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12 Days of Cubsmas: Five strikeouts in Alec Mills’ no-hitter

This improbable game was a 2020 highlight

Alec Mills and Victor Caratini celebrate after Mills’ no-hitter in September
Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

While we all still ruminate on the mind-blowing deal that sent Yu Darvish and Victor Caratini to San Diego, it’s worth remember there were some really amazing moments in Cubs baseball in 2020. None of those moments was better than the improbable no-hitter that college walk-on Alec Mills threw on September 13 [VIDEO].

So let’s celebrate the fifth Day of Cubsmas by honoring a gem that had only five strikeouts, but no hits.

There is a lot to love about baseball, and moments like this are a big reason I tune in every game. It doesn’t matter if the team is good or bad, if the match-up looks good for the Cubs or not. It’s a big reason I never turn off the TV, because even when the Cubs are down by eight runs during one of the coldest games played in the history of Wrigley Field they might just win it in the end.

Mills’ no-hitter was kind of like that game, with less drama over who would win and lose because the Brewers were the victims of exceptionally bad BABIP luck:

Box score from Mills’ no-hitter
Baseball Savant

They hit the ball hard 11 times, and 11 times the Cubs defense managed to turn those hard hit balls into outs with plays like this from Ian Happ [VIDEO].

Alec Mills’ velocity topped out in this game at 91 miles per hour on a first-inning four-seam fastball to Avisail Garcia that resulted in a groundout. But like Kyle Hendricks, that Mills pitch plays a lot faster due to his ability to mix up speeds and location. His slowest pitch in this game was a 66 mile per hour curveball for a called strike on Tyrone Taylor. You can get an idea of the pitch mix and velocity on this chart from Baseball Savant:

Pitch type and velocity for Mills’ no-hitter
Baseball Savant

That was good enough for five strikeouts for Alec Mills, who got four of them on swinging strike threes. It may have taken a little bit of luck, but pretty much everything in sports is a combination of talent, preparation and luck. Let’s hear from Mills on tossing only the second no-hitter in the history of Wrigley North [VIDEO].

On the fifth Day of Cubsmas my true love gave to me: five strike outs in an Alec Mills no-hitter, a four game delay in the season due to COVID-19, a three game lead to win the division in 2020, two first round draft picks non-tendered and one World Series ring in the Theo Epstein Era.