Edinson Volquez walked to the hill a determined man on Saturday afternoon. He wasn’t just pitching for himself, he was pitching for Yordano Ventura, his friend and former teammate who should have been celebrating his 26th birthday.
Hours before taking the ball against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Volquez honored his friend by posting a photo on Instagram. Then he honored his friend in the best way imaginable on the field, pitching the first no-hitter in MLB this season.
In doing so, Volquez also put an emphatic end to Major League Baseball’s no-hitter drought. Volquez’s no-no was the first of his career and the first in MLB since Jake Arrieta dominated the Cincinnati Reds all the way back on April 21, 2016.
The Marlins right-hander did it by overwhelming one of the best offenses in baseball, allowing just two walks in what amounted to a 3-0 win. And he clearly did it Ventura on his mind the entire way.
Following the game, Volquez also dedicated his performance to Jose Fernandez, the late who Miami Marlins ace who was killed in boarding accident last September.
In his postgame TV interview, Ed Volquez dedicated his no-hitter to Jose Fernandez and Yordano Ventura, who would have turned 26 today: pic.twitter.com/KwGsILhqtT
— Rustin Dodd (@rustindodd) June 3, 2017
A very classy gesture.
In addition to being focused and effective, Volquez was quite efficient. He needed just 98 pitches to record the 27 historic outs. He faced the minimum number of batters thanks to inning-ending double plays in the fifth and eighth.
Volquez struck out ten, including all three batters he faced in the ninth inning when his adrenaline was clearly pumping. Volquez was registered at 95 mph as late as the eighth inning, which is pretty amazing considering he’d yet to go beyond six innings in any of his 10 previous starts this season.
As evidenced by the double plays, Volquez also required a little bit of help from his defense. The most important play came in the fourth inning when Dee Gordon sprawled out to rob Rey Fuentes.
But here’s the most impressive part of Volquez’s no-hitter. He was nearly out of the game after one batter after colliding with Fuentes on a play at first base, and was clearly hobbled from that point forward.
— Joe Frisaro (@JoeFrisaro) June 3, 2017
Perhaps the pain helped him focus even more, or maybe that further proves just how determined Volquez was to do something memorable.
The no-hitter is already the sixth in Marlins franchise history, which only began in 1993. That’s more than the Mets, Rockies, Rays, Blue Jays and Padres have combined. The most recent was pitched by Henderson Alvarez on Sept. 29, 2013. Al Leiter, Kevin Brown, A.J. Burnett and Anibal Sanchez own the other Marlins no-hitters.
It’s elite company to be in, and Volquez got there by pitching a truly brilliant game.
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