He was the pitcher the Orioles didn’t want. Jake Arrieta was 20-25 with a 5.46 for the Birds so they let him fly the coop. Now all told he’s 60-38, so he’s 40-13 with the Cubs. Wonder how the Orioles like Scott Feldman and Steve Clevinger (who’s now in Seattle) these days. That’s what they got for Jake Arrieta who last night threw his second no-hitter in 9 months for the Cubs. On August 30 he no-hit the Dodgers in Los Angeles. Last night he baffled the Reds in Cincinnati as the Cubs demolished them 16-0.
In all of baseball’s long history, only one no-hitter was more one-sided. In 1884, when Buffalo had a major league team, Pud Galvan no-hit Detroit 18-0. At 30, barring health issues Arrieta may well join some exclusive company. Only two other Cubs-Larry Corcoran and Ken Holtzman-have two no-hitters to their names. Only one man, the incomparable Nolan Ryan has 3 road no-hitters, where Jake now has two, neither of which were at Wrigley.
The game itself was no contest after the top of the second, considering the Cubs had scored twice in each of their first two turns. They put up one in the fifth but things really got ugly late, as they scored 4 each in the 6th and 7th, and put the icing on the cake with 3 in the 9th. They slammed 5 home runs, two by Chris Bryant including a grand slam. Ben Zobrist, David Ross (yes, 39-year-old David Ross) and Anthony Rizzo all hit circuit clouts. As bad as the Reds have been of late years, they haven’t been no-hit since 1971, when the Phillies’ Rick Wise no-hit an early version of the Big Red Machine. They got their own back on him 4 years later in game 3 of the 1975 World Series, mashing 3 home runs and a tripple in less than 5 innings. It will be a while before anybody assaults Arrieta that way. He’s won 16 decisions in a row and thrown an insane 24 quality starts in regular season play. Admittedly his human side showed in the 2015 playoffs as both the Cardinals and Mets gave him severe beatings. But nobody on the north side of Chicago, in what the song calls “The Land of Wrigley” is thinking about that this morning as they celebrate his second no-hitter. If there is a silver lining for Cincinnati, it is that pitcher Homer Bailey (who also has two no-hitters) is beginning his rehab from Tommy John surgery and could rejoin them relatively soon.
For pure action and excitement the best game of the day occurred in Cleveland, though very few people saw it. Barely 11,000 were in attendance at what should still be Jacobs Field on a rainy afternoon. The visiting Mariners built up an early 5-0 lead but needed a 3-run 10th-inning home run by Robinson Cano to win 10-7. Steve Clevinger and Franklin Gutierrez walked setting up Cano’s game-winner off Cody Allen. Clevinger had hit a two-run homer early on as the Mariners built their 5-0 advantage. However in the home fifth the Indians showed their first sign of life as Rajai Davis tomahawked a 3-run home run out of sight to make it 5-3. Cano and Nelson Cruz drove runs home to make it 7-3 Mariners. The Indians got two in their half of the sixth and tied it on a pinch-hit home run by Mike Napoli in the 8th. Nobody wants a marathon on Getaway Day, (the last game in a series on the road) and Cano’s blast in the 10th sent the visitors to victory.
All the games tonight are under the lights. The A’s, having inflicted an embarrassing 3-game sweep on the Yankees now face the big kids of the division, the Bluejays. The Oakland starter Sonny Gray hasn’t had a bad start yet, and he faces Aaron Sanchez, the best starter the Jays have up to now. The Pirates’ Jonathan Niese who threw 7 shutout innings against Milwaukee last time out, now faces a real offense in Arizona, at a park where he has a lifetime 6.26 ERA. King Felix Hernandez takes the hill for the Mariners in Anaheim. The latest start of the night, 10:40 Eastern Time, is in San Diego. The Cardinals will send out Adam Wainwright against Andrew Kashner, who started the 14-inning Padre win against Arizona last Saturday night.
