Chicago Cubs

Odubel Herrera

Video: Odubel Herrera makes a ridiculous catch to complete Cole Hamels’ no-hitter

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Odubel Herrera had played a grand total of 13 games in the outfield as a member of the Texas Rangers’ minor league system through the 2014 season. The Phillies selected him in the Rule 5 draft and immediately converted him from his trade as a second baseman to a center fielder during spring training.

To say Herrera’s time in center has been an adventure would be to completely under-sell it. It has been at once both entertaining and disastrous. He doesn’t react well to balls off the bat and takes inefficient, circuitous routes. That was on full display Saturday afternoon at Wrigley Field as Cole Hamels no-hit the Cubs in what very well may have been his final start as a member of the Phillies.

Herrera played a key role in preserving Hamels’ no-hitter twice. The first came on the second out of the eighth inning, when Herrera used his speed to corral a well-struck David Ross fly ball on the warning track in left-center.

The second came on the final out in the bottom of the ninth inning. Kris Bryant ripped a 3-2 Hamels curve to straightaway center field. Herrera ranged back to the warning track, overrunning the fly ball slightly. He attempted to find the ball in the sunlit sky, fell forward, and snagged the ball just before it could make contact with the ground, preserving Hamels’ no-hitter. Watch:

Carlos Ruiz caught his fourth no-hitter, tying Jason Varitek’s record

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Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz caught his fourth no-hitter on Saturday when Cole Hamels dominated the Cubs at Wrigley Field. That ties him with former Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek for the major league record in no-hitters caught, per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki.

The no-hitters:

  • May 29, 2010: Roy Halladay vs. Florida Marlins (1-0)
  • October 6, 2010: Roy Halladay vs. Cincinnati Reds in NLDS Game 1 (4-0)
  • September 1, 2014: Cole Hamels, Jake Diekman, Ken Giles, Jonathan Papelbon vs. Atlanta Braves (7-0)
  • July 25, 2015: Cole Hamels vs. Chicago Cubs (5-0)

Varitek caught Hideo Nomo against the Orioles in 2001, Derek Lowe against the Devil Rays in 2002, Clay Buchholz against the Orioles in 2007, and Jon Lester against the Royals in 2008.

Ruiz, 36, has drawn considerable praise for his ability to handle a pitching staff and call a game. He famously developed a strong bond with Halladay during their four years as teammates, as Halladay routinely praised Ruiz effusively. Halladay also made this hilarious commercial for the MLB 2K11 video game:

Ruiz has had a tough 2015 otherwise, however, putting together a .223/.312/.301 triple-slash line with two home runs and 16 RBI in 236 plate appearances. He also has not been as good defensively as he has been in the past.

Cole Hamels throws a no-hitter at Wrigley Field against the Cubs

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Update #3 (6:43 PM EST): Hamels finished off his no-hitter, getting Addison Russell to ground out, struck out Dexter Fowler, then with a full count got Kris Bryant to fly out to Odubel Herrera in center field — making a ridiculous catch — on his 129th pitch of the afternoon.

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Update #2 (6:26 PM EST): The Phillies tacked on two runs in the top of the eighth on a little league home run, pushing their lead to 5-0. Hamels doubled but was stranded. He went back out to the mound and brought his no-hitter into the ninth. He retired Starlin Castro and David Ross on fly balls (Odubel Herrera made a spectacular catch in left-center on the fly ball hit by Ross), then Schwarber grounded back to Hamels for a 1-3 putout. He’s thrown 112 pitches.

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Update (6:06 PM EST): Hamels struck out the side in the seventh, retiring Anthony Rizzo, Jorge Soler, and Chris Denorfia on strikes to carry his no-hitter into the eighth inning. He now has 12 strikeouts and has thrown 99 pitches.

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Phillies starter Cole Hamels, making what could be his final start for the team that drafted him, is absolutely dealing at Wrigley Field against the Cubs this Saturday evening. The lefty has yet to allow a hit through six innings. The only blemishes on his record are two walks: to Dexter Fowler to lead off the game and to Fowler again with two outs in the sixth. Hamels has struck out nine while throwing 85 pitches.

The Phillies gave Hamels three runs of support on a Ryan Howard three-run home run off of Jake Arrieta in the third inning.

ESPN’s Jayson Stark quoted an unnamed baseball executive on Friday, who said that Hamels’ start against the Cubs could be his most important for the Ruben Amaro , Jr. administration, despite having pitched in the World Series for the club in 2009. The Phillies are rebuilding and Hamels is by far the team’s most valuable trade asset.

Hamels entered the start with a 3.91 ERA and a 124/37 K/BB ratio in 119 2/3 innings.

We’ll keep you updated as Hamels attempts to keep the Cubs hitless over the final three innings. Hamels has never officially thrown a no-hitter, but was the starter on September 1 in Atlanta against the Braves last year when he banded together with Jake Diekman, Ken Giles, and Jonathan Papelbon to toss a combined no-hitter. The Cubs have baseball’s longest active streak of not being no-hit at 7,931 games, per ESPN’s Jayson Stark. Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax tossed a perfect game against them on September 9, 1965.