Tampa Bay Rays
Rays Beat: 1917 White Sox overcame 2 no-hitters
ST. PETERSBURG - Joe Maddon's wish Friday night after his team was held hitless for the second time this season - aside from it not happening a third time - was for someone to find out if any team was held hitless twice and still reached the World Series. "If it hasn't happened," Maddon said, "please make it up." No need. Witness the 1917 White Sox, who shook off two no-hitters and not only reached the World Series but also beat the Giants in six games.And if you think the Rays being on the wrong end of Dallas Braden's perfect game May 9 and Edwin Jackson's no-hitter Friday night is somewhat maddening, consider those 1917 White Sox, who were no-hit on consecutive days by the St. Louis Browns. Ernie Koob held the Sox without a hit May 5 and Bob Groom did it the following afternoon. Groom's no-no came in the second game of a doubleheader. The Sox managed a few hits and four runs in the first game that day to avoid the embarrassment of being no-hit in consecutive games. And still the Sox rolled that year to 100 wins and the World Series title. So, Jackson didn't deal a death blow to the Rays' season Friday when he tossed and tossed and tossed his way to a 149-pitch, eight-walk no-hitter. But the former Ray did underscore one alarming point - this Rays team really has trouble generating offense. Jackson walked two in the first inning and the Rays let him off the hook. He walked the bases loaded in the third and the Rays couldn't push a run across the plate. It's not very often a team has seven runners in scoring position on a night they get no-hit. So much for Get The Man In. This is a Jekyll and Hide offense. When the Rays are right, they are capable of scoring runs in bunches. They are equally as capable of going long stretches without a hit. CC Sabathia held them hitless for 72/3 innings April 10. Braden and Jackson managed to finish the trick. Jackson was one of the more unusual no-hitters you'll see. The Rays had a runner on second base in each of the first three innings. "There were so many guys on base a lot of us didn't recognize it until about the seventh," B.J. Upton said. You wonder if American League pitchers are looking at the schedule and doing the math to see if they will face the Rays this season. They have to be thinking, "Hey, I got a chance." "It's annoying, no question," Maddon said. "We're much better than that. We're a much better offensive club. We showed that earlier in the season. I think everybody is trying so hard right now. Everybody is trying to hit home runs. I would rather us get back to that nice middle of the field approach we had going in the middle of the year. We'll get through this. We'll come out the other side." Since 1917, seven other teams were no-hit twice in the same season. None reached the postseason, which totally wrecked the idea that being no-hit twice guaranteed a World Series title. Since they started this slide in late May, the Rays have showed signs of that perky offense that carried them to the best record in the majors, then it seems to go away. "We can't hang our heads. We had a lot of good ABs," Upton said Friday night. "He walked eight and hit one, so we know we had some great ABs, and the balls we did hit hard, we hit right at them." So the 1917 White Sox give Maddon a ray of hope his team can stop this free fall and still accomplish its goal of winning it all. It's going to take more than optimism. It's going to take offense.