One of the very few bright lights on the Marlins, Dee Gordon is 28 today. Born Devaris Gordon in Windermere, Florida he has been an All-Star the last two seasons. Last year he led his league in both batting average and steals, the first man to do that since Jackie Robinson in 1949. The son of Tom “Flash” Gordon, Dee was a Dodger draftee in 2008 and played for them until last year. The trade netted the Dodgers Enrique “KiKe” Hernandez and reliever Chris Hatcher.
Mickey Morandini is 50 today. He was with the Phillies for the vast majority of his career with brief stops with the Cubs and Blue Jays. As an amateur he was with the 1988 Olympic baseball team in Seoul, Korea which won the gold. He was an All-Star in 1995, played in the 1993 World Series and as a Cub played in the NLDS in 1998. With the Phillies he turned an unassisted tripple play against the Pirates in 1992. MLB hadn’t seen one of those since Ron Hansen did it in 1968 and the National League hadn’t seen one since 1927. He was the first second baseman to pull it off. He went to the Cubs for former University of Pennsylvania star Doug Glanville before the 1998 season. He was a high school coach in Indiana before becoming a minor league coach with the Phillies in 2011. At this time he is first base coach for the big league Phillies.
Jimmy Key is 55 today. The name means a lot to 1996 Yankees fans, as he pitched and won game 6 of that yyear’s World Series giving the Yankees their first world championship in 18 years. He put up a 186-117 record between 1984 and 1998, much of it with the Blue Jays. He spent 4 years with the Yankees starting in 1993 and his final 2 in Baltimore. He was an All-Star 4 times, the last in 1994. His Yankees’ World Series ring was his second, having claimed one in 1992 as Toronto beat Atlanta in 6. He won games 4 and 6, pitching from the bull pen in extra innings in the final game. He had started game 1 of the 1980 College World Series for Clemson under their legendary coach Jack Leggitt. Two years later the Jays took him in round 3.
Terry Francona is 57 today. He played for the Arizona Wildcats team who won the 1980 College World Series (see above.) After managing the Red Sox from 2004-2011 he became manager of the Indians in 2013, a post he holds as I write this. He had played from 1981-90. He managed the Red Sox when they won the World Series in 2004 and 2007, and took the league Manager of the Year award in 2013-his first year with the Indians. His dad Tito played from 1956–70. Terry holds the distinction of filling in with Joe Buck on Fox TV during the 2012 ALCS, where the Yankees faced the Tigers while Tim McCarver was recuperating from minor heart surgery. Up until then he had been an analyst for ESPN during 2012.
David Clyde is 61 today. He is as good an example as you’ll ever find of a club owner ruining a budding career by using a player for a publicity stunt. What I am saying can mostly be found in Mike Shropshire’s excellent book “Seasons in Hell,” about the 1973-75 Texas Rangers. For the Rangers in their second year,1973 their owner Bob Short saw that Clyde was drafted as the first overall pick, and pitched in the big leagues at once as a ploy to sell tickets. The result was an 18-33 record for a man who, with a proper amount of time spent in the minors might have done far better. If anything good came of it, the 6 sellouts in his 6 home starts kept the team from being taken over by MLB, as later happened to the Expos and Dodgers. In the other 75 home games at the old stadium in Arlington, the team drew about 6000 per.
Mickey Vernon was born this day in 1918 and died in 2008 at 90. Born James Barton Vernon, Mickey might not get mentioned here except that longtime Phillies’ broadcaster Harry Kalas told me he got his love of baseball from a brief encounter with Vernon during a rain delay. Ironically Vernon spent most of his life in range of Kalas’ iconic voice and died only 7 months before Kalas. Vernon played the bulk of his career for the Senators and was an All-Star 7 times between 1946 and 1958. He was on the Pirates when they won their 1960 World Series. He put up a .286 lifetime average and nearly 2500 hits in spite of losing two prime years during World War II. He managed the second incarnation of the Washington Senators from 1961-63 and was a coach or instructor until his retirement from the game.0