Programming note: Relive Mike Fiers' 2019 no-hitter on Saturday, March 28 at 9:30 p.m. on NBC Sports California
The first time it happens, it's impressive. The second? There's something extra there.
A's pitcher Mike Fiers threw the second no-hitter of his career on a chilly May night in Oakland last season against the Reds.
He threw his previous one back when he was with the Astros, against the Dodgers on Aug. 21, 2015.
Two across a career -- he must have been on to something. Sure, it's not the rarest thing to happen in baseball, but when's the last time you threw a no-hitter?
"I just think going in, I'm just trying to limit any damage," Fiers told NBC Sports California at the end of January. "Every inning, just trying to get on and off the field, just make it as easy for the defense as I can and get off the field as quick as possible so those guys can get up there and hit."
Fiers said going into the game, he doesn't anticipate anything that special. He sticks to the same routine every time. He doesn't think about whether the game will end with a zero under the hit section or not.
"Once the game starts -- and you feel like you've been out there all the time, and you know -- you get the butterflies going and start pitching and it gets late in the game and there's still no hits ... not that you change anything, there's so many factors that got into it," he laughed. "You're just literally trying to put up a zero, for me, I'm not trying to do anything that I can't do."
"And so, when it gets late in the game, some guys get amped up a little bit more, try to throw harder, and you just got to tell yourself, 'Stay within yourself.'"
Fiers credits the attempt to have as much composure as possible in order to maintain some sort of normalcy while everyone on social media is, or isn't, trying to jinx it.
Is he allowed to get excited? Sure. But there's a certain spot in the game where he thinks it could happen, no matter what other pitchers who have accomplished the feat have said.
"There's always a point," he said. "Some guys say that they don't really know what's going, on or they didn't realize there was a no-hitter until the eighth. It's kind of hard for me to believe because you're out there and you know what's going on -- you should know, it's kind of tough for me to believe that, but for me, you know what's going on, but you don't think 'no-hitter,' and it's the second inning."
"You get through two innings and you're not like 'Oh man I got a no-hitter going,' but I think my judgment is around sixth or seventh inning where you're like, 'We're pretty close now,' you know, six outs, maybe nine outs away -- or one more time through the order."
"Just keep pitching," he said. "Sometimes, it just ends up with no hits."