Mets Finally Get Their No-Hitter

Fifty years. 8019 games. A list of some of the greatest pitchers to ever play the game on their all-time roster like Seaver, Ryan, Gooden. Ten pitchers who did it in their career BEFORE joining the Mets. Seven pitchers who accomplished it AFTER leaving the Mets. Opponents did it to the Mets six times, including Jim Bunning’s 1964 perfect game on Father’s Day at Shea Stadium. A grand total of 35 – THIRTY-FREAKING-FIVE – Mets pitchers had thrown 1-hitters including two by Tom Seaver who both times got into the 9th inning before giving up a base hit. But until Friday night, no Met in the entire history of the franchise had ever thrown a no-hitter.

Who could have even seen this one coming, too? In the fall of 2010, Johan Santana underwent surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder. It was the third year in a row that Santana had been injured and there was some legitimate concern that his career might even be over. He missed the entire 2011 major league season while rehabbing. His game-time that year consisted of 2 minor league starts in A ball against college-age level minor leaguers. Heading into 2012, there was no guarantee that Santana would even leave spring training on the roster, let alone be the Opening Day starting pitcher.

His early bullpen sessions in spring training were encouraging. He had some velocity; more importantly, his surgically repaired shoulder was responding positively after he threw. Se there was Johan Santana on April 5, 2012 on the mound for the Mets as the Opening Day starting pitcher. He went 5 scoreless innings against Atlanta while striking out 5. Six weeks later, he threw a complete game against San Diego in which he struck out 7. It was clear he was healthy.

Friday night, Johan Santana did something no one – not Seaver, Ryan, Gooden or any of the rest – had ever done in a Mets uniform. In the 8020th game in Mets franchise history, he threw a no-hitter. Eight strikeouts, five walks, and a career-high 134 pitches. Add in 20-25 warm-up throws in the outfield to loosen up, followed by another 35-40 pitches in the pre-game bullpen, plus another 8 pre-inning warm-up throws and you have a VERY busy evening for Santana. It’s no wonder manager Terry Collins was a bit guarded in his post-game press conference.

The game was not without a little controversy. What, after 50 years and 8019 games you thought it was going to be easy? Carlos Beltran’s liner down the 3rd base line in the 6th inning was incorrectly ruled a foul ball and there are some Cardinals fans whining about how the no-hitter should have an asterisk next to it. I would offer that those Cardinals fans should be more concerned that their team has scored but a single run over the last 27 innings against a gritty Mets team that is proving all of its detractors very wrong.

Congratulations to Johan Santana and the New York Mets. Let’s hope it’s not another 8020 games until the next one.

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