As they do every year, Jordan’s Furniture, a major sponsor of the Red Sox, is having a big baseball sale. This year, they offered to make any furniture bought between March 28 and today (May 20) free if a Red Sox pitcher or pitchers throw a no-hitter (games shorter than nine innings do not count) between July 17 and the end of the regular season. Should you buy furniture? Will the Red Sox pitch a no-hitter after July 16?
For those of you who are undecided on whether to give in and buy some new furniture, I have done some research about no-hitters based on the fact that there have already been 3 no-hitters in 2018. Based on the data, I calculated the chance of a Red Sox no-hitter during the time that the Jordan’s Furniture sale counts towards (July 17-end of the regular season). You can also come to your own conclusions, as I have provided my official data below. I looked at every regular season no-hitter since 1990 (according to ESPN) and tallied up all the no-hitters each year. I split it into no-hitters before July 17 and after July 16, and I also looked at how many were thrown by Red Sox pitchers.
I have provided 5 PDFs with my research:
No-Hitters By Year After 7/16: Baseball Bits #8_ No-Hitters – After
No-Hitters By Year Before 7/17: Baseball Bits #8_ No-Hitters – Before
All No-Hitters By Year: Baseball Bits #8_ No-Hitters – All
Summary Pivot Table: Baseball Bits #8_ No-Hitters – Summary Pivot
List of All No-Hitters From ESPN (Cut out data from before 1990 and during the postseason) with data I added for this article: Baseball Bits #8_ No-Hitters – Master Data (Note: The “Count of No-Hitters” column was just used to help set up the pivot table)
The “Baseball Bits”
- Since 1990, the average number of no-hitters per year is 2.79
- There is an average of 1.03/year after July 16
- There is an average of 1.76/year before July 17
- Based on this data, not only are we ahead of the average pace for no-hitters before July 17, we are ahead of the average pace for no-hitters all season
- However, in the last 10 years:
- The average number of no-hitters/year is 3.6 (2.2 before July 17, 1.4 after July 16)
- In the last 10 years, we are only a little ahead of average pace for # of no-hitters before July 17, and we are not quite at the average pace of no-hitters/year
- Since 1990, there have been 5 other years when there have been 3 or more no-hitters before July 17 – in those years, the average number of no-hitters after July 16 is 2.2
- We have not had 3 no-hitters by May 8th since 1969
- Since 1990, there has only been one time (2010) where we have even had 3 no-hitters by June 1st
- There were 5 no-hitters that year (1 was after July 16th)
- The Red Sox have thrown 4 no-hitters since 1990
- It has not happened since 2008
- 3 were before 7/17 (thrown by Jon Lester (2008), Derek Lowe (2002), and Hideo Nomo (2001))
- Only 1 was after 7/16, thrown by Clay Buchholz in 2007
- Just a cool anomaly about this year’s no-hitters: They have all taken place in different countries (Paxton in Canada, Manaea in USA, Buehler/Garcia/Cingrani/Liberatore combined in Mexico)
Based on my research, my previous baseball knowledge, and WHIP of MLB starters in recent years, I have concluded that there is 60.5% (about 3 in 5 chance) of a no-hitter somewhere in the MLB after July 16. The average of 2.2 no-hitters after July 16 when there has been 3+ before July 17 (data based on no-hitters since 1990) has had a big influence on these odds. But I couldn’t say there was a 100% chance of a no-hitter because I cannot tell the future. You have to factor in the fact that although there has been an increase in recent years, no-hitters are still very rare and unpredictable. You really cannot be more than 75% confident that one will occur during that time. I have calculated the chances of a no-hitter by the Red Sox as a 2.82% chance. This was influenced by the MLB odds because I divided those odds amongst all 30 MLB teams based on recent WHIP of starters and what I already knew before my research.
If the Red Sox throw a no-hitter, it will likely be from one of two pitchers. Chris Sale’s WHIP is extremely low, and if he gets into a good rhythm and limits his pitch count, he could toss a no-hitter. However, you have to factor in late-season fatigue that is common for Sale as well as the fact that he often throws too many pitches to go deep into a game, even in the case of a no-hitter. They will probably not keep him in for more than about 150 pitches even if he has a no-hitter, at least with Alex Cora managing. He could start off a combined no-no if he has thrown too many pitches by the 7th or 8th despite a dominant game. He would need backup from an inconsistent bullpen for that though.
I think it is more likely that Rick Porcello throws a no-hitter. His WHIP has been very low this season as it was in 2016, his Cy Young winning year. Porcello is more of a ground-ball pitcher and is usually pretty consistent throughout the season. These traits help increase his odds of a no-hitter, especially if he continues to dominate this season (he is 6-1 with a 3.39 ERA).
However, since it is extremely difficult to predict a no-hitter for any team, I would not recommend going all out buying furniture. If you need furniture, go right ahead, but I wouldn’t spend much more than you normally would because I still think there is less than a 3% chance that the Red Sox pitch a no-hitter.
“MLB No-Hitters.” ESPN, ESPN Internet Ventures, http://www.espn.com/mlb/history/nohitters.