Our Stats & Information Department reports that entering Monday's action we've had 25 no-hit bids of at least five innings, compared to 18 through May 8 of 2010. Home runs dropped from 172 from April 25 through May 1 to 142 over the past week. Yes, the pitchers appear to be taking over.
Now, all these no-hit bids don't necessarily mean we're back in 1968 ... or does it? Here's a table comparing different yardsticks of pitching dominance over the past five years, plus some selected years from the past.
The upticks compared to last year are minor, other than the percentage of 90-plus gems would be the highest of the years on the list since 1988, a notorious pitcher's year. The six 90-plus starts so far:
Cliff Lee's 12-strikeout, 1-walk, 3-hit shutout on April 14 (Game Score: 92).
Ian Kennedy's 10-strikeout, 0-walk, 3-hit shutout of the Phillies (91).
Dan Haren's 8-strikeout, 2-walk, 1-hit shutout of Cleveland (90).
Justin Verlander's, 4-strikeout, 1-walk, no-hitter (90).
Jaime Garcia's 8-strikeout, 1-walk, 2-hit shutout of Milwaukee (90).
Tim Hudson's 6-strikeout, 1-walk, 1-hit shutout of Milwaukee (90).
By the way, that was two Game Scores of 90 against the Brewers over three days. Ouch.
We've yet to see a Game Score that matched the best of that 1988 season, which featured nine games of 93 or better, led by a 96 from the Yankees' John Candelaria (9 IP, 2 H, 0 BB, 13 SO) and a 96 from Roger Clemens (9 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 16 SO). Candelaria also had a 95, a 12-strikeout two-hitter. Clemens and Kansas City's Mark Gubicza each had three games of 90-plus. That was also the year Dave Stieb threw three one-hitters, including his final two starts, when he lost no-hitters with two outs in the ninth.