It happened. It really did happen. The New York Mets threw their second no-hitter in its 61-year franchise history on Friday night against the Philadelphia Phillies. It was also the first combined no-hitter in franchise history and the 17th combined no-no in major league history. But the fact that it was the Mets that did it, and how and when they accomplished this unique feat made it that much more fascinating and fitting.
There are several considerations for fans to think about reflecting on this historic moment
Consider the offense they faced. The Phillies, a team that revolves around their potent, top-heavy offense, led the National League in runs scored on the season entering Friday's action.
Consider the weight and opponent of this game. This is the fourth of 19 meetings this season against a division rival in the Phillies that is expected to contend for the playoffs alongside them. And it was the Phillies' Jim Bunning that tossed a perfect game against the Mets at Shea Stadium on June 21, 1964. This part of the New York-Philadelphia sports rivarly added another memorable chapter to it last night.
Consider some of the circumstances that led to the sequence of events that happened last night, and the Mets went through a lot of them.
Consider the 99-day lockout, which threw off everyone's normal pitching rites in spring training. Pitchers have not gone deeper into games, because of strikeouts and walks at all-time highs, which consume a lot of pitches. The Met threw 159 pitches in the combined no-hitter last night, the most ever for a nine-inning no-hitter. It kind of made it more impressive because every pitch represents an opportunity for the hitter to get a hit.
Speaking of strikeouts and walks, the Mets struck out 12 Phillies batters while walking six, while nine batters worked full counts, driving up the pitch count. The Phillies worked competitive plate appearances against the Mets, and could not muster a single hit off of it.
The game’s best pitcher in Jacob deGrom is hurt. His supposed turn in the rotation came up tonight. His replacement, Tylor Megill, tossed the first five of the hitless innings. There were questions about if the rotation without deGrom would be strong to begin the season, and he continues to pass tests with flying colors. And now he finishes April with a 4-0 record and a 1.93 ERA.
Then consider how the 2022 New York Mets have started their season. It's been an opening three-week act that was dulled by hit-by-pitches, galvanized by three benches clearing moments, and vindicated by a winning no nonsense atttude that translated into baseball's best record through the 22 days of the season. The no-hitter last night should be seen as a reward for the shenanigans they have faced and it is another special bonding moment for a group already with many of those.
Then glance over the history of the franchise. The Mets have always been known much better for its pitching, and you find greats like Seaver, Koosman, Gooden, Franco, Santana, and deGrom. Casual fans would say why this franchise only has two no-hitters to show for six decades of baseball when other teams have had much more, and that it took until the team’s 8,020th regular season game and 51 years of Mets baseball to get the first one. Then five pitchers combined for nine no-hit innings in the 9,507th game in team history last night. That is a testament to a franchise that is built on its pitching.