Thurm: Defensive replacements and their role in recent no-hitters

From SABR member Wendy Thurm at FanGraphs on October 2, 2014:

Washington Nationals starter Jordan Zimmermann pitched a no-hitter against the Miami Marlins on Sunday. It was the first no-hitter in the history of the ten-year-old franchise. It was also the last day of the regular season. Those facts alone will keep the memory of Zimmermann’s effort alive for Nationals fans for years to come. But they won’t be the most memorable aspect of the no-hitter. That belongs to Steven Souza Jr.

Nationals manager Matt Williams sent Souza in to replace Ryan Zimmerman in left field for the top of the ninth inning. Zimmerman isn’t a natural left fielder, but a shoulder injury has hampered his throw across the diamond from his usual spot at third base. That, and the emergence of Anthony Rendon, has lead to Zimmerman playing left field quite a bit this season.

With Souza in left, Michael Taylor in center and Nate Schierholtz in right, the Marlins’ Christian Yelich stepped to the plate against Zimmermann. There were two outs and Yelich was the last hope for the Marlins to break up Zimmerman’s no-hit bid.


Are [Dewayne] Wise and Souza the outliers? How often do managers use defensive replacements when the starter has a no-hitter or perfect game going? And when a player comes in for defense, how often has he been called upon to keep the no-hitter or perfect game alive?

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Originally published: October 2, 2014. Last Updated: October 2, 2014.