By the technical definition of the term, Madison Bumgarner threw a no-hitter for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday. It will not go down that way in the MLB record books, though.
The Diamondbacks and Atlanta Braves played a doubleheader on Sunday, and under the league’s current rules, it meant both games would be seven innings long. Bumgarner started the second game and threw a seven-inning complete game, allowing no hits or walks and striking out seven. He actually faced the minimum number of batters possible, as Ozzie Albies reached on a throwing error in the second inning before being erased on a double play.
The Braves treated Bumgarner’s gem as a no-hitter, but the league had stated it would not. Under MLB rules, a seven inning no-hitter does not count as an official no-hitter.
For whatever it’s worth, Bumgarner’s teammates certainly tried to celebrate like it was a legitimate no-hitter. Bumgarner also jokingly thanked commissioner Rob Manfred for the seven-inning game, suggesting that the pitcher was likely aware of the asterisk.
Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported that MLB may ultimately change its mind in recognition of Bumgarner’s accomplishment.
MLB’s designation is understandable, but there should probably be some recognition for this. After all, Bumgarner did exactly what was asked of him. Both teams were well aware they were playing a seven-inning game. If Bumgarner is statistically credited with a complete game shutout — which he will be without any restriction or exception — there doesn’t seem to be a lot of reason to deny him the no-hitter, either.
It’s fair to say Bumgarner might just ignore MLB’s stance, just like he’s shrugged off other potential rule changes he dislikes.