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Four Chicago Cubs pitchers collaborated for a combined no-hitter on Thursday night, for the seventh no-no of the 2021 season. Starter Zach Davies tossed six innings of shutout ball, allowing no hits through 94 pitches. Though this was an impressive outing, it was less than efficient; Davies did walk five, but managed to strike out four as he had the Dodgers chasing pitches out of the zone. He did lure Dodgers hitters into 10 swings and misses, contributing to his overall 30% CSW on his pitches. Davies was still able to limit hard contact against a formidable Dodgers lineup, leaving the rest of the no-no in the hands of a capable bullpen.
Ryan Tepera was brought in the seventh inning, firing one inning of scoreless ball, walking one. Andrew Chafin entered the ballgame in the eighth, continuing the tradition of the evening with another scoreless, hitless inning, with one free pass issued. Closer Craig Kimbrel was brought in the ninth, and started the inning with a four-pitch walk to Chris Taylor, but had Cody Bellinger out on strikes, the same fate Albert Pujols just moments later. Will Smith was Kimbrel’s last victim, going down swinging on a knuckle curve.
Perhaps this should go down as the Willson Contreras game, as he served as the backstop for all four pitchers, and also managed to pick Mookie Betts off first base. Manager David Ross credited the catcher for his game calling, as this was Contreras' first career no-hitter caught. At the dish, he went 1-for-4, including a two-run homer in the sixth, off Walker Buehler.
In a similar vein, the Boston Red Sox flirted with a combined no-hitter on Thursday, taking it to the bottom of the eighth, in a tense low-scoring matchup versus Tampa Bay.
Starter Nick Pivetta kept the Rays at bay by inducing 14 swings and misses, six of those with his knuckle curve, contributing to a fantastic 34% CSW for that pitch, and a 31% CSW for his arsenal overall. Pivetta was pulled after 100 pitches and 6 2/3 innings pitched; he’s also the second Red Sox starter to be removed from a game with no hits allowed in six-plus innings. The first to do so? You might have heard of him. The other was Babe Ruth on May 20, 1916 versus. St. Louis, where he pitched six innings. Josh Taylor finished the seventh inning with just six pitches, and Darwinzon Hernandez was brought in for the eighth.
Kevin Kiermaier broke up the no-hitter in the bottom of the eighth inning, on a fastball away from Hernandez. Not only did Kiermaier disrupt the combined no-no, but effectively turned a single into a double. Hernandez then walked Brandon Lowe, causing Alex Cora to go to the bullpen to preserve the shutout. This would be short-lived; after appearances by Adam Ottavino and Matt Barnes, Manuel Margot scored on a wild pitch by Barnes in the bottom of the ninth, for the Rays’ third walk-off win of the season, and a half-game lead in first place in the AL East.
What an evening for some great pitching performances! As for the Cubs, this is their first no-hitter in Los Angeles since Jake Arrieta blanked the Dodgers in 2015. The Cubs have now thrown 17 no-hitters in franchise history; this is also their first combined no-hitter, and their first no-hitter since Alec Mills’ no-hitter on September 13th, 2020.
Pitchers with an EDGE
Michael Wacha vs. Red Sox
5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K, 29% CSW
Wacha’s bread-and-butter are his fastball and changeup, and both pitches were working well tonight as he struck out six Red Sox in his first time through the order. He and counterpart Nick Pivetta took dueling no-hitters into the fifth inning, Christian Vazquez disrupting Wacha’s no-no with a single from a peculiar golf-like swing.
Chris Bassitt vs. Rangers
7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 4 K, 28% CSW
Bassitt’s sinker was his most-thrown pitch in this outing, garnering an incredible 46% CSW, including 21 called strikes. His slider velocity was also up 3.8 miles per hour, averaging at 78.9 MPH. Bassitt has not lost a start after losing his first two starts this year.
Jose Berrios vs. Indians
6 1/3 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 9 K, 39% CSW
Berrios walked away with a hard luck no decision, after fanning nine batters - factoring into a fantastic 39% CSW on all his pitches. In this incredible performance, the curveball was his most thrown pitch, notching eight called strikes for an especially fantastic 41% CSW for that pitch.
Hitters with an EDGE
Yuli Gurriel vs. Tigers
3-for-5, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB
Gurriel is fourth in the major leagues with a .333 average. He’s clubbed 10 home runs, and is slashing .377/.415/.536 in the month of June. He carries forth a fantastic .920 OPS so far this year.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. vs. Orioles
1-for-4, Grand Slam, 4 RBI
Yuli’s brother also had a great day at the dish; his grand slam off Dean Kremer contributed to a six-run first inning for Toronto; this was Gurriel’s eighth home run of the year, and fourth in the month of June. Gurriel is now 8-for-20 with the bases loaded in his career.
