Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Ronel Blanco throws seven no-hit innings against Tigers, but Astros’ combined no-hit bid falls short

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Houston Astros righties Ronel Blanco and Ryan Pressly combined for 7 2/3 no-hit innings to begin Sunday’s contest against the Detroit Tigers (GameTracker) before Wenceel Perez singled to break up the no-no bid.

Blanco, Houston’s 30-year-old starter, was responsible for seven of those frames. He entered Sunday owning a 2.67 ERA (145 ERA+) and a 2.39 strikeout-to-walk ratio over his first 12 starts this season. Those numbers include his first start of the year, back on April 1, when he blanked the Toronto Blue Jays for the first (and to date, lone) no-hitter of the 2024 MLB season. There’ve been many close calls since, but only Blanco has sealed the deal. 

Had the Astros gone the distance, Blanco’s second no-no would have been the 324th in MLB history. It would’ve also been the 18th in Astros history, which would tie them for the third most for any individual franchise. The Los Angeles Dodgers (26) and Chicago White Sox (20) are the only clubs with more. The Astros have, of course, become a no-hitter factory in recent years — they’ve recorded six no-hitters since the beginning of the 2019 season. If Houston accomplished the feat on Sunday, it would have been the 21st combined no-no in Major League Baseball history.

Additionally, Blanco would have become the 36th pitcher to ever record at least two no-hitters in a career. Coincidentally, the only active pitcher with more than two to their name is Blanco’s teammate Justin Verlander, who has thrown three (most recently on Sept. 1, 2019). 

The Astros entered Sunday with a 32-39 record on the year, putting them nine games back in the American League West. Houston was also 6 1/2 games back of a wild card spot thanks to a slow start to the season that saw them endure a handful of injuries to their rotation. In an odd twist, those injuries helped create an opening for Blanco, and it’s fair to say that he’s since taken full advantage of the opportunity.

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