The End Justifies the Means; Formerly Obscure Oriole Fires No-Hitter

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Hi friends. Here’s how I see baseball on this Thursday, May 6.John Means went from being a boy nobody wanted after graduating high school to hurling the first no-hitter by an Oriole since jim Palmerdid it in 1969. With 6 runs scored by the O’s, Means saw 27 and retired them all. He didn’t get a perfecto because on one of his strikeouts,d batter Sam Haggerty reached base. He was later erased.

  As a high school graduate, the best John Means could do was be chosen in the 46th round by the Braves.  He was injured when their scout came to see him, at which point he was told to go to college.  After a year in junior college, he went to West Virginia University. After a very solid junior year against Big 12 competition, the Orioles took Means in the 11th round of the draft in 2014. The next year, in what was then the South Atlantic League, he threw a no-hitter for the Orioles’ entry in that league, the Delmarva ShoreBirds.  That was the last good year for the major league Orioles.  Their collapse (or tanking) accelerated young players like Means to the top faster than they normally would have gone.  His first look was in late September, 2018.  The following April, he made the team and was thought to be a relief pitcher.  In less than a month, he was a starter, and by July he was an All-Star. At the time, he had a 2.50 ERA, second best in the league. On a truly brutal team and playing in an absurdly small ball park, he ended up 12-11 with a 3.60 ERA.  He came in second for the league’s Rookie of the Year award.  Sadly, he was bested by the Astros’ Yordan Alvarez, none of whose stats should be considered valid because of the scandal surrounding the team. 

  After a so-so 2020, the O’s named Means to start on Opening Day, and he’s been a fixture in the rotation since then, going 3-0 before yesterday’s start. The Mariners had no answers for his fastballs, curves and especially a devastating change-up. A dozen Mariners struck out before the day was done. One of these, Sam Haggerty swung at a pitch in the dirt.  Catcher Pedro Severino couldn’t field it and Haggerty reached.  That was in the third inning.  After he was caught stealing, Nobody else reached first base. 

          As of now, Means has a 1.37 ERA.  Nobody had pitched a no-hitter for the Orioles since just after a man had walked on the moon.  Jim Palmer pitched one on August 13, 1969.  Even the Orioles’ 4 20-game winners of 1971-Dobson, Palmer, McNally and Cuellar-the 1970’s version of “The Four Horsemen”-never fired a no-hitter. 1969 was also the last time 3 no-hitters had happened so early in the season.  On April 9, the Padres’ Joe Musgrove twirled a no-hitter in Texas.  The White Sox’ Carlos Rodon victimized the Indians just 5 days later. Means and his playmates get to enjoy yesterday’s success until they take the field tomorrow night against Boston.


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