Matt Garza No Hits Detroit

The Rays finally learned what it’s like on the good side of the no hitter today. Matt Garza faced the minimum tonight against the Detroit Tigers, walking only one batter. Garza added six strikeouts as well, and finished the job in 120 pitches.

To be sure, this Detroit Tigers lineup is not the lineup that was 31 runs above average entering this season. Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Guillen, and Brandon Inge were out, replaced by Will Rhymes, Don Kelly, and Ryan Raburn. Ordonez is a well above average hitter, and Guillen and Inge have performed around average this season. Tonight was Rhymes’s third major league game. Raburn has struggled mightily this year but is projected around average. Kelly has also struggled mightily, but his struggles, according to ZiPS, are more indicative of his true talent. This lineup is demonstrably worse, but the presence of players like Miguel Cabrera, Austin Jackson, Brennan Boesch, and Johnny Damon still signify some firepower in the Tigers’ lineup.

That said, no hitting any major league lineup is impressive, and we can’t ignore the fact that the Tigers lineup just might contain the best hitter in the American League. How did Garza do it? His four-seam fastball was utterly dominant. He threw a whopping 96 four-seamers out of his 120 pitches. Sixty-seven of these four-seamers went for strikes and ten of those 67 went for swinging strikes, both of which are fantastic numbers. The Tigers just couldn’t put good wood on the fastball. The pitch type linear weights over at Brooks Baseball have Garza’s flour-seamer at a staggering 6 runs above average tonight. That mark would rank 33rd among all pitchers in baseball over the course of the whole season; Garza’s fastball was 3.5 runs above average entering the game.

Games like tonight are the reason that Tampa Bay was willing to deal a top prospect like Delmon Young for Matt Garza. Garza’s performance immediately goes down as the most memorable performance by a Rays’ pitcher, and this performance on a national stage will make sure that anybody who wasn’t paying attention to the Rays before is paying attention now.

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35 Responses to “Matt Garza No Hits Detroit”

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  1. Roid Cycle Down says:

    How did he do it?

    Garza faced a struggling, injury depleted lineup in an era of increased drug testing. That’s how.

    Oh, and for what it’s worth, Scherzer had a no-hitter himself before getting jobbed on the interference call and wound up surrending the Grand Slam.

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  2. Jeff Francoeur says:

    The no-hitters seem to have fairly low K numbers…

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    • Smallball Tony says:

      How would you know anything about low K totals Mr. Francoeur?

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    • Teej says:

      Don’t most? It’s hard to strike out nine or 10 guys and still make it through nine innings.

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    • DavidJ says:

      Not really. No-hitters simply highlight the difference between using K/9 and K%. Six strikeouts in nine innings looks unimpressive (the league average is about 7 K/9, after all), but when you only face 27 batters (as both Garza and Braden did), it’s actually very good–22%, compared to the major league rate of about 18%. Only 21 starting pitchers in the majors this year (out of 110 qualifying) have struck out at least 22% of the batters they’ve faced. Roy Halladay, Felix Hernandez, and Ubaldo Jimenez are all at about the 22% mark for the season.

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  3. Josh says:

    While it’s certainly impressive and I’m not trying to take away anything from Garza, but the Tigers lineup is awful.

    1) Jackson, as well documented, has a BABIP fueled .317 AVG, and has struggled mightily since April
    2) If you shut down Miguel Cabrera, this lineup is pretty no-hittable any day of the week.
    3) Boesch has something like one hit since the all-star break
    4) Gerald Laird would be a backup catcher or in the minors on any other team in baseball
    5) Will Rhymes, Don Kelly, Ryan Raburn, and Danny Worth are all virtually AAAA players at this point.

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    • Dwight S. says:

      Jackson struggled for 5 or 6 weeks from mid May and June but he has turned it on again in July batting .354 with a .906OPS and since the All Star break he’s hitting .444 with a 1.112OPS. But yeah other than that I agree with the rest of this. Laird sucks big time, and Rhymes, Kelly, Raburn and Worth are mediocre offensively to say the least. Definitely one of the weaker major league lineups you’ll see. With that said though it’s still tough to throw a no-hitter no matter who you face so hats off to him.

