Tim Lincecum of the San Fransisco Giants threw a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres last night, his second against the hapless Padres in less than a year. Only last week, Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers, threw a no-hitter against the Colorado Rockies.
A no-hitter is when an opposing team fails to register a hit for the entire game. They can still get on base from a walk. That doesn’t break up a no-hitter.
No-hitters are overrated and really kind of dumb. They’re celebrated far more than they should be. At no time in a baseball game is the outcome decided by the number of hits. Games are decided by runs. After nine innings of play, the team with the most runs wins.
The most important statistic from last night’s Giants-Padres game is not the fact that the Padres were not allowed on base because of a hit, but that the Giants scored four runs and the Padres didn’t score any. The no-hitter wasn’t even the second most important stat from last night’s game. That would be that Lincecum was able to pitch nine whole innings without the need of relief from the bullpen. Granted, he threw 113 pitches last night, far more than he is normally allowed to throw in a game.
Does it really matter how Lincecum kept the Padres from scoring any runs?
If a pitcher takes the mound thinking about the other team not getting a hit, he is doing his team a disservice. A pitcher’s intent should be to get 27 outs, using the fewest possible resources. By resources, I mean pitches thrown and the utilization of relief pitchers in the bullpen. The more pitches thrown, the more likely their arm will get tired, and the more likely they wont be able to complete the game, requiring relief from the bullpen.
Considering that Lincecum doesn’t normally throw 113 pitches in a game, how ready will he be for his next start?
I think way too much importance is placed on no-hitters.