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 Tigers debating reasons behind flurry of no-hitters

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Number of posts : 57424
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Location : Eastern Ohio, near Wheeling WV
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PostSubject: Tigers debating reasons behind flurry of no-hitters   Sun Jun 27, 2010 8:16 pm

Last Updated: June 26. 2010 11:47PM
Tigers debating reasons behind flurry of no-hitters
Chris McCosky / The Detroit News

Atlanta -- Four no-hitters, two perfect games, one memorable imperfect game by Armando Galarraga and it's not even July yet?

What is this, 1967? Has Major League Baseball become a pitcher's league all of a sudden?

"Let's not get carried away," Justin Verlander said.

There was a lot of talk among the Tigers in the wake of former teammate Edwin Jackson's 149-pitch no-hitter Friday. Is the rash of pitching gems just an early season fluke, an anomaly, or is it an indication of something deeper and more permanent?

"Everybody's talking about it because of all the no-hitters and perfect games," manager Jim Leyland said. "That's why there's been more of an emphasis on it. But do I think it's a trend? No.

"I've seen good pitching, don't get me wrong. It's different now. You've got guys every night throwing 95-96 mph. Starters aren't going complete games any more so you are seeing a different guy in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings then a top-notch closer in the ninth.

"Eventually that's going to catch up with you."

Those five masterpiece pitching performances and the absolute domination of Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez aside, it should be noted that the league's hitting numbers aren't far off last year's pace.

In 2009, the league average was .262 while the average ERA was 4.31. Through Friday night this season, the average was at .259 while the ERA was 4.17.

Power numbers this season, though, are way behind last year's pace. Last year, teams averaged 168 home runs. So far this year, teams are averaging 68 home runs.

Is all of this an indication that the league's more stringent anti-drug policies are working? Tigers' catcher Gerald Laird thinks so.

"You hear guys talking about different eras and how you can't use amphetamines anymore or steroids; I don't know," he said. "Without some of the boost some of these guys had, honestly guys are human beings. In day games after night games you can see guys are more tired. I just think pitchers have more of an advantage now.

"Over 162 games guys are going to be tired. Pitchers are going to have an advantage. I think they are cleaning up the game and it's good for baseball."

Brandon Inge isn't buying the drug-free argument.

"I don't think you can put it all on that because the majority of players didn't do that (use steroids); not everyone did it," Inge said.

Inge said the difference is in the quality of pitching.

"There is just so much movement on the pitches now that wasn't there before," Inge said. "You've got guys throwing balls that are sinking so much at 95 mph. The average speed in the Major Leagues now is like 93 mph. When I came up it was 87-88. Now they have sinkers, cutters, straight four-seamers, curves, sliders, split-fingers and change-ups. The number of pitches you have to recognize as a hitter now is overwhelming.

"I don't think it's a decrease in hitting, it's that the pitchers are that much better. That's my opinion."

Quartet of gems

A look at the no-hitters this season:

April 17: Ubaldo Jimenez, Colorado at Atlanta (4-0)

May 9: Dallas Braden, Oakland vs. Tampa Bay (4-0; perfect game)

May 29: Roy Halladay, Philadelphia at Florida (1-0; perfect game)

June 25: Edwin Jackson, Arizona at Tampa Bay (1-0 (313) 222-1489

From The Detroit News:

“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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