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Tyler Gilbert, New Jedi Master of Pitching, throws a No-Hitter for the Diamondbacks

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PHOENIX, ARIZONA - AUGUST 14: Starting pitcher Tyler Gilbert #49 of the Arizona Diamondbacks jumps into the arms of catcher Daulton Varsho #12 of the Diamondbacks as they celebrate Gilbert's no hitter against the San Diego Padres during the MLB game at Chase Field on August 14, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Padres 7-0. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - AUGUST 14: Starting pitcher Tyler Gilbert #49 of the Arizona Diamondbacks jumps into the arms of catcher Daulton Varsho #12 of the Diamondbacks as they celebrate Gilbert's no hitter against the San Diego Padres during the MLB game at Chase Field on August 14, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Padres 7-0. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
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History Made by the Diamondbacks’ Tyler Gilbert with his No-Hitter!

The Diamondbacks won 7-0 but the story is Tyler Gilbert. Tyler Gilbert is a name that will be remembered forever in the record books. He threw a No-Hitter in his first MLB start. Tyler has been with the Diamondbacks organization for only this year. I think he will be with the team for quite a long time from now. I was at this game and I have been to countless games over the years. Yet, this is easily the most emotional game I have ever been to. Tyler Gilbert, Congratulations on accomplishing something every young baseball player dreams of doing.

Tyler needed only 102 pitches to get through all nine innings against the San Diego Padres. Yes those Padres, the star-filled team who is in the hunt for the World Series with their roster. He started the game with a 0.00 ERA and his ERA after the game is exactly the same. He had three walks to five K’s. Tyler’s record now is 1-1. The left-hander kept batters on edge with his pitches.

Tyler needed only THREE pitches to get THREE batters out in the 8th inning. Absolutely incredible. He gave up hard contact all night but the Diamondbacks defense caught them all. In fact, the Padres had 10 balls hit 95mph or faster off the bat. Yet ALL got turned into outs.

In the ninth inning, Gilbert struck out the first two batters. Then, as baseball does, it turned romantic and magically. Tommy Pham came up to bat. He had walked every time he went to the plate that night. If Tyler wanted the no-hitter, he would have to do what he hadn’t done yet.

Get Tommy Pham out. His first pitch to Pham was hit. It was a soft line-drive to Center Field that looked like it could drop. Instead, as if something held the ball longer than it should have been, it drifted further into the outfield giving Ketel Marte enough time to make the catch.

With that, Tyler Gilbert did something that only three pitchers had done before him. Tyler is the first pitcher to throw a no-hitter in his first career MLB start since St. Louis Browns’ Bobo Holloman (yes that’s a real name) did so on May 6, 1953. The other two did it in the 1800’s, Ted Breitenstein in 1891 and the Cincinnati Reds’ Bumpus Jones in 1892.

Arizona Diamondbacks Tyler Gilbert No-Hitter
PHOENIX, ARIZONA – AUGUST 14: Starting pitcher Tyler Gilbert #49 of the Arizona Diamondbacks acknowledges the fans following his no hitter against the San Diego Padres during the MLB game at Chase Field on August 14, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Padres 7-0. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

My experience watching Tyler Gilbert pitch for the Diamondbacks Tonight

The best part about sitting where I was at the game wasn’t the fact I was behind home plate. Nor was it that I had a great view. It wasn’t the fact that I wasn’t squished like sardines in the seats. The best part was about luckily being able to sit behind Tyler’s amazing and most gracious family. It felt like an honor to me. Seeing their reactions throughout the game were wonderful.

To see them boisterously cheer and cry at the culmination of the best game of Tyler’s life was the best part. I can only imagine how it felt for them. For the amazing parents who drove him to his practices and games. For the grandparents who supported him. For who I believe to be his girlfriend/wife who has stood by Tyler’s side through the very tough and arduous Minor League life for ballplayers. This game was for them. This article is for them.

Baseball is a team sport. It’s about the players, coaching staff, those who go unnoticed by the fans who all work together to create something huge. To win a game. Yet, baseball is more than just those people. Baseball is about the families behind each player. The ones who sacrificed time, money, energy, and more to help each one of those ballplayers to get to where they are. It’s about the fans who cheer the players on and share a deep connection for the love of baseball.

As we saw Thursday night during the Field of Dreams game, baseball IS magical. The field in Chase Field was indeed the Field of Dreams for so many. It was on my bucket-list to witness a NO-Hitter. I’m positive it was a dream for other fans as well. It was a dream for Tyler and his family. Tonight, Chase Field was home to magic that existed in Iowa. Chase Field achieved a lot of dreams tonight.

I am not afraid to say that I cried deeply and lost my voice by the end of the celebration after the game. To see not only Dbacks fans cheer but Padres fans cheer showed how baseball is more than just two teams. It’s more than a division amongst fans. It’s a family. We may argue, fight, cheer for the other to lose, and more. However, when history is about to be made, we come together.

In fact, a Padres fan sitting by me, mentioned during the final outs of the game that he hopes Tyler gets the no-no. He said he didn’t want his team to be the one to ruin what was obviously a magical night. I saw countless Padres fans with their phones out and cheering. Baseball brings people together and I saw that again tonight.

Tyler’s a 27 year old rookie who came to the Diamondbacks via the Minor League version of the Rule 5 draft. He was selected out of the Dodgers system. However, this has been just the latest stop in his winding path to the No-Hitter.

