Just four days after Liriano’s no-hitter, Tigers ace Justin Verlander fired the second no-hitter of his career Saturday night in a masterpiece over the Blue Jays in Toronto. Verlander faced the minimum 27 batters with a double play erasing the only walk he allowed of the game. He struck out four batters and finished with an efficient 108 pitches.

It’s been just about four years since Verlander threw his first no-no in interleague play against the Brewers back in June of 2007. Not much has changed since then. Verlander is still the ace of the Tigers staff and he’s still a dominant pitcher that can throw in the high 90s deep into games. Though he has seen the rotation changed around him completely in Detroit since ’07 when Nate Robertson, Jeremy Bonderman, Chad Durbin, Mike Maroth and Andrew Miller each made 13 or more starts. None of those five pitchers are anywhere near Detroit’s roster today. It doesn’t seem like four years is an incredible amount of time for a franchise, but there sure has been a lot of change around him. Today, Verlander is surrounded with the likes of Max Scherzer, Brad Penny, Rick Porcello and Phil Coke.

Getting back to Verlander and his second no-hitter…he becomes the 24th player since 1919 to throw multiple no-hitters. Nolan Ryan of course leads with seven! Sandy Koufax tossed four of them and Feller recorded three while the rest of the list all put together two. Out of the entire list, six of the players are already in the Hall of Fame (Ryan, Koufax, Feller, Walter Johnson, Warren Spahn and Jim Bunning). Randy Johnson is another on the list, who will be in the Hall the first year he’s eligible. Then you have Roy Halladay, who is pretty much a lock for the Hall once his playing days are over. Halladay and Mark Buehrle are also the only two active players along with Verlander to accomplish this feat.

So eight of the players who have thrown multiple no-hitters will be in the Hall soon enough. Will Verlander join them down the road? It’s entirely too early to wonder about that as JV is just in his sixth full ML season, but his start hasn’t been too shabby to date.

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Caught Looking continues its recap of the most memorable moments and accomplishments from the 2010 season. Here are moments one through five.

5. Stras-a-palooza
In what ended up being one of the most hyped regular season games in recent memory, the Nationals and Pirates met up for a meaningless game on June 8th that just so happened to be the debut of pitching  phenom Stephen Strasburg. You knew it was a big game when the MLB Network pulled Bob Costas out of the woodwork for it. Thankfully, their broadcast was blacked out in Pittsburgh so I didn’t have to struggle with Costas’ one liners and overly dramatic statements. This was also the game that featured the first and so far only live blog for Caught Looking! As for the game, Strasburg lived up to the hype as he baffled Pirate hitters all night, striking out 14 with no walks in seven innings of work for his first victory. Though the Pirates did score runs off of him thanks to a two-run home run by Delwyn Young. Strasburg would make 12 total starts and finish with a 5-3 record and 2.91 ERA before being shut down in late August with a torn right UCL that will sideline him for the 2011 season.

4. Perfect games and no-hitters gone wild
The “Year of the Pitcher” was no more evident than in the frequency of great pitching performances that continued throughout the entire season. It started with Ubaldo Jimenez‘s dominant performance by no-hitting the Braves on April 17. There are so many after his no-hitter that I need to list them all…

  • Oakland A’s starter Dallas Braden fires the 17th perfect game in MLB history on May 9 against the Rays to celebrate Mother’s Day, which made it even special since Braden lost his mother to breast cancer years ago. The whole Braden/A-Rod storyline that preceded this performance was just another headline after Braden made himself a household name.
  • Roy Halladay didn’t wait very long for the next perfect game as he mowed down the Marlins on May 29 for the 18th perfecto in history. Halladay’s perfect game was just the beginning of his remarkable first year in the NL.
  • Edwin Jackson no-hit the Rays on June 25. Yes, the Rays were no-hit again, and was I the only one who honestly didn’t remember Jackson throwing a no-hitter in 2010? It just got lost in all the others. Maybe it was because while he gave up no hits, he also walked a ridiculous eight batters while throwing 149 pitches. Whoa. Jackson was eventually traded a month later from Arizona to the White Sox.
  • The Rays must have been tired of being on the losing end of no-hitters, so Matt Garza tossed his own against the Tigers on July 26. Garza made history for the Rays as the first no-hitter in franchise history, and it also marked the most no-hitters in one year since 1990.

