Corbin Burnes made a statement on why he is the best pitcher in the National League with a dominant no-hitter performance against Cleveland on Saturday.
Corbin burnes He didn’t become the eighth pitcher to throw a no-hitter in 2021 tonight, but he may have been the author of the most dominant performance of the season.
Burnes, the Brewers ‘golden-haired right-hander, rushed through the Cleveland Indians’ lineup on Saturday. He struck out 14 in eight innings. He struck out at least two in each of the first five innings, and at least one in each inning but the sixth. He didn’t allow his first base runner until the seventh.
But, three outs from joining Juan Nieves as the only pitchers in Brewers history to throw a no-hitter, Burnes was lifted by manager Craig Counsel before the start of the ninth. He had already thrown 115 pitches, his career-high, and, with Milwaukee holding a 3-0 lead at Progressive Field, Counsel didn’t want to risk damaging his golden arm. Since 1974, a pitcher has not been removed from the game before the ninth inning with an intact no-hitter.
Only once did the Indians threaten to break through against Burnes. With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, second baseman Owen Miller lined up a ball into the gap in right center field. Lorenzo Cain, conjuring up images from 34 years ago when Robin Yount set out to save Nieves’ masterpiece, made a catch to end the inning. Back in the Brewers’ dugout, Burnes received a pat on the back from Counsel and a hug from catcher Omar Narvaez, his evening ending before he could pursue the story.
Corbin Burnes takes a big step in the race for the Cy Young awards
Burnes never got his name written in the baseball record books, but his departure went a long way toward making another part of history. He may have cemented his spot as a favorite for the National League Cy Young Award. Burnes’ ERA is down to 2.25, three points better than Max Scherzer and six points less than Walker Buehler. His 12.4 strikeouts per nine innings lead the majors. Burnes is second to Scherzer with a 0.915 WHIP.
Most importantly, neither Scherzer nor Buehler own a statement-making game like Burnes did on Saturday. His cutter, the pitch that took him from an 8.82 ERA two years ago to one of the league’s most dominant starters, hit 97 mph. The Indians churned in their curve all night, with eight hits and misses.
Burnes was already on 103 pitches after the seventh inning. He convinced Counsel to let him out for the eighth. The ninth, however, turned out to be too much. Josh Hader came in and quickly pulled back to finish off the combined no-hitter effort, but tonight it belonged to Burnes.
“I had to fight hard to get the eighth. I don’t think they wanted to send me back with that pitch count. I knew that after fighting for eighth I had no chance of reaching ninth. ” told Bally Sports. “It’s awesome. This team is amazing. We’ve played all year and we feel like we’re getting stronger at the end of September.”
Nieves can rest easy knowing that, for 5,474 straight game, his distinction of being the only Brewers pitcher to throw a no-hitter will continue for another day. However, Pete Vuckovich’s 39-year reign as the latest Brewers Cy Young Award winner may be about to end.