It’s a magical day in Houston. Hours after Justin Verlander returned to the Astros, Framber Valdez threw his first no-hitter, facing the minimum 27 batters.
Despite a rocky July, on this first day of August, 2023, Valdez was on point and dominant from the beginning of the game until the last pitch. Both his 2-seamer and curve were unhittable, and he threw them for strikes. He only needed 93 pitches, an amazing 65 were strikes.
He had the perfect combination of swing-and-miss and weak contact. He threw 16 swinging strikes and finished with seven strikeouts. Batters looked confused all night. He also got 12 of his signature groundouts.
None of the Guardians’ balls in play came close to being base hits. None had a 50% chance of being a hit, and only one had a more than 40% chance. No defensive wizardry or supernatural good luck was needed to preserve this no-hitter.
Here’s just one example of his devastating curve.
Framber Valdez, Vicious 81mph Curveball.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 2, 2023
And thru 8. pic.twitter.com/vtTf7IUCWk
Here are the seven strikeouts.
Valdez missed a perfect game by one walk, which was quickly erased by ...of course... a ground ball double play.
It was the 16th no-hitter in Astros history, and with Verlander back in town, it means the current Astros staff has thrown four combined. Plus, it was the first no-hitter by an Astro left-hander.
Of course, without some run support, this game might still be going. Who knows, Framber might have had a couple of more no-hit innings left in the tank. But a two-out, two-run single by Kyle Tucker in the third inning provided all the run support Valdez needed on a night that Astros fans will never forget.