For the second MLB season in a row, an A’s pitcher has thrown the first no-hitter of the season. That’s a rather unusual feat, given that the A’s rotation has been so famously dinged-up that they opted for a bullpen start in last year’s Wild Card game, but there was plenty about Mike Fiers’s no-no last night that was unusual.
In case anyone was wondering whether or not the game was in Oakland, Fiers and the Reds had to wait an extra 98 minutes for the game to even start, as a column of stadium lights above left field was not working. Approximately 100 bulbs would not turn on, though eventually, the two teams decided that the field was still well-lit enough to play on, and Fiers got to work.
He needed 131 pitches to get the job done, which is the most anyone’s thrown this season in any outing, as well as the most pitches for a no-hitter since Fiers himself notched his first no-hitter for the Astros in 2015 on 134 pitches. Things got a bit dicey in the sixth inning, and Fiers needed two big defensive plays on back-to-back plate appearances. First, second baseman Jurickson Profar—the only dude to bat in runs on the night—laid out for a little blooper near the first base line to keep Kyle Farmer off base. Joey Votto sent the very next pitch deep to center field and even though it cleared the wall, defensive wizard Ramon Laureano committed a robbery.
Fiers wrapped up the no-no—the 13th in A’s franchise history and the 300th in major league baseball history—with a nice little breaking ball in the dirt.
Fiers—who I suppose passes for the A’s ace this season—had not been pitching all that well heading into last night’s game. He was 2-3 with a 1.54 WHIP and a 6.81 ERA, which is the highest ERA for a pitcher at the time of a no-hitter since the stat was first recorded in 1913. He also has the third-highest career ERA for a pitcher with two no-hitters. All in all, it was a very in-character night for the Oakland A’s, who are strange and maybe not that good this season and have a bedraggled rotation and a failing ballpark but can still put together some perfect days out here and there.