Each one of those pitchers has thrown a no-hitter within the first month and a half of the 2021 season. That’s wild. We’re barely at the “halfway to halfway” mark and we’re two no-hitters away from tying the single-season record. That’s insane. How does this happen?
Is it thanks to advanced pitching analytics, and companies like Driveline, revolutionizing how pitchers perform? Could be.
Is this phenomenon exacerbated by a de-juiced baseball concocted by Rob Manfred and friends? Possible.
How about the advent of the “Launch Angle Era” where every other hitter is a three true outcome hitter? Very plausible.
But really, the most obvious reason as to why fans have been treated to so many masterful pitching performances is this: Cleveland, Seattle, and Texas are all Triple-A teams playing in the big leagues
Yes, all three of these clubs are in the midst of rebuilds. Yes, all three of these teams are on the lower end of the payroll spectrum. And yes, all three of these teams have some redeeming qualities, but the fact remains that these clubs came out of the gate just hoping to tread water in their divisions. That’s a big problem for the league and ultimately the game.
Teams sell optimism in the offseason, and for a lot of teams, they desperately need it to keep fan interest. For the majority of teams who have had winning records over the last few seasons, it’s easy to believe that a team can turn things around. Cities like Boston, New York, and Atlanta live off that kind of mentality. Ask a Red Sox fan if they saw this team’s 2021 success before the season. They’ll say yes, and you should believe them. But ask a Rangers fan if this team has what it takes to go the distance… You should expect a different answer. Even the Baltimore Orioles, whose star pitcher John Means threw a no-hitter against the Seattle Mariners, have put together a decent team with aging veterans and young exciting players.
The Mariners have last year’s Rookie of the Year and one of the baseball’s top prospects in their lineup. They shouldn’t be getting no-hit every month. Cleveland sent the face of their franchise to New York this offseason and then opened the year with one of the lowest payrolls in the league. They’re a walking garage sale in July, and if this team is really trying to revamp and rebuild, things will only get worse before they get better. This is the same Cleveland team that employs the 2020 Cy Young winner.
Yes, pitching has improved this year, as we see levels of excellence only matched by the summer of 1968.
But the best opposition to good pitching is good hitting, and that’s something that all three of these teams are severely lacking. Both Seattle and Cleveland live at the bottom of the American League for batting average, on-base percentages, and OPS. The Seattle Mariners have one more total hit than the New York Mets, who have yet to play 40 games this season, while the M’s have played 44. That’s not good.
For those of you who are worried about pitchers taking over the league, don’t. Good pitching can be exciting and frankly, if your team is facing the Rangers, Cleveland, or the Mariners, get excited because you might just see some history unfold. But really the worst part of this for MLB is that three teams are now exposed as barely attempting to try. The worst thing this league can be is apathetic towards success, and so far, that’s the only thing these teams have been successful at.
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