On Sunday in Detroit, Matthew Boyd threw the first shutout of his three-year major league career, but the story of the Tigers' game against the White Sox was what nearly happened.
With two outs in the ninth inning, Tim Anderson doubled off Boyd to break up what would have been the eighth no-hitter in Tigers history.
Boyd would have been the first left-hander with a no-hitter for Detroit, as the seven previous no-hitters were thrown by five different right-handers, most recently when Justin Verlander threw his second no-hitter in 2011.
Boyd had never previously taken a no-hitter into the seventh inning, and Sunday was Boyd’s first major league complete game, as he’d never gotten a ninth-inning out in 56 previous games.
Had the no-hitter happened, Boyd wouldn’t even have had bragging rights in his hometown. Boyd was born in Bellevue, Washington, which is also the birthplace of Tim Lincecum, who tossed no-hitters in 2013 and 2014.
Thanks to Lost in the 9th, which documents near no-hit bids, we know that the Tigers have now lost six no-hit bids with two outs in the ninth inning. That’s the second-most by any team in MLB history, behind only the White Sox (seven).
Chicago avoided being no-hit for the first time since 2011, when none of the nine players in Sunday’s White Sox lineup had debuted in the majors.
Boyd shut down the White Sox with some of his best swing-and-miss stuff. His 30 percent miss rate was the third-highest in any of his 53 career starts.
He relied on his offspeed pitches, throwing them 54 percent of the time, his sixth-most in a start this season. Boyd also threw 54-percent offspeed pitches when even or behind in the count. That was was important because he threw only 52 percent first-pitch strikes, and he didn't get a single hitter to chase the first pitch.