Corey Kluber’s no-hitter against the Texas Rangers on Wednesday marked the sixth no-no of the season in the majors. Seven if you count Madison Bumgarner’s seven-inning unofficial no-hitter.
The modern record for most no-hitters in a season is seven — set in 1990, 1991 and 2012 — which MLB pitchers should shatter this year.
The prevalence of no-hitters has some wondering if it is actually a good thing for baseball. Among those asking this question is Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, who threw a no-hitter of his own back in 2014.
“No-hitters are cool and I have all the respect in the world for Corey Kluber and [Bumgarner] and all those guys that have thrown no-hitters,” he told reporters, per the New York Post. “But to have one happen very night … it’s probably not good for the game.”
Kershaw’s words are certainly brow-raising as the three-time Cy Young Award winner may be the most notable person to speak out about the negative impact on the prevalence of no-hitters and the lack of offense in general.
While MLB’s offensive numbers were trending up, hitters entered Tuesday’s games hitting .236/.313/393 overall, per CBS Sports, which is the league’s lowest batting average ever and lowest on-base percentage since 1968. Home runs are also down from last year, at 1.14 per game compared to 1.28 and 1.39 in 2019.
Part of this could be due to the deadened ball after MLB faced recent years of criticism that the ball was juiced.
Kershaw believes the new deadened ball may have backfired.
“Well, it’s not good,” he said. “I’ll tell you that. I think whatever the intention was with the new ball or whatever it may be, it really hasn’t done anything. There might be less home runs, which I guess they want, but I don’t know the stats on all that.
“But I do know that strikeouts are the same. I think I saw some stats for April that it was the worst hitting month in history or something.”