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    • Jason B says:

      “this lineup is pretty no-hittable any day of the week.”

      Um…no. Don’t oversell your point by making an outlandish, hyperbolic claim like that. “The lineup was below average,” or something to that effect, will do just fine. =)

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  4. SSO says:

    So many bitter haters. Way to go Matty G!!

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  5. Nikolai Volkoff says:

    It will sound like sour grapes, but the ump had a strike zone like a rectangle several inches off each corner. Then was calling a high strike over the top of the strike zone. I had the rays feed and both scales and kev kennedy said upton was out at second on the steal. The catchers interference could have been ignored, maybe considering how like many players the batter crawford had his left foot behind the chalk line.
    The Tigers had 6 rookies, yeah Jackson and Boesch have been playing regularly, and overall well, outside of a slump in July for Boesch, but still Rhymes, Kelly, Worth, and Laird is about 20 points below the mendoza line, and Raburn, well he is really a platoon player and should be in against lefty pitchers. But with 3 starters gone in 5 days, it’s a mash unit.
    After all that, I do congratulate garza for pitching an outstanding game. His 4 seamer had some great movement on it. Add in a couple of line drives right at crawford and zobrist, a bit of luck too which you need to maske this kind of history. Excellent pitching. Tigers fans just move on to the next game and hope for the best with Cabrera, Damon, and the AAAA munchkins. Dombrowski has his work cut out for him the next 4 days, and whatever he does, won’t be enough for this what was really a transition year for the Tigers.

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  6. TheImpossibleMan says:

    It’s amusing on how people are focused on Detroit’s injuries, as though this is the first time a team has ever been hit by injuries and forced to play backups. The Orioles were a bad team on Opening Day, AND THEN injuries reduced their lineup to a bunch of AAA players – and they never got no-hit, because getting a no-hitter is both lucky/flukey and really hard.

    Congrats to Garza on an amazing game. I hope we see, like, six more no-nos before the year is over.

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  7. Buizly says:

    I thought only Scott Baker threw a “flour-seamer”…

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  8. pft says:

    Based on my observation the strike zone is larger this year, this causes hitters to swing at more balls out of the zone, and generally makes it easier for the pitcher. Thus more no hitters and more pitcher flirting with no hitters.

    If you look at Fan Graphs O-Swing data, you will see the weighted average of teams O-Swing% has increased from 25.1% in 2009 to 28.9% in 2010. That’s a 15% jump. Seems significant, and supports my hypothesis that it’s the strike zone.

    Also, the wild swings in HR rates in the AL from 2008 to 2009 (up 13% and 2009 to 2010 (down 17%) while the NL rates have been relatively stable smacks of some funny business with the ball, either at the MLB level or the team level.

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  9. bonestock94 says:

    2nd no-hitter/pg I’ve had to root against this year.

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  10. OaklandDan says:

    While the point still stands, it’s a bit odd that Gerald Laird wasn’t mentioned in this piece. Laird is maybe the very worst hitter in major league baseball, bench players excluded (and even if they’re included maybe). Also, no mention of the fact that Leyland didn’t send a single pinch hitter up there. Pathetic and, frankly, just dumb.

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    • OaklandDan says:

      Dumb of Leyland, I mean, not Jack Moore.

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      • OaklandDan says:

        Oops, my mistake. Santiago pinch hit, but still, it’s Santiago. No Avila, no Larish, etc.

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      • Dave Wagner says:

        Leyland was kicked out of the game early on, so any managerial complaints should be directed toward Gene Lamont

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      • Dwight S. says:

        Actually Lloyd McClendon takes over when Leyland gets kicked out so you can’t blame Leyland on this one.(even though I’m sure he’d probably do the same thing) But to their defense it’s not like the Tigers have many great options on the bench, I believe all they had was Larish, Santiago, Avila and Sizemore and none of them are exactly offensive juggernauts. Personally I think Rhymes has no business seeing a major league field, let alone batting 2nd so I guess Sizemore could’ve PH for him but his last AB was in the 7th inning so he might have figured the Tigers were gonna muster up a hit after that.

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  11. Josh says:

    Some of the responses here are true gold :D

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