April 27: No-hit history repeated today?
Six hitless games have been pitched on this date
For Major League hitters, Tuesday could be a good day to call in sick.For hurlers due to take to mounds around the country, it could be a great day to keep some bubbly on ice. And for fans of karma or just of stupefying convergences of past pitching deeds with present pitching DNA, it could be a night to hold both your breath and your favorite talisman. For April 27 is a day like no-no other. No other date on the 181-day baseball calendar has witnessed more no-hitters, although this date's six have been matched by May 15 and Sept. 20. But the day's prophecy runs much deeper than just that historical fact. No fewer than 11 pitchers due to take turns on tonight's schedule have personal histories with no-hitters. So, are the pitching stars aligned in this baseball galaxy, or what? Even the opening act to April 27 adhered to the theme: Kansas City right-hander Kyle Davies held Seattle hitless through 5 1/3 innings on Monday night until Ichiro Suzuki broke that spell with an infield single. Amazingly, two of tonight's pitching principals intersect both categories: Kevin Millwood, who will start against the Yankees in Baltimore, no-hit the Giants on April 27, 2003, while with the Phillies. Furthermore -- and this will just keep getting more and more intriguing, so pull up a chair -- Millwood will be opposed by New York right-hander Phil Hughes, who, in his previous outing, on Wednesday in Oakland, took a no-hitter into the eighth inning before Eric Chavez broke it up with a single. Derek Lowe, who will take the ball for the Braves in St. Louis, no-hit the Rays on April 27, 2002, while with the Red Sox. Other no-hitters on this date: 1944: The Boston Braves' Jim Tobin, 2-0, over the Brooklyn Dodgers
1968: Baltimore's Tom Phoebus, 6-0, over the Red Sox
1973: Kansas City's Steve Busby, 3-0, over the Tigers
1994: Minnesota's Scott Erickson, 6-0, over the BrewersMark Buehrle, who goes for the White Sox tonight against the Rangers in Arlington, has not twirled a no-hitter on this date. But the fast-working left-hander does own a pair of hitless gems, one on April 18, 2007 -- against the Rangers, natch -- and on July 23, 2009, his perfect game against Tampa Bay. And if you add those dates (4+18+7+23) plus his number of no-hitters (two) and divide by two, you get 27. OK, maybe that's an extreme stretch of the numerology angle. But even just a bare-bones lineup of tonight's scheduled starters is enough to elicit cries of, "You gotta be kidding!" The other no-notables on deck: Justin Verlander of the Tigers, who goes against the Twins: Verlander's no-hitter against Milwaukee on June 12, 2007, may have been the most dominant of any on this list. He struck out the first two batters in the ninth inning on seven total pitches, most of those pushing 100 mph. Hughes, who has had two brushes with no-hit fame: Hughes still doesn't have a hit on record in his second Major League start. It came on May 1, 2007, in Texas, and he was forced out after 6 1/3 hitless innings by a pulled left-hamstring muscle. Clay Buchholz of the Red Sox, who starts in Toronto: Buchholz did pitch a no-hitter in his second Major League start, on Sept. 1, 2007, against the Orioles. Shawn Marcum of the Blue Jays, who opposes Buchholz: In his first start of the season, on April 5 in Arlington, the 28-year-old righty no-hit the Rangers for 6 1/3 innings until Vladimir Guerrero singled. Anibal Sanchez of the Marlins, who faces San Diego: Sanchez's seventh career victory came in no-hit fashion, on Sept. 6, 2006, against the D-backs. Ubaldo Jimenez of the Rockies, who takes aim at Arizona: Remember as far back as April 17? Against the Braves, in Atlanta? Yeah, same guy. Chris Carpenter of the Cardinals, who meets Lowe and the Braves: Carpenter was born on April 27, a neat touch, but not the reason he is on the list. Carpenter is one of the more accomplished pitchers to have never pitched a no-hitter, but he came close twice within 6 1/2 weeks last season: On April 9 it lasted 6 2/3 innings against the Pirates; he came back on May 25 for six hitless innings in Milwaukee. Johan Santana of the Mets, who will face the Dodgers in one half of the Citi Field doubleheader: Nope, he has never pitched a no-hitter. Yep, he's a threat to do so every time he takes the hill. And there's no-no better day for that than April 27.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.