Detroit Tigers pitcher Matthew Boyd turned in a tremendous performance Sunday, but it could have been historic. The 26-year-old nearly threw a no-hitter against the Chicago White Sox before losing it with one out to go in the ninth.
After dominating the entire game, the only thing standing between Boyd and history was White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson. Boyd was sitting at 8 2/3 no-hit innings when Anderson stepped to the plate in the bottom of the ninth.
Boyd fell behind Anderson 2-0. On the third pitch, he threw a changeup that Anderson drilled to right center for a double to spoil the no-hit bid. Boyd would remain in the game and pick up a shutout after getting Yoan Moncada to ground out for the final out.
Though it ended in slight disappointment, it was an all-around excellent game from both Boyd and the Tigers’ offense.
After a perfect first inning, Boyd was immediately supported by his teammates. The club scored a run in the bottom of the frame to give Boyd the 1-0 lead. That would set the tone for both sides all game.
Boyd continued his perfect outing in the second, and was again given another run to work with by his offense. Boyd lost his perfect game in the third after a two-out walk to Rob Brantly. That didn’t stop the Tigers, though. They added another two runs.
That was pretty much how the game progressed in the middle innings. Boyd continued to stymie White Sox hitters while the offense continued to pound White Sox pitching. The Tigers scored at least a run in each of the first six innings. They led 9-0 at that point.
Boyd, meanwhile, was through the seventh with 91 pitches. While his pitch count was somewhat of a concern, Boyd threw 116 pitches in his previous outing. It was the second time in 2017 he exceeded 110 pitches in a start, so it appeared Boyd would be given a long leash.
After getting through the eighth, Boyd sat at 105 pitches. The Tigers didn’t need additional runs based on how well Boyd was performing, but they added a three-run homer in the eighth to bring their lead to 12-0. They would win by that score.
Boyd began the ninth on a promising note, forcing a weak popup and a weak groundout to come within one out of the no-hitter. That’s when Anderson stepped in and broke things up. Boyd finished the contest with a season-high 121 pitches. He left the field to a standing ovation and loud cheers from the fans.
Had Boyd gone the distance, it would have been the 297th no-hitter in Major League Baseball history. It would have also gone down as one of the most surprising, as Boyd had a 5.69 career ERA over 52 starts prior to the contest, and a 5.75 ERA on the season.
Boyd came into the game with a terrible track record at Guaranteed Rate Field. In six career starts there, he carried a 6.91 ERA.
With Boyd faltering, Miami Marlins pitcher Edinson Volquez remains the only pitcher to throw a no-hitter this season. If he had done it, Boyd would have been the first American League pitcher to accomplish the feat since Houston Astros starter Mike Fiers threw his no-hitter August 21, 2015.
Overall, it’s been a disappointing year for the Tigers. The club fell out of the postseason race, and traded away both Justin Upton and Justin Verlander at the waiver deadline.
Those moves may have signaled the start of a lengthy tear down for the Tigers. Things aren’t likely to be good again for a while.
For one day, though, Boyd’s nearly historic start helped fans forget about that. While he didn’t put his name in the record books, Boyd managed to turn in the Tigers’ most memorable moment in what has otherwise been a lost year.
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