Last Monday, pitcher Ronel Blanco of the Houston Astros threw the first no-hitter of the new MLB season in a 10-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

With four Astros pitchers unavailable due to injury, Blanco was allowed to start just his eighth-ever MLB game, and he seized the moment.

According to Astros statistics, Blanco threw 105 pitches, including 36 changeups, 34 sliders, 31 fastballs and four curveballs. He struck out seven batters and forced 59 swings and 20 misses, half of which came on his changeup pitch.

Throwing a no-hitter – where you give up zero hits pitching an entire game of baseball – is one of the most outstanding achievements in baseball. MLB hitters are getting better by the day, and no-hitters are becoming increasingly rare, especially as MLB teams constantly add depth to their bullpens. In 2022 and 2023, only eight no-hitters were pitched in total, four each year.

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This is the first no-hitter an Astros pitcher has thrown since Michael Lorenzen threw one for the Philadelphia Phillies in August 2023. Framber Valdez, also in August 2023, was the most recent pitcher to do so before Lorenzen. Only 323 no-hitters have been thrown in MLB history since 1876.

Blanco will join an elite, unique list of MLB pitchers, but he’ll likely be happier about becoming a fundamental part of the Astro’s pitching rotation. Blanco earned another start on Sunday and hadn’t given up a hit until the sixth inning. Some of his teammates thought he would become the second pitcher in MLB history to throw back-to-back no-hitters, but he was unlikely to last the whole game. Blanco was taken out in the sixth inning as he gave up one hit approaching 90 pitches. Nevertheless, he earned another win, leading the Astros to a 3-1 victory over the defending World Series champions, the Texas Rangers.

The Astros are now 4-8 on the season and will expect another strong performance in Blanco’s next start.

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