Bryan Reynolds vs. Cardinals
3-for-4, 4 RBI
Reynolds’ three-run shot was his 13th homer of the year, in the Pirates’ 8-2 walloping of the Cardinals. He also hit an RBI single in the first inning, and singled once again later in the game. He’s currently toting a nine game hitting streak, going 17-for-36 (.472) including three home runs and 11 RBI in that span.
Myles Straw (Available in 82% of Yahoo Leagues)
The 26-year-old is 9-for-27 in his last seven games, including a four hit performance on Thursday for the Astros. Straw also gets on base; he’s got a .400 OBP in his last seven games, contributing to an overall .333 OBP on the season. The low rostering is surprising, since he’s been performing well for a while. Since May 10th, he’s slashing .295/.354/.386 with four stolen bases, over 148 plate appearances. Straw is a utility man that has both pop in his bat, and speed on the basepaths -- that should certainly make fantasy managers very happy.
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James Karinchak vs. Indians
1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB 0 K (9th Save)
Karinchak pitched a scoreless ninth inning to preserve the lead for Cleveland, despite a ninth inning, two-out double by Jorge Polanco. The righthander has now converted nine out of 10 save opportunities this year.
Brad Brach vs. Braves
1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K (1st Save)
The 35-year-old earned his first save of the year, with a scoreless ninth inning. This was his first save since Sept. 6, 2018, oddly enough as a member of the Braves. He has a 2.51 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in 14 1/3 innings pitched over 15 games this year.
Friday’s Matchup of the Day
Sean Manaea (6-3, 3.01 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 89 K)
Johnny Cueto (5-3, 4.05 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 47 K)
In the opener of this Bay Area interleague series, some interesting matters are at stake: the Giants may have the best record in Major League Baseball, but the A’s have also played quality ball, as they have a division lead to take back from the so-hot-right-now Astros.
Manaea lost his first start of the season but since then, the southpaw earned a 6-2 record accompanied by a 2.63 ERA and 85 strikeouts over 82 innings pitched. In his last start against the Phillies, Cueto earned the win, delivering six solid innings for the Giants, giving up three runs over six innings.
American League Quick Hits
Twins RHP prospect Jhoan Duran (forearm) will be shut down from throwing for 5-6 weeks. ... They also placed RHP Randy Dobnak on the 10-day injured list with a right finger strain. … Indians RHP Zach Plesac (thumb) will throw a 40-pitch bullpen on Thursday. ... Astros RHP Joe Smith (elbow) will throw a bullpen session on Friday in Detroit. ... LHP Steven Matz has cleared COVID-19 protocols, and has rejoined the Blue Jays. ... Twins RHP Michael Pineda (elbow) threw a bullpen on Thursday. ... Mark Canha is undergoing an MRI on Friday after being diagnosed with a left hip strain. ... Orioles manager Brandon Hyde told reporters that he expects John Means (shoulder) to return after the All-Star break. ... Indians placed RHP Aaron Civale on the 10-day injured list with a sprained right middle finger. ... RHP Daniel Hudson (elbow) is threw off flat ground on Thursday. ... Miguel Cabrera (calf) remains day-to-day after being out of the Tigers' starting lineup on Thursday. ... Rays placed INF Taylor Walls on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to June 23, with right wrist tendinitis. ... Red Sox placed INF Christian Arroyo on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to June 21, with a right knee contusion. ... Gio Urshela (shin) was not in the Yankees' starting lineup on Thursday afternoon, and is still considered day-to-day.
National League Quick Hits
Nationals INF Josh Bell was a late scratch from the lineup on Thursday due to soreness in his right side. ... Cubs LHP Justin Steele (hamstring) is heading to Triple-A Iowa to begin a rehab assignment. ... Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters that the team expects Corey Seager (hand) to return in early July. ... Giants general manager Farhan Zaidi told reporters Thursday that there's a "good chance" that Brandon Belt ends up on the injured list because of his knee injury. ... Braves transferred LHP Tucker Davidson to the 60-day injured list. ... Cardinals OF Harrison Bader (rib) will begin a rehab assignment soon...Nick Senzel (knee) played catch before Thursday's game against the Braves...the Pirates transferred RHP Miguel Yajure to the 60-day injured list. ... Sonny Gray (groin) was scratched from a scheduled rehab start Thursday at Triple-A Louisville due to a sore back. ... Reds placed RHP Lucas Sims on the 10-day injured list with a right elbow sprain.