In sports, everyone is a winner—some people just win better than others. Like all those people writing all those "year of the pitcher" stories, for whom Matt Garza's no-hitter provided more anecdotal evidence of a trend that probably doesn't exist.
Garza, pitching against Detroit yesterday, threw the fifth no-no of the year, which means that we're in for another run of speculation about why pitchers have claimed the edge this season. There are a lot of problems with these stories — if we're going to sloppily attribute everything to the new drug testing regime, shouldn't we at least acknowledge that pitchers took all those Very, Very Bad Drugs, too? — but the biggest of all is that they presume this phenomenon is anything but a blip. And thus far, at least, there's little evidence to suggest that it is. Via Baseball Reference:
Even looking at the past decade, 2010 doesn't seem particularly anomalous. We have a dropoff in runs per game per team of .16, just as we did in 2002. (What does stand out is the change from 2000 to 2001, when, as Tom Tango points out, baseball once again started calling the high strike.) Baseball's power factor — a favorite metric of our old pal and proto-Moneyballer Eric Walker, measuring total bases per hit — is right around 1.566. That's the lowest since 1995, but not so low that it suggests any permanent tectonic shifts in the game, as Baseball Prospectus's Jay Jaffe notes. Here's Tango again (he was writing when the dropoff was at .13 runs per game):