Baltimore Orioles’ John Means no-hit the Seattle Mariners yesterday in a 6-0 win. It even came close to being a perfect game. In the third inning, Means struck out the Mariners’ Sam Haggerty on a curveball that hit the dirt. If a strike three pitch doesn’t cleanly end up in the catcher’s glove, the struck out hitter is allowed to attempt to go to first base. Most of the time, the catcher either tags the runner or throws a force out to first.
Yesterday was not one of those times.
Haggerty was able to get to first base safely. Means still got credit for the strikeout but also got credit for a wild pitch. If you’re wondering why it was not scored as a passed ball, blaming catcher Pedro Severino, it’s because the ball hit the dirt. Whenever a pitch results in the ball making contact with the dirt, the blame is always placed on the pitcher.
It turned out to be a nothing burger, mostly. Haggerty attempted to steal second base, and Severino threw him out.
Normally I think no-hitters are overrated
I’ve gone on record saying no-hitters are overrated. Most of the time, this is true. What was different about this no-hitter is what it represents. The Orioles have been bad for a very long time.
I moved to Maryland in 1994. When I got here, the O’s were a decent team and fun to watch. Then from 1998 to 2011, they were terrible. At the organizational level, they seemed comfortable wallowing in their terribleness. Then from 2012 to 2016, they were competitive again.
Things began to go bad again in the 2016 Wild Card game against the Toronto Blue Jays. The Orioles lost in extra innings because of Buck Showalter’s dumbness. Zack Britten, the Orioles’ closer and the 2016 American League Relief Pitcher of the Year, never entered the game. When asked why Britten didn’t make an appearance, Showalter told the media it was because it wasn’t a save situation. He left the Orioles’ best pitcher on the bench in a must-win game because he clung to the weird rule that the team’s closer doesn’t go into the game unless it’s a save situation.
The wheels fell off after that. Since 2017, the Orioles have enjoyed a losing record.
The Orioles are in a rebuilding period
John Means’s no-hitter was the first Orioles no-hitter since Jim Palmer did it in 1969. That alone makes it a Very Big Deal™. Palmer provides color commentary for Orioles games. People who’ve never watched him pitch during his Hall of Fame career now know him from television.
Palmer has been the one Orioles constant since I’ve lived here. He’s Orioles royalty.
Technically, the O’s are in a rebuilding period. Every time a player demonstrates they are a contributor in the here and now, they get traded for draft picks. Will the Orioles trade the 28-year-old John Means before the trade deadline? Take away yesterday’s no-hitter, and Means is still having a quality season. He currently has an ERA of 1.37, a win-loss record of 4-0, and a WHIP of .607. I’m sure Means will get some heavy attention near the trade deadline. The question is, will the trade-happy Orioles bite?
I hope they don’t trade John Means, but I expect they will.