Since their birth in 1969, the San Diego Padres have sought after the elusive no-hitter. Padres fans have witnessed several teases, including three occasions in which former Padre Chris Young took a no hitter into the eighth inning or further; both Andy Ashby and Clay Kirby took no-hit bids in to the ninth inning. In 1972, Steve Arlin’s no-hit bid was spoiled with just one out to go.
On Sunday, it happened again. This time, Odrisamer Despaigne teased Padres fans with an impressive no-hit performance that lasted into the eighth inning at PETCO Park. For 45 years, or 7,264 games, Padres fans have craved the chance to celebrate a no-hitter. With two outs in the eighth inning, New York Mets 2B Daniel Murphy prolonged the miserable streak for Friar fans, lining a double to left-center.
In what has been a forgettable year in San Diego, Despaigne nearly provided an unforgettable moment at PETCO Park on Sunday. He dazzled New York hitters with a curveball that dropped as low as 66 mph, and a fastball in the low-90’s.
On a positive note, the Padres may have something in the 27-year-old rookie. Despaigne’s 1.31 ERA since June 23 is the sixth best in the National League, trailing just Clayton Kershaw, Edinson Volquez, Adam Wainright and Tim Lincecum. Through his first five starts in the big leagues, the Cuban-born right-hander has yet to allow more than two runs in a single start.
Padres fans will be forced to endure yet another day as the only franchise in baseball history to have not thrown a no-hitter, but it is in the performance of young players like Despaigne and fellow SP Jesse Hahn where they will find glimpses of hope.