This season has been one of a kind. Two of the biggest stories is the insane number of no-hitters and controversy. It only makes sense that there is some controversy surrounding no-hitters.
In 2020 the MLB implemented a rule that made all double headers seven inning games. This rule has continued into 2021 and based on a couple occurances a big question has been posed.
Should seven inning no-hitters count as official no-hitters?
The First Sightings
On April 25th the Arizona Diamondbacks faced off against the Atlanta Braves for a double header. In game two the DBacks had a struggling Madison Bumgarner on the mound. They desperately needed a good start from Bumgarner whose ERA was at a rough 8.68. The DBacks got exactly what they hoped for.
Going into the bottom of the seventh the DBacks were winning 7-0 and Bumgarner was dealing. Marcel Ozuna came up with two outs in the seventh for the Braves and he flew out to deep right field. As the final out was recorded the game ended with zero hits allowed by Bumgarner.
Bumgarner became the first pitcher to ever throw a seven inning no-hitter. Unfortunately, this feat was not recognized as a true no-hitter due to the fact that it was only seven innings, instead of the required nine.
Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays became the second team to dominate on the mound in the second game of a double header. They took on the Cleveland Indians at home on July 7th. Unlike the DBacks game, the Rays successfully tossed a no-hitter with five different pitchers.
In the bottom of the seventh Harold Ramirez stepped into the box as the last hope for the Indians. He drove the first pitch he saw from Pete Fairbanks all the way to the right field wall for the final out.
Even though it was already understood that their no-hitter would not be ruled a official it still begs the question of whether or not it should.
Should 7-inning No-hitters Count?
The simple answer is yes, they should be official no-hitters.
The MLB made double header games seven innings which makes them official games. A normal game is nine innings, however if all double header games stop at seven innings that makes it a normal game.
Pitchers should not have a no-hitter taken away from them just because they happened to have their best stuff working in a shortened game.
A no-hitter should be recognized as official in any game that is ruled as an official game. Madison Bumgarner and the Rays pitching staff should be credited with an official no-hitter.
The MLB record for most no-hitters in a season is eight and so far this season there have been seven. These two would break the record.
It does not seem likely that the higher ups in the MLB will change their mind any time soon, yet this has been a wake up call for them to have a serious discussion.
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