It’s been more than four years since the San Francisco Giants were on the giving end of a no-hitter.
And yet, despite that mini-drought, the team has still pitched a quintet of no-nos over the last decade.
No-hitters are, of course, on the mind of Giants fans at this time every year, because of the anniversary of Matt Cain’s perfect game - one of the greatest days in Giants history.
Here, watch it: It’s the best nine minutes of Giants baseball you’ll see all year.
I have a weird infatuation with no-hitters. Something about the statistical improbability, mixed with the cleanness, mixed with it being in irrefutably positive thing (unlike some statistical improbabilities). I get a no-hitter tingle with every game, and it doesn’t disappear until the Giants pitcher allows a hit.
I remember vividly when Tim Lincecum threw his first no-hitter. He had a long first batter, and a very long first inning, and I remember thinking after both, “Well, that’s going to make a no-hitter difficult”.
The Giants don’t currently look like a team that should throw a no-hitter, but that never stopped them before. Their current run was started by Jonathan Sanchez, of all people. It featured two no-hitters from post-good Lincecum. It was concluded by Chris Heston, who has started 20 games in the four years since.
They come in odd places.
I always assumed Madison Bumgarner would throw one, but that’s looking less likely every day. So here are the five players most likely to throw the next Giants no-hitter, in completely unscientific fashion.
5. Sean Hjelle
Sean Hjelle doesn’t project to be a top tier starter, but here’s what he does project to be: Extremely tall.
Sometimes, one unique advantage is all you need.
Heston’s no-no came in just his 13th career start. There’s something special about being something that your opponent has never seen before.
Randy Johnson hasn’t played in a while, meaning it’s unlikely that anyone Hjelle faces in the big leagues has seen anything quite like him. A no-hitter in the midst of a 4.80 ERA rookie year feels about right.
4. Logan Webb
There is no one on this unscientific list who is more unscientific than Logan Webb. I just like the guy, okay?
We’re going to see a lot of Giants prospects take the mound in the next three years, and Webb is likely to be one of them. He has some exciting pieces, and a decent name for the no-hitter department.
Ask me tomorrow and I’ll say Gregory Santos, but for now I’m taking the exciting farm arm who’s in AA.
3. Johnny Cueto
Lest we forget, Johnny Cueto is still on this team. And he’ll almost surely be a part of the rotation next year.
Is it likely that a pitcher returning from Tommy John surgery throws a no-hitter? No. But then again it was never likely that the runner of an equine Instagram account, who binges Costco crab legs would become an MLB ace, but here we are.
Greatness is possible every time Cueto takes the mound. I expect that to remain the case when he returns, even if the overall results take a hit.
2. Shaun Anderson
Shaun Anderson isn’t blowing anyone away, but he’s pitching solidly enough that his spot in the roster seems secure for quite a while. That can only be said for Anderson and . . . wow, that can literally only be said for Anderson. Maybe Jeff Samardzija? I guess Jeff Samardzija. But mostly Anderson.
Anderson’s profile doesn’t scream “no-hitter”, but then again neither did Sanchez’s, Heston’s, or late-stage Timmy’s.
But he’ll be out there, and he’ll likely be decent. Sometimes that’s all it takes.
1. Tyler Beede
Tyler Beede has been electric, but bad.
The beauty of no-hitters is the just require a few hours of suppressing the bad while keeping the electric. That’s always possible!
So far Beede’s year has been bookending loud contact and walks with swing-throughs that make you say, “no wait just a darn minute...” The odds say that it’s quite possible he’ll have an outing where he strings together a lot of those brilliant moments with none of the bad ones. It’s not out of the picture.
And, personally, I would find great joy in Beede taking a break from getting rocked to throw a 15-K no-hitter.
In conclusion, the Giants next no-hitter will come from some dude you’ve never heard of who comes to San Francisco in the Sam Dyson trade.