Johnny Vander Meer is the only pitcher in baseball history to throw back-to-back no-hitters, doing so on June 11 and 15 during the 1938 season for the Cincinnati Reds. Long have we thought someone would eventually join Vander Meer, only to be disappointed each and every time.
Max Scherzer no-hit the Pirates on Saturday, a comparatively disappointing result as he was one strike away from a perfect game before he hit Jose Tabata with an errant slider. If ever someone was going to pull a Vander Meer, it’s Scherzer, considering his upcoming match-up. He’s on schedule to open a series in Philadelphia against the lowly Phillies on Friday.
The Phillies entered play Sunday averaging 2.5 runs per game over their last 25 games and rank last or close to last in the league in a slew of offensive categories. Last in batting average (.236), last in on-base percentage (.287), last in slugging percentage (.348), last in home runs (41), third-worst in walks (157). They did manage to score nine runs to beat the Cardinals on Sunday, but it marked only the fourth time all year that they had scored more than six runs. The Phillies are still the worst-hitting team in the league and are among the worst teams of this millennium:
-129 or worse run differential in first 70 games since 2000: ’01 TB: -176 ’06 KC: -149 ’10 PIT: -154 ’10 BAL: -145 ’15 PHI: -129
— Bill Baer (@Baer_Bill) June 21, 2015
Regardless of how bad the Phillies are, the odds are still overwhelmingly in favor of Scherzer not throwing a no-hitter his next time out. According to the math, he has over a 99 percent chance to give up at least one hit. But this is the best confluence of variables that Scherzer — and we, fans of baseball rarities — could ask for. His next start on Friday in Philly will be must-see TV.