If you follow baseball, you know that Madison Bumgarner threw a seven-inning “no-hitter” in game two of Sunday’s Diamondbacks vs. Braves doubleheader.
Did he actually throw a no-hitter though?
The answer to this question will vary depending on who you talk to, but according to the MLB rulebook, Bumgarner did not throw a no-hitter on Sunday.
Bumgarner pitched seven hitless innings, which was the maximum on Sunday, but that was not good enough to be remembered in the MLB record book.
Bumgarner Blanks the Braves
Calling Bumgarner’s performance on Sunday a seven-inning no-hitter is not wrong. If you check out the scorebook, you will see that he pitched seven innings and did not give up a hit.
He will receive credit for a complete-game shutout, but he will not be the 308th no-no in baseball history.
Bumgarner was fantastic over seven innings on the hill in Truist Park in Atlanta. He did not walk a single batter, and he struck out seven in the outing. He followed Zac Gallen, who gave up a single hit in game one against the Braves in the doubleheader.
Why is it Not a No-Hitter?
The on-field celebration at the end of the Diamondbacks vs. Braves game on Sunday seemed like Bumgarner had just made history. The official scoring for Bumgarner’s performance was a complete game shutout and not a no-hitter.
After the game, Matt Kelly from MLB.com clarified why Bumgarner would not receive credit for a no-hitter.
“According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Major League Baseball’s official statistician, neither a team nor an individual pitcher will be credited with a no-no in a scheduled seven-inning game of a doubleheader — unless that game goes to extras. If the contest extends to at least nine innings and that pitcher (or a team’s group of pitchers) has still not allowed a hit, then it goes down in the history books as a no-no”
In 1991, MLB Commissioner Fay Vincent that a no-hitter must go nine innings to be official in the record book. Therefore, any seven-inning game cannot be considered a no-hitter unless it goes to extras.
In 2021, where all doubleheader games are seven innings in length, there will be no chance of any records unless the games go to extra innings. With pitchers being more efficient than ever, this is likely to happen again in 2021.
There have already been two no-hitters in 2021, so expect the controversy to occur again over a seven-inning contest.
Seven-Inning No-Hitter: Why is this Not a Rule?
Before I begin my rant, I want to say that a seven-inning no-hitter is not as impressive as a nine-inning no-hitter. It takes six more outs to pitch nine hitless innings, so most people should agree with this statement.
With that being said, Madison Bumgarner should receive credit for a no-hitter after blanking the Braves on Sunday. The fact that MLB does not credit his performance is a disgrace to the game and disrespectful to the former All-Star.
How can a pitcher receive credit for a complete game shutout where he did not give up a hit and not have it be marked as a no-hitter?
If MLB is not calling it a no-hitter, it should not be called a complete game. Bumgarner went as far as he could in the game without giving up a hit.
The contest was seven innings in length, and Bumgarner pitched all 21 outs without giving up a hit. It’s not Bumgarner’s fault that his name was called in a seven-inning game.
He did everything he could at a very high level. MLB needs to change their current rule because this is unfair to all pitchers who toe the rubber in a seven-inning game.
Tanner Kern is a writer for Knup Sports and the Sports 2.0 Network. He is the host of Between the Lines, the official show of Baseball Spotlight, and the main contributor for the website. Connect with Tanner on IG @tannerkern and Twitter @tannerkern_.