Jered Weaver's no-hitter on Wednesday night was the 10th in Angels history. That's tied for the most since 1961 by any club. Of course, they have current Rangers CEO and president Nolan Ryan to thank for that. Ryan tossed four of his no-hitters for the Angels (1973 vs. Tigers, 1973 vs. Royals, 1974 vs. Twins, 1975 vs. Orioles).
But Weaver's no-hitter got me thinking: Which Ranger is most like to throw a no-hitter and how would you rank the current pitchers in order of most to least likely to toss a no-no? (In honor of Ryan's seven no-hitters, let's pick seven pitchers in order)
Here's my list:
1. Yu Darvish: If he gets ahead with his fastball and has all of his breaking and off-speed stuff working, he's got no-hitter potential for sure. There have already been flashes this season where he's looked like that (ask the Yankees and Blue Jays). Darvish showed an ability to be efficient despite a high strikeout rate the other day and is pitcher deeper into games now than he did his first few starts. With his arsenal, Darvish tops the list.
2. Derek Holland: He has the ability to miss bats and fool hitters. And he showed in Game 4 of the World Series last year (not to mention some big starts down the stretch) that he can pitch under pressure, clearly something that's needed if you're going to throw a no-hitter. Holland has the tools to do it.
3. Alexi Ogando: This might seem a strange entrant, but if he ever returns to the starting rotation he's got a chance. His secondary stuff is better than Neftali Feliz and teams have trouble hitting him in small doses now. Why couldn't he put that together for nine innings if everything went right? He gave up four or fewer hits in at least eight innings of work twice last year.
4. Matt Harrison: I think his stuff is underrated. He can throw his fastball in the mid 90s and down in the zone. He isn't afraid to let his defense help him, either, by letting batters put balls in play. And with the Rangers' defense behind you, that's a smart strategy.
5. Neftali Feliz: Still needs more time to develop his secondary stuff, but you can see that the ingredients are there to pull a no-hitter off. If he mixes in the slider, changeup and that electric fastball, it could all come together.
6. Robbie Ross: He's young and gaining some valuable experience. And the 22-year-old lefty is already showing he can get hitters on both sides of the plate. Like Feliz, he needs more seasoning. But I still think he's a starter long-term and once he gets there, the experience of pitching in the big leagues for a contender should only make him better.
7. Nolan Ryan/Greg Maddux: Don't laugh. I bet the 65-year-old Ryan could probably still throw the ball in the high 80s (maybe even hit 90) if given some time to get his arm in shape again. The question would be if his legs would allow him to pitch all nine innings. He could still intimidate up there and certainly knows what it takes to throw a no-hitter. After all, the man has seven of them. It sure would be fun to watch him try to do it again, wouldn't it? As for Maddux, his Hall of Fame career doesn't include a no-hitter. That's difficult to believe. But he's got the guile and pinpoint location to do it.
Note: Colby Lewis would have been next on my list, but we've limited this to seven spots (OK, I cheated and threw eight in there).
So what's your order of pitchers on the Rangers that could throw no-hitters? Is Darvish the most likely?