The Los Angeles Angels had a touching tribute for their fallen teammate, Tyler Skaggs, on Friday night. With every player wearing his jersey, they combined to throw the 11th no-hitter in franchise history in their first home game since his death on July 1.
In many ways, this moment just felt meant to be. There were certainly shades of Dee Gordon — who was part of the losing Seattle Mariners’ performance — homering after honoring then-Marlins teammate José Fernández in 2016.
Even beyond the historic nature of the game, there were plenty of other fascinating facts and figures from the combined no-hitter. For one, the game finished just hours before what would have been Skaggs’ 28th birthday on July 13.
Here’s a quick round-up of the most interesting insights.
The most recent combined no-hitter in California
Combined no-hitters are very rare. Of the 301 no-hitters in major league history, just 13 have involved multiple pitchers. After all, it’s hard enough for one pitcher to be untouchable, let alone two or three or six.
Oddly enough, five of those 13 combined no-hitters have taken place in California, but the most recent one before Friday came on July 13, 1991. As Stats Inc. points out, that was the day Skaggs was born.
More serendipity with Skaggs’ birthday
With the team going on to score six more runs the rest of the way, that gave them a 13-0 win. And once again, 7/13 is Skaggs’ birthday.
“You can’t make this stuff up,” Mike Trout said after the game. “He was definitely looking over us tonight. He’s probably up there saying we’re nasty and just what an unbelievable game to be a part of. I’m speechless. This is the best way possible to honor him. It was pretty crazy.”
Trout playing to honor Skaggs
The biggest catalyst in the Angels’ first inning was all-world center fielder Trout, who was drafted 16 picks before Skaggs in 2009. Trout homered in his first at-bat and drove in another run with a double later in the inning.
Trout has been his usual dominant self this season, but he’s been even more impressive since the end of May. Seemingly honoring Skaggs, he has reached base 45 percent of the time in his last 45 games — or 45.1 percent if you want to get technical.
A dominant Angels performance
The Angels’ last no-hitter came from Jered Weaver on May 2, 2012, when they topped the Minnesota Twins 9-0. In fact, that was the team’s largest of margin of victory in a no-hitter before Friday.
Overall, the 13-0 win is tied for the fourth-biggest margin in a no-hitter of all time, and it’s tied for third if you don’t count Pud Galvin's no-hitter in 1884 between the Buffalo Bisons and Detroit Wolverines.
Angels players had to push their limits
Two Angels played a key role in preserving the no-hitter, chiefly reliever Felix Peña, who followed opener Taylor Cole with seven dominant innings. That tied Peña’s season high, and he hadn't topped six innings in over two months.
Peña’s dominance was even more impressive considering he carried a 7.40 ERA with 29 hits and 13 walks in his previous 24 1/3 innings over six outings.
Every no-hitter seemingly also has a big defensive play to keep it alive, and this one came from another unlikely hero. Rookie Matt Thaiss was manning the hot corner after just making the transition from catcher and first base this season. His diving stop in the sixth stole a single from Mac Williamson.
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