On Friday night at Safeco Field in Seattle, Tom Wilhelmsen delivered the Mariners 114th pitch of the game to Andre Eithier of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Unbeknownst to Tom, Eithier’s sharp hit ground ball to second would complete the 10th combined no hitter in big league history. Kevin Millwood started the game and pitched six innings before bowing out with a groin injury.
The bullpen was more than satisfactory as 5 relievers delivered the second no hitter inside of Safeco Field this season. (Philip Humber of the Chicago White Sox threw a perfect game against the Mariners back in April)
A no hitter is quite a feat, especially from six different guys. To have them firing on all cylinders on the same night speaks wonders about the rarity of the moment. It’s a moment so rare that Tom had no idea what he had just been a part of until his catcher Jesus Montero gave him the good news.
After replaying the highlights and the final out, I let my thoughts drift to the difficulty of the situation. For a combined no hitter, you have to rely on every guy that takes the mound to have good stuff, whether it’s just one reliever or the record of five. (Good defense never hurts either). This also seems a disadvantage to the batters because they are seeing a new pitcher every inning (Unless of course certain pitchers don’t have their best stuff).
Then you have the traditional no hitter with the starting pitcher finishing the opposing team off. You would think after seeing one pitcher for an entire game, the offense would somehow figure him out. Obviously this is not the case when a pitcher is just completely dominating but it makes the question all the more relevant.
So what does everyone think? What do you believe is more difficult? A no hitter completed by the starting pitcher or a combined no hitter?