The Detroit Tigers were a charter member of the American League in 1901. Up until Saturday, they had thrown just eight no-hitters in their 122 years.

Now they have nine after a no-hitter win against the Blue Jays. Although this no-hitter isn’t so special because it took three pitchers to combine for it.

Matt Manning went the first 6 2/3 innings. He was pulled then by Tigers manager A.J. Hinch after 91 pitches.

Why? That wasn’t even a season-high pitch count for Manning. He had thrown 96 pitches in his last start.

Why not give Manning a chance at achieving this rare feat?

The Tigers are 39-49. Where are they going? Was it so important for Hinch to protect a 2-0 lead by going to his mediocre bullpen that it was worth depriving Manning an opportunity at everlasting glory, not to mention the more than 30,000 fans who could have witnessed history?

Combined no-hitters seem to be an accepted norm in baseball nowadays. Just another way the game has been cheapened.

There was once a legendary game played at Candlestick Park in San Francisco between the Braves and Giants. The pitchers were 42-year-old Warren Spahn and Juan Marichal. The game went 16 innings with the Giants winning, 1-0, on a Wille Mays’ home run.

Do you know how many pitchers were in that game? Two – Spahn and Marichal. Spahn threw 201 pitches at 42 years old. Marichal threw 227 pitches.

That game was played in 1963. It’s still talked about.

But I seriously doubt 60 years from now anyone will talk about the Manning/Jason Foley/Alex Lange no-hitter of the Blue Jays.

Baseball tries so hard to be modern and analytical. Metrics and arcane statistics are in vogue. This progress, though, is costing the sport its human element. 

I doubt Manning would have completed a no-hitter. But I would have liked to have seen him given the opportunity. Pull him after he gives up a hit if you have to, but at least give him a shot.


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