Madison Bumgarner took the hill on Sunday afternoon in Atlanta for a game that was to last seven innings. Bumgarner walked the distance for the Arizona Diamondbacks to beat the Braves 7-0. His official stats will reflect a win, a shutout, and an entire game – but not the signature part of success.
Bumgarner threw a no-hitter. Kind of.
To speed up the process during the coronavirus pandemic, Major League Baseball stated last season that games played as part of a double header would only last seven innings instead of nine. Sunday was the first time since then that a pitcher has thrown a no-hitter into a double header – except that he doesn’t count as one.
The league said on Sunday that it would stick to the Elias Sports Bureau’s definition: “No-hitters from teams and individuals will not be credited in scheduled seven-inning games unless the game goes to additional innings and that.” Team (or the individual) in a full game) at least nine innings and does not allow a hit. “
Just don’t tell this to the Diamondbacks.
“It was a seven innings game and we didn’t give up hits in seven innings,” said catcher Carson Kelly. “That’s how I’ll see it. Whether the league says “unofficially” whatever it is, I think it’s a no-hitter. We were told we were playing seven and he took care of business. “
For Bumgarner, who played in three World Series for the San Francisco Giants in the 2010s, it was definitely the best start of his two seasons with the Diamondbacks that signed a five-year contract for $ 85 million in December 2019. He was 2-6 with a earned run average of 7.16 in 13 starts in Arizona, none of which lasted six innings.
Against the Braves, who only scored one goal against Zac Gallen in the first double header game, Bumgarner was stunning. He hit the at least 21 hits, hit seven and allowed only one base runner, Ozzie Albies, who scored a throwing error from shortstop Nick Ahmed in the second and was immediately deleted in a double game.
“He was basically perfect for seven full innings,” said Arizona manager Torey Lovullo. “So it’s a no-hitter for me and it will be forever. I don’t know what the rulebook will say, and I don’t know if Major League Baseball will recognize it. But for what’s going on in this room right now, for the special feeling Madison gave us today – it was a no-hitter. “
The 31-year-old Bumgarner has thrown four one-hitters, including three no-hitters through seven innings. He said on Sunday that he probably could have finished it this time.
“I mean, I would have tried,” he said, adding that there were too many variables to be known for sure. “If it works for seven, it’s hard to imagine it won’t work for two anymore.”
Bumgarner was not as emphatic as his catcher and manager on how to classify his performance. But it has not dismissed its importance.
“I didn’t give up any hits today,” he said. “I have no control over how many innings we play. I like the seven innings double header thing. I dont know.”
Baseball tried in 1991 to sort this out with a special statistical accuracy committee chaired by then Commissioner Fay Vincent. To be an official no-hitter, a game would have to meet this simple and narrow definition: “A pitcher or pitcher had to throw an entire game of nine innings or more without allowing a hit.”
In order to, Dozens of no-hitters were redefined as “Notable Achievements” in the Elias Book of Baseball Records. Many had been shortened by rain, including a five-inning no-hitter from Montreal’s Pascual Perez in 1988 and a six-inning appearance from his brother Melido in 1990 for the Chicago White Sox.
More recently, a Boston rookie, Devern Hansack, threw a rain-shorted no-hitter with five innings on the last day of the 2006 season. Like the others – and Bumgarners – it is not one of the 307 games that fit the current definition.
Adam Darowski, User Experience Director for Sports Reference – that’s on Baseball reference – – tweeted on Sunday it should be a no-hitter as Bumgarner’s game has reached its “pre-determined end point” with no hits allowed. By that definition, two more games should be rated as no-hitters: eight-inning no-hit losses to the Yankees Andy Hawkins in 1990 and the Red Sox Matt Young in 1992. Both games were on the road, so the winning team did not end up in ninth place.
However you classify Bumgarner’s game on Sunday, it mattered to a three-time champion who showed he didn’t lose his inner ace.
“It has to be up there,” said Bumgarner when asked where the moment stands for him. “I’m definitely quite proud of it.”