Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

What's with All These No-No's?

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

What's with All These No-No's?

Article excerpt

The year of the no-hitter appears to be upon us. From his locker, Dan Haren has a good view of the Angels' clubhouse television, and the latest breaking no-hit news.

"It seems like, at least once a week, someone has got one into the seventh or eighth inning," Haren said.

Matt Cain pitched a perfect game. Johan Santana threw a no- hitter, as did a sextet of Seattle Mariners. Ervin Santana and Jason Hammel threw one-hitters on the same day. R.A. Dickey threw one- hitters in back-to-back starts.

All that in June, a month that is barely half over.

"I guess it's becoming the year of the pitcher, or something," said the Angels' Jered Weaver, who threw his no-hitter last month.

The total this season is five, two shy of the record set in 1990 and matched in 1991. From 1992 until 2005, the first year players were subject to suspension for failing a drug test, the most no- hitters in a season was three.

The total of one-hitters this season is 11, after 19 one-hitters last year and 23 two years ago, according to baseball- The annual number of one-hitters from 1990 to 2005 ranged from seven to 19.

"Obviously, they have cleaned up the game as far as the steroid thing goes," Weaver said. "That's put everybody on a level playing field."

Yet the consensus in the Angels' clubhouse is that drug testing is far from the only factor in the flurry of low-hitters.

"And that goes both ways," C.J. Wilson said, "because there were pitchers doing it too."

Wilson talked of younger, less patient hitters who could give a pitcher a break or two. The drug bans - not only against steroids, but against amphetamines too - have reduced the effectiveness of older hitters, and teams have been more than happy to replace them with younger, cheaper players.

But it's not just about the money, Wilson said.

"Teams are paying for defense," Wilson said. "They are promoting guys to play defense."

Teams also are investing in technology, providing the data that encourages managers to apply the exaggerated shifts that can help foil hitters - three infielders on the left side against Albert Pujols, for instance, or three on the right side against David Ortiz. …

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