In the history of MLB, dating past the turn of the 20th century, less then 30 men have thrown two or more no hitters. San Francisco Giants right-hander Tim Lincecum became the 29th player added to that list on Wednesday afternoon, as he tossed his second career no-hitter at AT&T Park against the San Diego Padres. His first no-no came less than a year ago, as he also no-hit the Padres.
For Lincecum, his most recent date with MLB history comes after a stellar beginning to his career that saw him win back-to-back Cy Young Awards. After debuting in 2007, “The Freak” wowed baseball fans across the country with his hard fastball and devastating off speed combinations that led him to Cy Young’s in 2008 and 2009. The four-time All-Star became one of the most dominant pitchers in the game early in his career, but slowed down following his early success.
Lincecum dabbled in the bullpen in the postseason after a disappointing regular seasons from 2010-2012. He played a crucial role in the Giants’ World Series championship teams in 2010 and 2012, both as a starter and as a reliever. But his no-hitters have come at a time when his best numbers are years behind him.
When he no-hit the Padres in 2013, it followed a demotion to the Giants bullpen after early season struggles. He found his groove against the weak-hitting San Diego franchise. He dominated, throwing his first complete game of the season while striking out 13. He entered the game with a 4.00-plus ERA and with a record of 5-8 when he tossed the gem.
Against the Padres on Wednesday, it was much the same. He struck out nine and allowed a lone walk on his way to the 113-pitch gem. His ERA is still a relatively high 4.42 while his record now jumps over .500 to 6-5. The craziest stat of the day, besides a pitcher no-hitting the same team less than a year apart, is that Lincecum had two more hits than the Padres.
What this no-hitter does for baseball fans is to act as a reminder that the best pitchers may not ever throw a no-hitter. Some of baseball’s best never come close to this accomplishment. But on any given day, a pitcher can have his best stuff and enter the history books. For Lincecum, it appeared as though his best pitching days were behind him early on in his MLB career.
But now, for the second time in his career, he has thrown a no-no.