Tag Archives: hideo nomo

Did You Know? – Red Sox Shutouts

With a no-hitter thrown in May and last Thursday night’s win over New York at Yankee Stadium, starting Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester has pitched two shutouts in 2008, the first Boston pitcher to toss more than one in a season since Hideo Nomo threw two in 2001. He is also the first Red Sox southpaw to toss multiple shutouts in one season since Bruce Hurst threw three in 1987. As pitch counts have limited the opportunities for starting pitchers to throw a complete game, let alone toss a shutout, these feats have become more and more the rarity in today’s ball game. Over the past 25 seasons going back to 1984, only 12 pitchers have multiple shutouts to their credit as a Boston starter; of those pitchers, only seven have at least three and only two, Roger Clemens (38) and Hurst (11), have a double-digit total. Former ace Pedro Martinez is third in that span with eight, throwing four in 2000; fourth is Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd, who tossed six over the 1984 and 1985 seasons and fifth is another former Red Sox lefty, Bob Ojeda, who recorded his five career shutouts with Boston in 1984.

In team history, Clemens is tied with another former Boston great, Cy Young, for the most shutouts in team history, although Young did that over eight seasons while Clemens accomplished his total over 13 seasons with the club. Standing alone in third place in Smoky Joe Wood with 28 over eight years with the club, while Luis Tiant is fourth with 26 over eight seasons and Dutch Leonard is fifth with 25 over six seasons. The single season record for the franchise is 10, accomplish by Young in 1904 and Wood in 1912; Babe Ruth is third with nine in 1916, and Clemens (1988) and Carl Mays (1918) are tied for fourth with eight.

Buy Boston Red Sox tickets from VividSeats.com

Comeback Complete – Lester Pitches No-Hitter

Less than two years after being diagnosed with cancer, Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester threw the 18th no-hitter in Boston history Monday night, blanking the Kansas City Royals 7-0 with just two walks allowed while striking out nine at Fenway Park. Lester’s gem comes over eight months after fellow starter Clay Buchholz threw a no-no against the Baltimore Orioles last fall in the rookie’s second major league start, the first time since the California Angels in 1974 and 1975 that a single team has recorded back-to-back no-hitters – in that instance, both were thrown by Nolan Ryan. Lester, who was the winning pitcher in the final game of the 2007 World Series for the Sox, threw 130 pitches, 86 for strikes, in his first-ever complete game effort and became just the fourth left-handed pitcher to throw a no-no in team history, the first since Red Sox Hall of Fame pitcher Mel Parnell threw one in July of 1956.

After going 36 years between Dave Morehead’s no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians at Fenway Park in 1965 and former Japanese sensation Hideo Nomo’s feat in 2001 at Camden Yards against the Orioles, Sox pitchers have thrown four in the past eight seasons. Following Nomo’s performance in his first-ever start for Boston in the second game of the season, Derek Lowe threw Fenway’s first no-no in 37 years; five seasons later, Buchholz tossed the third one of the decade for Boston to begin the month of September 2007, only the third pitcher in major league history to throw in a no-hitter by his second career start.

Veteran backstop Jason Varitek also made history by catching his fourth no-hitter, the most ever in a career by a catcher, and it marked the fourth different pitcher that he has helped accomplish the feat. He even helped Lester’s cause by hitting a two-run home run to the grandstand in right field to plate the final two runs of the night for Boston. Lester’s command was near perfect in his bid, throwing first-pitch strikes to 19 batters, and the only threat by Kansas City came with two outs in the fourth, when Jose Guillen’s sinking line drive was caught by a diving Jacoby Ellsbury in center field to end the inning.

Did You Know? – Clay Buchholz and Red Sox No-Hitters

On Saturday night, Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz, making just his second career major league start, became the 17th player and first rookie in franchise history to toss a no-hitter as he held the Baltimore Orioles to just three walks while striking out nine on 115 pitches in a 10-0 Boston win. It was the first no-hitter thrown by a Boston pitcher since Derek Lowe no-hit Tampa Bay at Fenway Park back in April 2002, one year after Hideo Nomo threw his second career no-hitter against the Orioles at Camden Yard in April 2001.

The 23-year-old rookie, drafted by the Red Sox in 2005 as compensation for the loss of Pedro Martinez to free agency, also became the third pitcher to throw a no-hitter in either his first or second major league start; his only other start came two weeks ago against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the first game of a day-night doubleheader at Fenway. Buchholz also became the 17th rookie in major league history to throw a no-hitter and the third pitcher to throw a no-hitter this season. It was also the first time that he had thrown more than seven innings in a start for the Boston organization this season; he had thrown seven complete twice with Double-A Portland and once with Triple-A Pawtucket.

