Baseball is a sport with ebbs and flows. Around 20 years ago, home runs were rampant across the sport. In 2022, a dead ball and a lack of steroids have changed that. This week has shown that pitching is in a strange place. I'll resist the temptation to Tarantino three separate stories that all tie together in the end. Never mind, that is exactly what I am doing. Here it goes.
Miles Mikolas Gets Close
"So close, but Miles away." This title shockingly was not written by this writer. It was written by (friend) Janice Scurio. Mikolas came so close to a no-hitter on Tuesday night but was thwarted by a Cal Mitchell double on a 2-2 count with two outs in the ninth inning. Talk about heartbreaking. This would have been the Cardinals' first no-hitter since 2001. Mikolas had a great game adding six strikeouts and one walk while throwing 129 pitches. Over his last two starts, Mikolas has been on fire. He's pitched 16.2 innings with 15 K's, only two earned runs, and given up only one walk. He's been one of the best pitchers in the majors lately by a country mile. Sorry, I am done with puns. For now.
Tyler Anderson Also Gets So Close
Tyler Anderson was written off by baseball fans everywhere. "Mediocre" has followed Anderson for a while. Fan blogs from other teams were celebrating when Anderson signed with the Dodgers. They're not celebrating now. Anderson's career ERA is 4.44. In 2022, Anderson is 8-0 with a 2.82 ERA and 63 K's in 67 innings. His ERA+ is sitting at an elite 150. On Wednesday night, Anderson took a no-hitter in the 9th inning. The no-hitter was erased by reigning AL MVP Shohei Ohtani. A cutter caught just a little too much of the plate, and Ohtani pulled it down the right-field line for a triple. Mookie Betts dove for it but was not close to pulling it in.
It was still a terrific performance from Anderson who is yet another example of the Dodgers' ability to turn potential into results. The Dodgers swept the Angels in their 'freeway series.'
Two Immaculate Innings
As if another no-hitter watch wasn't enough fun pitching news on Wednesday night, this one may be the most extraordinary. Houston Astros pitchers Luis Garcia and reliever Phil Maton each threw an immaculate inning in a Tuesday game versus the Texas Rangers in a 9-2 victory. In the 2nd inning, Garcia needed only nine pitches to strike out Nathaniel Lowe, Ezequiel Duran, and Brad Miller. In the 7th inning, Maton needed only nine pitches to strike out Nathaniel Lowe, Ezequiel Duran, and Brad Miller. No, I didn't accidentally copy and paste. I purposefully did because the immaculate inning featured the same three batters. This marked the 106th recorded immaculate inning in major league history, and obviously the first time it has ever happened in the same game.
For Mikolas and Anderson, it was a frustrating ending to two well-pitched games. It is mind-boggling that these two almost no-hitters didn't even come close to being the most unique thing to happen on an MLB mound this week. This is to say nothing of the fact that two different games on Wednesday featured position players pitching in blowouts. With the dead ball lowering hitting stats across the board in MLB, get ready for more pitching accomplishments.