Mariners starter James Paxton no-hit the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night and he did so in dominant fashion.
Paxton required only 99 pitches — making this not only a no-hitter but a Maddux — striking out seven and walking three. His high heat was overpowering all night long. Indeed, he hit 100 m.p.h. on his second to last pitch of the game (Statcast called it 99.5, but let’s round up, shall we?). This comes on the heels of Paxton’s 16-strikeout performance against the Athletics six days ago. That was the highest strikeout total for any pitcher this season. This was the superior historical accomplishment.
While the Blue Jays did not challenge Paxton all that much, his final inning was one of his easiest of the night. The first batter, Anthony Alford, swung at the first pitch he saw and fouled out down the right field line. Next up was Teoscar Hernandez, who struck out on three straight pitches. The last better Paxton faced was former AL MVP Josh Donaldson. Pitch one: swinging strike. Pitch two: a 100 m.p.h. strike looking and then . . . Donaldson grounded out to third to end it. The no-hitter, in Canada, from a Canadian pitcher who sports a large maple leaf tattoo on his forearm, which he pointed to as a nice nod to the Toronto crowd. That had to feel good for Paxton and even to some of the fans on hand at Rogers Centre, even if they’re Jays fans.
It was the sixth no-hitter for a Mariners pitcher. The previous ones to accomplish it: Randy Johnson in 1990, Chris Bosio in 1993, a six-pitcher combined no hitter, started by Kevin Millwood, in 2012, Felix Hernandez in 2012 — his was a perfect game — and Hisashi Iwakuma in 2015. All of those happened in Seattle. Paxton’s was the first ever on the road.
Congratulations, James Paxton!
Welp, that didn’t last long. Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia is going back on the injured list with more knee issues. If it matters the Sox say it’s not a big deal and they expect him back sooner rather than later, but they also said that his post-2017 knee surgery was just a “cleanup” at first and that basically cost him a year. So.
Pedroia has played in six games and is 2-for-20 with a walk.
I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that Pedroia’s career may be nearing an end. Sure, he’s under contract for two more years after this season, but he’s also in a unfortunate spiral that so many players experience in their mid-to-late 30s.
Running a website like this makes it all the clearer, actually. When you search a player’s name in our CMS, you get every post in which he appears in reverse chronological order. Just about every long-tenured player ends with about six posts in which he is alternately placed on and activated from the disabled/injured list. Then an offseason link to a big feature in which he’s written about as being “at a crossroads” followed by something vague about “resuming baseball activities” and then, inevitably, the retirement announcement. I can’t count the number of guys whose careers I can tick off in that way by browsing the guts of this site.
I hope that’s not the case for Pedroia. I hope that there’s a “Pedroia wins Comeback Player of the Year” post in the future. Or at the very least a silly “Miller’s Crossing” reference in an “And that Happened” in which I say “the old man’s still an artist with the Thompson” after he peppers the ball around in some 3-for-4, two-double game. I want that stuff to happen.
It’s just that, if you watch this game long enough, you realize how unlikely that is once a player starts to break down.