If I had asked you to bet on one team throwing a no-hitter in Thursday’s Cubs-Dodgers game, you’d have quickly opted for the home team. Not only was Zach Davies coming off an abysmal performance against the Marlins at Wrigley, but he’s not exactly a misser of bats even when he’s dealing. Walker Buehler, on the other hand, has the kind of stuff that could have stifled a Cubs lineup that hasn’t been hitting well in June.
Ah, but perhaps Uncle Ferris — pay no mind to the fictional nature of the character, nor the different spelling of his name — may have had a little influence as his hometown team opened a big series in Chavez Ravine. Buehler made like a butcher and hung several center-cut offerings, only one of which ended up mattering in the end as Javier Báez launched a solo shot in the first to provide all the offense the Cubs would need.
A Willson Contreras two-run shot in the top of the 6th padded the lead and paved the way for what ended up being a group effort on the mound. Davies was anything but efficient, walking five and needing 94 pitches to labor through six hitless innings, and there was no way he could have completed the no-no on his own. So with men at the corners and no out in the top of the 7th, David Ross lifted his starter.
Jake Marisnick ended up getting an inconsequential RBI bleeder, then it was the bullpen’s job to hold the lead. Keeping the Dodgers hitless was also on the docket, though that’s a reliever’s job any time he enters the game anyway. Interestingly enough, each member of the Cubs’ three-headed lockdown relief monster walked a batter in his respective frame.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) June 25, 2021
Ryan Tepera got three outs via contact with a four-pitch walk to Gavin Lux thrown in for good measure, then Andrew Chafin issued a one-out walk to Mookie Betts before a double play erased it. Craig Kimbrel walked leadoff batter Chris Taylor before striking out the next three batters on 10 pitches to slam the door emphatically. It wasn’t the prettiest game anyone’s ever seen, but damn if it wasn’t fun.
Here’s a little more:
- Now with 17 overall no-hitters, this was the first combo effort in Cubs franchise history.
- The Cubs have thrown the last two no-hitters in both Dodger Stadium and Miller Park/American Family Field.
- After going 38 years without a no-no, the Cubs have thrown five in the last 13 years and four in the last five years: Carlos Zambrano (9/14/08 vs. Astros in Milwaukee); Jake Arrieta (8/30/15 vs. Dodgers in LA); Arrieta (4/21/16 vs. Reds in Cincinnati); Alec Mills (9/13/20 vs. Brewers in Milwaukee); Johnny Wholestaff (6/24/21 vs. Dodgers in LA).
- This was the fifth consecutive road no-no for the Cubs, with the Milt Pappas gem on September 2, 1972 standing as the last at Wrigley.
- Kimbrel entered the game unaware that he was trying to close out a hitless performance and only realized it when the team rushed onto the field. Chafin was also unaware. Only Tepera knew what was on the line during his outing.
- This was the third combined no-hitter in the Cubs organization this season, after Iowa (5/9) and Myrtle Beach (6/23) both accomplished the feat.
- Contreras caught the no-hitter and homered, making him the first Cubs catcher to do that since Ross in 2016. (h/t Chris Kamka)
- Buehler is the first pitcher to start a combined no-hitter and start a game in which his opponent threw a combined no-hitter. (Kamka)
- The Cubs and White Sox have now both thrown no-hitters in consecutive seasons.
- MLB has seen seven no-hitters already this season, tying the modern-day season record set in several previous seasons.
Pretty wild stuff, huh? A lot of you are probably kicking yourselves for missing it, but it’s hard to blame you for crashing early when the start time is so late. And to be honest, it’s still hard to believe the Cubs ended up with even a shutout, let alone a no-hitter, when they walked eight batters.