James Paxton is going to become a household name soon. Surely many baseball fans are familiar with the big 6'4" Seattle Mariners lefty, but Paxton doesn't have the same name recognition as some of his more flashy peers.
That's gonna change before the year is up because Paxton is fast on his way to becoming one of the game's best pitchers. The talent has always been there but injuries have largely prevented him from taking that next step forward, which we're definitely witnessing now. Welcome to his breakout.
Following a monster 16-strikeout performance in a no-decision vs. Oakland, the Mariners ace—a title he's without question taken from King Felix—twirled a no-hitter against the Blue Jays in a 5-0 win to kick off a three-game set at Rogers Centre. It was the third straight dominant outing for Paxton, who is fourth in the majors with 67 strikeouts over eight starts and is top 10 in WAR among pitchers.
It was the third no-hitter in the majors this season and what makes it all the more incredible is that Paxton is from British Columbia and the best pitcher from Canada. He got a nice ovation after the game from the small crowd still in attendance and pointed to the Canadian flag tattoo on his arm to show his appreciation. All around, very cool stuff.
"You couldn't write this stuff," Paxton said. "Pretty amazing to have it happen against the Blue Jays, at home in Canada."
Here are some of the highlights:
-Paxton became the first Canadian to throw a no-hitter on home soil.
-He's the second Canadian ever to throw a no-no, joining Dick Fowler who threw one for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1945.
-It was the sixth no-hitter in Mariners history, and the third thrown at Rogers Centre (Dave Stewart, Oakland, 1990; Justin Verlander, Detroit, 2011).
-Paxton needed 99 pitches to dispose of the Blue Jays. Of the 75 no-hitters thrown since 1988, it's the 12th time a pitcher has thrown a no-hit shutout in under 100 pitches.
Maybe the best story of the young baseball season, and certainly the highlight of Paxton's career. This is why we love sports.