There was one other no-hitter that I failed to mention because it was memorable enough to hold its own spot next on the list.

3. Roy Halladay‘s no-hitter in his first postseason game
There was a lot of pregame debate about how the Doc would handle his first playoff game since he had never gone to the postseason with the Blue Jays. That was all put to rest with an exclamation point as Halladay stifled the Reds in Game 1 of the NLDS with the second no-hitter in postseason history, second only to Don Larsen‘s perfect game in the ’56 World Series. Doc struck out eight batters on 104 pitches and only permitted one walk in the entire game or it could have been his second perfect game of 2010. His performance pretty much ended the Reds season even though they weren’t knocked out until a couple of days later when the Phillies finished the three-game sweep. Even though the Phillies did not get back to the WS, Halladay’s first season in the NL was legendary as he easily went on to capture the Cy Young award with a 21-10 record and 2.44 ERA.

2. Armando’s perfect game that wasn’t perfect
Of all the no-hitters and perfect games thrown in 2010, of course the most memorable game would be Armando Galarraga‘s near perfect game that was derailed due to a horrendous call by ump Jim Joyce. Never has Jim Joyce’s name been known by some many fans—mostly irate ones. Four days after Halladay’s perfect game, Galarraga took the mound for the Tigers against the Indians at home and was one out away from another perfect game. Galarraga got Jason Donald to ground to first baseman Miguel Cabrera, who tossed the ball to Galarraga coming to cover first base in what appeared to be a close play. Galarraga’s hands went in the air when he tagged first base, but Joyce called Donald safe for an infield single, ruining the perfect game and no-hitter. Galarraga’s hand immediately went to his head in utter disbelief. As well as the shocked crowd at Comerica Park. Replays quickly showed that Donald was indeed out, and the play wasn’t nearly as close as first thought. Joyce admitted to blowing the call later after seeing the replay and the two made up the next game when they met at home plate to turn in the starting lineups. It was a cruel twist of fate, one that Galarraga showed an immense amount of class for such a young player while some of his teammates did not. In my opinion, this perfect game that never was is definitely one of the most memorable moments of 2010.

1. San Francisco Giants are champs
Despite a stable of great pitching, people continued to not give the Giants a real chance as a contender for the championship. They proved they were way more than just a surprise team by defeating the Phillies and disposing of the Texas Rangers in five games to earn their first title since 1954 when they were still in New York. Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Brian Wilson and a lineup mostly full of castoffs surprised the baseball world with dominant pitching throughout the entire playoffs. Edgar Renteria (series MVP) continues to find himself on the big stage in the Fall Classic with the game-winning three-run homer in Game 5 to help give the Giants the championship.

There you have it. The top 10 memorable moments from the 2010 season. Are there any other moments Caught Looking missed?

What a weekend in Major League Baseball. We had our first significant event of this young 2010 season—the Pirates swept the Reds. OK, all kidding aside, the real news was Ubaldo Jimenez firing a no-hitter against the Atlanta Braves. It seems special events like this tend to take place in Atlanta for some reason. Randy Johnson’s perfect game in 2004 was also in Atlanta.

Anyway, Jimenez tossed 129 pitches as he no hit the Braves on Saturday while walking six and fanning seven batters. Not only was it was the first no-hitter this year, but it was the first no-hitter in Rockies history. Just a fantastic moment for the franchise. Plus, after watching how un-hittable he was against a pretty good Atlanta lineup, there’s no reason to think the 26-year-old couldn’t do it again throughout his career. He continued to pump 97-mile-per-hour heat at the Braves the entire night.

This performance could also mean more in Rockies lore as the day they finally found an ace they have been looking for since the organization began playing ball in 1993. When you think of the Rockies, you think of some great hitters that have come through Coors Field, but not so much pitching. Part of that has to do with the ballpark being a launching pad in the high altitude, but look at some of the Rockies top pitchers in their history: Aaron Cook (Rockies leader in career wins), Jason Jennings, Pedro Astacio, Jeff Francis, Jamey Wright. Yeah, not exactly the greatest crop of pitching talent ever. Francis looked like the ace until his injury in 2008, which caused him to miss the entire 2009 season and he still hasn’t thrown a pitch in 2010 yet.

As you can see from that list, Ubaldo can easily be the ace pitcher for the Rockies, and his no-hitter last Saturday could be his first of many big moments for him and the franchise.