Update (10:00 PM ET): With one out in the top of the seventh, Lorenzo Cain broke up McCuller’s no-hit bid with a triple to left-center field.
Astros starter Lance McCullers has held the Royals scoreless through six innings in Thursday night’s start in Kansas City. The right-hander has walked two, but has otherwise kept the Royals off base while striking out seven on 79 pitches.
The Astros have provided McCullers just one run of support against opposing starter Jason Hammel. With runners on first and third and one out, Hammel balked, bringing in a run.
The Marlins’ Edinson Volquez authored the season’s only no-hitter thus far this season, doing so on Saturday against the Diamondbacks. The last no-hitter thrown by a member of the Astros was Mike Fiers on August 21, 2015 against the Dodgers. The Royals were last victims of a no-hitter on May 19, 2008 against Jon Lester, then with the Red Sox.
We’ll keep you updated as McCullers attempts to navigate the final three innings of his no-hit bid.
You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.
Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.
Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.
Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.