Predicting the Season’s First No-Hitter
Yu Darvish nearly twirled the 24th perfect game in MLB history after retiring the first twenty-six batters to face him in his first start of the season. On Wednesday, A.J. Burnett lost a no-hit bid in the seventh inning against the St. Louis Cardinals when Carlos Beltran hit a booming double to right field.
The first step of the process is to list the pitchers most likely to throw a no-hitter. Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez, Stephen Strasburg, Yu Darvish, Matt Harvey, and F12 leader Adam Wainwright are prime candidates. Next, identify the opponents in the upcoming schedule least likely to collect a base hit. Finally, make a selection using the information above and ballpark factors.
- Verlander (KC 4-24 / MIN 4-29 / HOU 5-4)
- Kershaw (NYM 4-23 / MIL 4-29 / SF 5-4)
- Hernandez (HOU 4-22 / LAA 4-27 / TOR 5-3)
- Strasburg (NYM 4-19 / ATL 4-29 / PIT 5-4)
- Darvish (SEA 4-19 / LAA 4-24 / CHW 4-30)
- Harvey (WAS 4-19 / LAD 4-25 / MIA 4-30)
- Wainwright (PHI 4-18 / WAS 4-23 / CIN 4-29)
The five most anemic batting average clubs in MLB are the Pittsburgh Pirates (.222), Chicago Cubs (.221), Seattle Mariners (.220), Tampa Bay Rays (.212), and Miami Marlins (.209).
After further review, Verlander, Kershaw, Hernandez, and Wainwright are eliminated based on the opponent batting averages in their next three starts.
From the remaining three pitchers: Strasburg has never pitched more than seven innings in an MLB start. Darvish pitches against the Seattle Mariners at Rangers Ball Park in Arlington. The hitting environment is too much to overlook.
The last pitcher standing is Matt Harvey of the New York Mets. The right-hander has allowed only 6 base hits in 22 IP this season. Harvey is scheduled to start against the Miami Marlins on April 30. Using the process strategy, the 24 year-old phenom will hurl the first no-hitter of 2013 in the Sunshine State.