A look at John Means's 2020 season is a tale of two halves—a miserable first month followed by a strong September finish.
Seven starts into 2021, it's clear his improvements are here to stay.
Means fired a no-hitter against the Mariners on Wednesday, striking out 12 hitters with no walks on 113 pitches. It was the 10th no-hitter in Orioles franchise history and the first since July 13, 1991.
The only Seattle base runner reached in the third inning, when Sam Haggerty struck out and advanced to first on a wild pitch. He was caught stealing second base one pitch later. Means is the only pitcher in MLB history to throw a non-perfect game no-hitter in which no opposing batter reached base via walk, hit by pitch or error.
The performance was just the latest in what's been a blistering start to the season for the 28-year-old Means. He's given up just seven earned runs in 46 innings (1.37 ERA), and has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of his past 11 starts dating back to last season.
Means was untouchable all day. He generated 26 swinging strikes, mostly on his changeup, which has been Means's most effective weapon all season. Coming into this start, opposing hitters were batting .125 against the pitch, with a 37.4% whiff rate.
Against the Mariners, Means threw first-pitch strikes to 26 of his 27 batters faced.
As a rookie in 2018, Means went 12-11 with a 3.60 ERA in 27 starts, making the All-Star team and finishing second in Rookie of the Year voting. His no-hitter was the first by a single pitcher for the Orioles since Jim Palmer on Aug. 13, 1969.
Means is the third pitcher to throw an official no-hitter this season, following San Diego's Joe Musgrove on April 9 and Carlos Rodón of the White Sox on April. 14. Arizona's Madison Bumgarner did not allow a hit in a designated seven-inning game against the Braves on April 25.
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