Cubs pitchers' short no-hit starts

Justin Steele left last Wednesday’s game against the Rays after 3 innings due to forearm tightness.

He became only the second Cubs starter ever to retire 9 batters, then depart. Jose Guzman had been replaced after 2 long rain delays in 1993.

When Guzman did it, he was just the 4th on any team to do so. Steele was the 19th, including 3 each in 2020 and 2021, 2 in 2022 and Domingo German of the Yankees, on May 16 of this year.



12 other Cubs starters have given up no hits in 3 or more innings, then were lifted:

6.0: Zach Davies, on June 24, 2021 at Los Angeles. He had thrown 94 pitches while walking 5 and striking out 4. Ryan Tepera, Andrew Chafin and Craig Kimbrel completed a no-hitter.

5.2: Mark Prior, on July 26, 2006, at New York vs. the Mets. His 103rd pitch was his fifth walk in a scoreless game.

5.0: Matt Clement, on Sept. 10, 2003, at Montreal. He walked the first 3 batters in the sixth, for a total of 5 walks. All 3 runners scored, on 2 more walks and a single, to cut the Cubs' lead to 4-3. The Expos then scored 5 runs in the eighth to win, 8-4.

5.0: Jon Lester, on July 27, 2020 at Cincinnati. He was lifted after having thrown 76 pitches and walking 1. It was only the fourth game of the pandemic-delayed season. The Cubs led, 7-0. They won, 8-7, when they got the final 2 outs with the bases loaded.

4.0: Monk Dubiel, on May 29, 1949, at home vs. Reds. After the leadoff batter in the first was safe on an error, the second lined into a double play. Dubiel then retired 10 in a row. But he pulled a muscle in the fourth and could not continue in the fifth.

4.0: Matt Clement, on May 5, 2002, at Los Angeles. He was hit in the right biceps by a pitch while batting in the top of the fifth. He returned to the mound, threw several warmup pitches, then was replaced.

3.2: King Cole, on July 13, 1911, at Brooklyn. He was yanked after issuing 4 walks in the fourth, giving him 6 for the day.

3.0: Guy Bush, on Sept. 25, 1932, at home vs. Reds. With the World Series against the Yankees set to begin 3 days later, Manager Charlie Grimm decided to use Bush, Pat Malone and Bud Tinning for 3 innings each. Bush walked 1 in his stint.

3.0: Johnny Klippstein, on May 6, 1954, at home vs. Dodgers. He walked 2 in a scoreless first, retired the side in order in the second, then walked 4 in a 2-run second. A hit batsman and a walk to start the fourth ended his day.

3.0: Rick Reuschel, on Sept. 18, 1974, at Philadelphia. He walked 1 of 10 batters, then exited with a pulled hamstring.

3.0: Juan Mateo, on Sept. 15, 2006, at home vs. Reds. He walked a batter in the first and another in the third, then back pain forced him out of the game.

3.0: Drew Smyly, on May 30, 2022, at home vs. Brewers. He set down 9 of 10 before right oblique soreness prompted his departure.

Cubs starters have left after 2.1 hitless innings twice; after 2.0, 4 times; after 1.2, once; after 1.1, twice; and after 1.0, 8 times.

That makes a total of 31 starts that lasted 1-6 innings in which the pitcher gave up no hits.



24 pitchers on other teams have retired every batter they faced and left a game without finishing it.

Only 2, both Dodgers, set down 21 in a row, then were removed: Rich Hill, in 2016, and Clayton Kershaw, last season.

Max Scherzer threw 6 perfect innings last year.

5 pitchers did not allow a runner through 5 innings: Bob Knepper of the Astros, in 1986, then 4 others in 2015-21.

Albie Lopez of the Rays was 10 for 10 in 2001.



On May 26, Hunter Green gave up 2 walks and no hits in his 6 innings against the Cubs.

He became the 84th starter to allow anyone to reach base but hold a team hitless for at least 6 innings, then not complete the game.

Zach Davies, whose start was described above, is the only Cub among the 84.



19 Cubs starters have departed after less than an inning in which they allowed no hits.

2 of them, Speed Martin, in 1920, and Dick Ellsworth, in 1962, faced 7 batters.

Martin walked 5 batters and allowed 2 runs while getting 2 outs.

Ellsworth got 1 out and gave up 3 runs, all unearned, on 3 walks; 2 errors, the first by himself; and a bunt on which all runners were safe.

Bob Kelly, in 1952, and Rich Hill, in 2008, were replaced after getting 2 outs and walking 4 batters.

Claude Hendrix, in 1918, and Dave Cole, in 1954, walked 4 of 5 batters they faced.


On June 9, 1913, Orval Overall started a game at the West Side Grounds against the Giants.

He threw 4 pitches -- 2 balls and 2 strikes -- then felt "a kink in his short ribs and had to retire to the clubhouse for repairs," according to the Chicago Tribune.

He is the only Cub starter ever to depart having officially faced zero batters.

Pitchers on other teams have done it 15 times, most recently Steven Matz of the Cardinals on May 22 of last year.

Half of the 16 total times have come since 2005.


The first batter of a game on Aug. 7, 1965, lined a ball off Bill Faul's shoulder. He managed to retrieve the ball and throw the runner out, then exited.

Frank Castillo retired the leadoff man on 3 pitches on Aug. 10, 1991. On his second pitch to the next batter, he clutched his right shoulder and left the game.

Jeff Pfeffer (1905), King Cole (1910) and Ed Reulbach (1911) were yanked after the first 2 batters reached base. Pfeffer and Reulbach issued 2 walks. Cole walked 1 and hit 1.

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