We are continuing with our 2014 Top Moments countdown, this time with our #2 moment: The first combined no-hitter in franchise history.
The Phillies bullpen was a bright spot for the team in 2014. While they only held the 11th-best ERA in the NL, a lot of that had to do with the fielders behind them. Their FIP (Fielder Independent Pitching), was good for sixth in the NL, and they had the highest strikeout rate (K%) in the league as well. Their 7753 pitches were good for 8th in the NL, and, while they gave up fly balls at the highest rate (38.2%), they usually kept it in the ballpark. Only 7.5% of those fly balls reached the seats–good for sixth-lowest.
Why am I saying this? Because the bullpen was a huge part of the combined no-hitter back on September 1.
Starter Cole Hamels threw just six innings before being pulled. He had 108 pitches and it was a hot day in Atlanta. He gave up five walks and had seven strikeouts. Jake Diekman relieved him, followed by Ken Giles, and finally Jonathan Papelbon to close it out. They each threw a perfect inning, combining for five strikeouts in the process.
There have been just five combined no-hitters that used four pitchers. They allowed four stolen bases, which is the most ever for a combined no-hitter. At 190 minutes, this was the longest no-hitter in history. Carlos Ruiz has now caught three different no-hitters–two of them being Roy Halladay‘s. Read more about the stats behind the no-hitter here.
The Phillies won the game 7-0, and, for a team that was out of the playoff race and playing a division rival, the combined no-no was a huge win an amazing moment.