Ironically, Boston actually had the opportunity on the last day of the 2006 season to witness a rookie throw a no-hitter in just his second start. Devern Hansack, making his Fenway debut one week after his major league debut in Toronto, went five innings against Baltimore and, despite one walk, had faced the minimum 15 batters while striking out six. Unfortunately, the game was called on account of severe weather after five complete with the Red Sox leading 9-0; due to rule changes made in 1991 by Major League Baseball’s Committee for Statistical Accuracy, Hansack’s effort was not recognized as an official “no-hitter” in the record books since he had thrown fewer than nine no-hit innings.

In team history, only Cy Young and Dutch Leonard have thrown more than one no-hitter for the Red Sox and Young is the only Boston pitcher to throw a perfect game, the first in American League history. Oddly enough, no-hitters have come in bunches for Boston; nine were tossed between Young’s perfect gem in 1904 and Leonard’s second no-no in 1918. After Howard Ehmke no-hit the Athletics in Philadelphia in 1923, no Red Sox pitcher managed another one until 1956 when Mel Parnell threw one at Fenway Park against Chicago. Six years later, Earl Wilson and Bill Monbouquette threw no-hitters within five weeks of each other in 1962 and Dave Morehead threw a no-no against the Indians at home in 1965; it would then be another 36 years before the next Red Sox no-hitter and 37 years before a Red Sox pitcher would toss one in front of the home crowd at Fenway.

Did You Know? – Japanese Red Sox Ballplayers

With the hype surrounding Japanese pitching phenomenon Diasuke Matsuzaka as he prepares to make his MLB debut with the Boston Red Sox this spring, it’s worth noting the accomplishments of Japanese baseball players in Major League Baseball history. According to Baseball-Reference.com, in total, there have been 27 Japanese ballplayers who have worn an MLB uniform. The first such player was Masanori Murakami, who debuted at the age of 20 in September of 1964 for the San Francisco Giants; he would pitch one full season the following year before contractual obligations forced him back to the Nankei Hawks of the Japanese League, where he pitched another 17 seasons.

It wasn’t until thirty years later that another Japanese ballplayer, Hideo Nomo, would take the field with a Major League club. In 1995, “The Tornado” (named so for his winding delivery style) made his first start for the Los Angeles Dodgers versus the Giants in May of that season; at season’s end, he was 13-6 with a 2.54 ERA and 236 strikeouts, beating future NL MVP Chipper Jones by 14 points for Rookie of the Year honors. Six years later, in 2001, he would spend his first and only season in a Boston Red Sox uniform. The year began well for the then-32-year-old veteran; making his first start of the regular season in Baltimore, Nomo pitched the first official no-hitter by a Red Sox pitcher since Dave Morehead no-hit the Cleveland Indians at Fenway Park in 1965. Having thrown a no-hitter against Colorado in 1996, he became the fourth pitcher in major league history to throw a no-hitter in both the American and National Leagues. He would finish the season at 13-10 in 33 starts with a 3.09 ERA and 220 strikeouts and then return to the Dodgers in 2002 as a free agent.

Nomo was actually the second player of Japanese descent to play for the Red Sox; in July of 1999, Tomokazu Ohka made his MLB debut for Boston and would remain with the club until 2001 when he was shipped mid-season to Montréal in exchange for fellow pitcher Ugueth Urbina. Ohka began his baseball career in Japan with the Yokohama Giants of the Central League, where he was 1-2 in 34 appearances over four seasons. Starting at Double-A Trenton to begin the 1999 season, he went 8-0 with a 3.00 ERA in 12 starts; he was rewarded with a promotion to Triple-A Pawtucket and went 7-0 with a 1.58 ERA in 12 more starts. He soon made his major league debut as a mid-season call-up on 19 July; unfortunately, he lasted just one-plus innings in his first start, giving up five runs on five hits and a walk. He did not fair any better in his second start and was sent to the bullpen for the rest of the season.

The following spring, Ohka again started the year in the minors with Pawtucket and enjoyed another fast start, beginning the season with a 9-6 record and a 2.96 ERA in 19 starts, which included a perfect game against the Charlotte Knights on 01 June 2000. Once more, the Red Sox promoted him mid-season and, after saddling two more losses in starts with Boston, he finally earned his first major league win on 13 August in Texas against the Rangers, the first of three straight wins; at season’s end, he was 3-6 in 12 starts but with a respectable 3.12 ERA. He would begin the next season with Boston, winning two of his first three starts, but those would be the last wins for Ohka in a Boston uniform before the deadline trade. In total with the Red Sox, he compiled a 6-13 record in 25 starts and 33 total appearances with a 4.61 ERA.

Only one other Japanese-born player has worn a uniform for the Boston Red Sox, though many fans may not be familiar with this player’s heritage: Dave Roberts, one of the heroes of the 2004 World Series champions. Forever remembered in Boston lore for his stolen base in the ninth inning of Game Four of the 2004 ALCS, now often referred to as “The Steal,” his father, Waymon Roberts, was a Marine stationed in Okinawa, Japan; his mother, Eiko, is of Japanese descent. However, despite being born in the Land of the Rising Run, Roberts spent most of his youth in San Diego, CA. In total, counting players with other heritages, there have been 34 players born in Japan to don a major league uniform.