segura — while the majority of their everyday position players took on the Royals in a 4-3 win elsewhere in the Cactus League. The Mariners managed to reach base twice, first on catcher interference in the fourth inning, then on a four-pitch walk in the sixth, spoiling the Angels’ chances of turning their combined no-hitter into a combined perfect game.
Still, whether it’s executed in spring training or the regular season, against an All-Star lineup or one comprised of minor leaguers, a no-hitter is a no-hitter. The team’s eight-pitcher effort marked the first spring training no-no the Angels had completed since 1996, when they took on the Giants in a 15-0 showdown. Unfortunately for the 1996 squad, their regular season ended with a 70-91 record, good for last place in the AL West. Perhaps this no-hitter will prove a better omen for the coming season.
Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.
Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.
Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.