Tyler Gilbert’s path to the Diamondbacks

Tyler grew up in California. He graduated high school in Felton, CA. From there, he went to junior college baseball. That college was Santa Barbara City College. He pitched well enough there to end up at University of Southern California. He rose through the ranks to eventually end up being selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 6th round of the 2015 MLB Amateur Draft.

He had to work his way up to the MLB by stopping at each spot. Then, he got traded by the Phillies in early 2020 to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Kyle Garlick. Gilbert was set to start in the minors for LA and Covid-19 hit. His season was over. He was unable to play at all during the 2020 season in any game circumstances.

I do not know what he did during that time.  If I find out, I will make another article chronicling that year. I don’t know how he kept practicing. Yet, I’m so glad he didn’t quit baseball though. In December of 2020, he got selected by the Dbacks. He went to Spring Training and onward to the Reno Aces, the Triple-AAA affiliate of the Dbacks. In Triple-AAA Reno, he was 5-2 in 11 games (10 started) with a 3.44 ERA and 50 K’s to 19 walks in 52.1 IP’s.

Then the Dbacks called him up to help fill out the bullpen for them. He was a lefty and the team needed left-handed pitching bad. He fit right in pitching well and not allowing runs. He was supposed to stay in the Bullpen. Life has a funny way of working out in magical ways.

The Diamondbacks only started Tyler Gilbert because they moved Caleb Smith to the bullpen. Caleb had been struggling mightily in the rotation. So the Dbacks planned to switch him out. They just didn’t know with who yet.

The rotation had been lined up for Taylor Widener to pitch Thursday, Madison Bumgarner on Friday, and Zac Gallen on Sunday. I figure that Matt Peacock was slated for Saturday. Then life changed things.

On Thursday, hours before the game, Taylor Widener was scratched from starting. He was feeling sick. The Dbacks played the safe route and put him on the IL. In his stead, the team put Matt Peacock in to start. They went the bullpen game route.

In doing so, they also made what seemed at the time, a minor announcement. Tyler Gilbert was slated to start his first MLB start. Little did they know, or expect, a No-Hitter to happen. Perhaps if Caleb Smith hadn’t struggled in his most recent start. If Taylor Widener didn’t get sick. If the Dbacks didn’t choose to start Peacock on Thursday, then maybe history would be different tonight.

Yet, all of that are “what ifs” and they are fun to imagine but all that really matters is that Tyler Gilbert is apart of a rather small club of pitchers in MLB history to throw a No-Hitter. Tyler is the third (fourth in my books) to throw a No-Hitter as Diamondbacks player. The first was Randy Johnson’s magical Perfect Game in 2004. Then, it was Edwin Jackson’s massive pitch count No-Hitter against the Rays in 2010. Now, it’s Tyler’s NO-NO in 2021.

Tyler threw the 8th “official” No-Hitter in MLB this season which ties an MLB record. I consider MadBum’s No-Hitter in Atlanta and the Rays No-Hitter in July to be considered No-Hitters since they were both complete games. Even if they only went 7 innings.

I’ll cover the overall game and the massive offensive output in the next article. However, I wanted an article to just be about Tyler. To celebrate his amazing achievement. To honor his wonderful family whom I feel some type of connection with. To have watched Tyler throw a No-Hitter. I felt he deserves as much love as we can show him.

Torey Lovullo Tyler Gilbert Arizona Diamondbacks
PHOENIX, ARIZONA – AUGUST 14: Starting pitcher Tyler Gilbert #49 of the Arizona Diamondbacks receives the game ball from manager Torey Lovullo #17 of the Diamondbacks following his no hitter against the San Diego Padres during the MLB game at Chase Field on August 14, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks defeated the Padres 7-0. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)

To Torey Lovullo and Tyler Gilbert of the Arizona Diamondbacks,

To Torey Lovullo, as a baseball die-hard, I have seen countless times that a pitcher gets pulled during a magical start. Whether due to pitch count, match-ups, or any other reason, it happens. Sometimes, that starts ends in glory. Sometimes, we are left to question. No matter what, that manager makes the best decision he can in the face of hundreds of thousands who will yell at him if it doesn’t work out. I can’t imagine how nervous you must have been to keep letting him go back out there. However, I applaud you for letting Tyler go back out there. To letting him pitch to his highest pitch count of the year. To allowing him the chance to finish the magical performance he was putting on. I can’t imagine what went through your mind, but thank you for letting Tyler go finish his magical performance tonight.

To Tyler Gilbert, if you somehow end up reading this, I thank you for how amazing you did. You achieved what so many dream. You did it with grace, humility, and being yourself. You never gave up and didn’t let years in the Minors deter you. Tyler, I’m so glad to have you on the Diamondbacks. I’m beyond thankful to have witnessed you make history. I look forward to covering you in the future and beyond. You inspired a whole fandom during a season that has not been the best. You gave countless children that “moment” that every baseball loving child has. Thank you for that Tyler and masterful job tonight.

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Thank you all to who have read this, if you would like, please leave a comment about your thoughts on the No-Hitter. If you wish to see more of these posts, I’d greatly appreciate you signing up for the email list. If you want to see me talk more about the Diamondbacks, fantasy football, life, Star Wars, and random stuff, feel free to follow me @DarthDbacks on Twitter.

As Always, and most importantly tonight,

May the Force be with You…

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