For the first time in franchise history, a San Diego Padres pitcher has thrown a no-hitter. Right-handed Joe Musgrove took down the Texas Rangers in a 3-0 victory to make history. It’s the first career without a hit for Musgrove and the first in the MLB season in 2021. Here’s a look at Musgrove’s reaction to the final out:
Musgrove beat 10 Rangers strikers, and nearly 70 percent of his pitches went to strikes. Musgrove threw 112 spots at night, 34 of which registered as shooters. He generated 15 swinging strikes, including eight on his shooter. He also forced three whiffs with his cutter and curveball. The only base runner Musgrove allowed came on a Joey Gallo hit-by-pitch in the fourth inning. Aside from the hit-by-pitch, which he followed up by pulling back the next 16 Rangers hits, Musgrove issued zero walks and his defense was flawless in the win.
Musgrove’s effort is the 305th no-hitter in big league history. There were two no-hitters in last year’s MLB season with 60 games: Lucas Giolito of the White Sox vs. Pirates and Alec Mills of the Cubs vs. Brewers. Mills threw the latest no-hitter, last season on September 13, 2020, and Victor Caratini, who caught for Musgrove on Friday night, was also the catcher of Mills in his no-hitter.
“Vic worked there,” Musgrove said in his post-game interview. “He’s done such a great job. I think we just emptied the tank with sliders and basket balls [in the last three innings], but Vic just did an incredible job of knowing when they were swinging at the first pitch. We were able to keep track of many of the counts and then throw some sinkers and cutters into the boys’ hands to get some quick outs and allow me to get that far down the game.
According to Caratini, he is the first starting catcher in MLB history to have captured consecutive no-hitters for various teams Sarah Langs from MLB. There are 10 other cases of a starting catcher catching consecutive no-hitters in MLB, but all of these were for the same team.
Musgrove, 28, is a San Diego County native and grew up as a Padres fan. Padres acquired Musgrove in a three-team deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates this offseason. Musgrove was 1-5 in eight starts with the Pirates last season despite a 3.86 ERA. He has a lifetime 30-38 record with a 4.28 ERA in 109 games (84 starts).
With Friday’s brilliant outing, Musgrove can now boast 28 consecutive pointless innings going back to last season with the Pirates. In his last four starts – all at least six innings – he has also recorded 39 strikes. In his Padres debut at Petco Park, Musgrove allowed no runs on three hits and no walks with eight strikes over six innings.
Here are three things to know about Musgrove and his special evening
Lots of firsts
Musgrove’s no-hitter was not only the first ever in Padres franchise history, but it was also the first in the 2021 MLB season and the first no-hitter to be thrown at Globe Life Field. Padres was the last remaining MLB club without a no-hitter. Padres, who has existed since 1969, had his closest chance back on July 18, 1972, when right-hand man Steve Arlin came out of a shy story. They went through 8,206 regular season games (52 MLB seasons) before Musgrove broke through. Now any active baseball franchise now has a no-hitter.
As for the young MLB season in 2021, we are barely a week removed from the opening day and Musgrove is already in dominant form to throw a no-hitter. The last time MLB fans saw a no-hitter so early in a season with 162 games was two decades ago when Hideo Nomo threw a no-hitter on the 4th of July 2001 against the Orioles at Camden Yards. Nomos no-no remains the earliest no-hitter after calendar date in Major League history.
Finally, Musgrove’s no-hitter became the first to go on the new Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. Sure, the Rangers would probably have preferred the storytelling to be on their side of the story, but alas. Globe Life Field – which has a retractable roof – opened in time for the 2020 season and hosted the NLCS and World Series with a limited number of fans present last season. At Friday night’s historic match, 27,575 fans were ready to witness Globe Life’s first no-hitter.
2. Homemade guy gets it done
This is probably the best part of this non-hitter in particular. Mouse Grove grew up in San Diego and took root in Padres. Now he is the first and only Padres pitcher to throw a no-hitter. His high school (Grossmont High School in El Cajon, California) was about 25 miles away from Petco Park in downtown San Diego. Mouse Groove even carries No. 44 in tribute to his favorite Padre growing up, right-handed Jake Peavy. It simply does not get more history book than that. When asked if he had ever dreamed of becoming the first Padres pitcher to throw a no-hitter, here’s what the right-hander said:
No, not me, man. Everyone dreams of getting the chance to throw a no-hitter. I have never even thrown a no-hitter in my life, so my first came today in this field. It’s great to have it in a Padres uniform and that it should be the first for the franchise. It’s incredible.
It was not a straight path to becoming a member of his hometown team. Musgrove was drafted in the first round by the Toronto Blue Jays in the MLB draft in 2011 before trading him for the Astros by the trade deadline of 2012. He made his MLB debut with the Astros in 2016 before winning the World Series with Houston in 2017. Then sent Astros Musgrove joined the Pirates as part of the Gerrit Cole deal in January 2018. Ten years after Musgrove was drafted, he finally went home to crack up for the Padres.
Stores well for 1-2-3 of the rotation
The Padres made sure everyone knew they were serious about contesting this offseason. It was a message that was made loud and clear, and one that is great for baseball. They went out and acquired Cy Young number two Yu Darvish, former Cy Young winner Blake Snell and of course Musgrove in trade. Then they made sure that Fernando Tatis Jr. does not come anywhere with its mega-contract. After their whirlwind of winter, the Padres entered the MLB season in 2021 with the third best World Series odds.
Now that we’ve seen what Musgrove is capable of doing with his broken stuff, albeit against a struggling Rangers lineup and very early in the season, it’s still a good sign for the Padres. The biggest thing that will help the San Diego enthron the Los Angeles Dodgers will be the trio with rotation purchases and their consistency on the mound. So far this season, both Snell and Darvish have looked solid. In the back half, Paddack struggled in his debut in 2021, and Lamet is currently on the 10-day injury list. Here’s a look at Padre’s rotation as it is expected to be used for the rest of the season:
- Yu Darvish, RHP
- Blake Snell, LHP
- Joe Musgrove, RHP
- Chris Paddack, RHP
- Dinelson Lamet, RHP
Sure, there are certainly concerns with the back half of the Padres rotation, but looking back at last year’s NLDS between the Padres and the final champion Dodgers, this new and improved 1-2-3 for San Diego could be a gamer.