On the same day Phillies left-hander Matt Moore pitched six no-hit innings in a win over the Reds, a former Phils minor-leaguer authored one of the most unlikely no-hitters in major-league history.
Diamondbacks lefty Tyler Gilbert, making his first big-league start, no-hit the Padres in a matchup of the next two teams on the Phillies’ schedule.
This was highly improbable for several reasons. It had been 68 years since a major-leaguer threw a no-hitter in his first career start. The Diamondbacks have a poor defense and the majors' worst record at 38-80. They were facing a Padres team that is without its best player in Fernando Tatis Jr. but still has a potent offense.
Gilbert is 27 years old, and prior to this season, hadn’t even been a starter in the minor leagues since 2016 with the Phillies at Class A Lakewood.
The lefty was a sixth-round pick by the Phillies in 2015 out of USC. Gilbert worked his way through the Phils’ minor-league system as a reliever and was traded to the Dodgers at the beginning of spring training in 2020 for outfielder Kyle Garlick, who was brought in to hit lefties.
Gilbert had a 2.83 ERA at Triple A in his final year in the Phils’ system but the Phillies felt they had enough other lefty relief options in Adam Morgan, Jose Alvarez, Ranger Suarez and Cole Irvin (then working as swingmen), JoJo Romero, Cristopher Sanchez, Damon Jones, Kyle Dohy, Zach Warren and Austin Davis.
Garlick lasted 12 games with the Phillies and went 3 for 22. Gilbert did not last long either with the Dodgers, going unprotected in the Rule 5 draft 10 months later, when he was selected by the Diamondbacks.
Gilbert became the fourth pitcher ever to throw a no-hitter in his first career start. It’s happened only twice since 1893. The last time was in 1953 by St. Louis Browns pitcher Bobo Holloman, who never appeared in a game after that season.
The only Padres hitter who reached base against Gilbert Saturday was Tommy Pham, who walked three times and lined out to center for the game’s final out. It was a high point in the season for a Diamondbacks team that has the worst record in the sport.
It was the eighth no-hitter thrown this season, a major-league record. It was the first since MLB’s crackdown on foreign substances in mid-June. The eight no-nos this season have been thrown by Gilbert, Carlos Rodón, John Means, Wade Miley, Spencer Turnbull, Corey Kluber, four Cubs pitchers in a combined no-hitter, and Joe Musgrove, who faced Gilbert on Saturday night. There have also been two seven-inning no-hitters -- one by Madison Bumgarner and the other a combined no-hitter by the Rays.
The Phillies’ next two series are in Arizona and San Diego. They’ll likely miss Gilbert by a day, as he’d pitch again on Friday if the D-backs (off Monday) stay on rotation.
In that series, the Phillies will likely go with Kyle Gibson, Suarez and Zack Wheeler. They’re slated to face Merrill Kelly on Tuesday night and Bumgarner in the series finale, with Wednesday currently TBA.
Tatis should be back from a shoulder injury to face the Phillies later in the week. His return is expected to come Sunday or Monday.