Should Tim Lincecum’s No-Hitter Get an Asterisk?

The Freak was amazing, but the Padres were amazingly bad.

For the second time in less than a year, San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum has no-hit the San Diego Padres. Coincidence? Hardly. The Padres, never an offensive juggernaut (the late, great Tony Gwynn aside), are in the process of limboing under the bar they’ve spent the last several decades lowering.

The Pods are dead last in the bigs in hits, runs, batting average, slugging percentage, and on-base percentage. They’re on track to become the first team to score fewer than 500 runs since 1971, when the feat of offensive ineptitude was achieved by another horrible team, the 1971 San Diego Padres. In baseball the informal measure for futility at the plate is the Mendoza Line. Named after Mario Mendoza, a slick fielding shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1970s, it’s traditionally set at .200. A player hitting below the Mendoza Line for too long is generally considered too much of a liability to be a viable major-leaguer. The Padres’ team batting average is .213 – lower than Mario Mendoza’s career BA of .215.

We applaud the Freak. He’s great for baseball, and we’re always happy to see him recapture that old Cy Young form. At the same time, we wonder if Clayton Kershaw’s accomplishment against the Rockies really belongs in the same part of the record books as a no-hitter against the pitiful Padres.

Photos by Kelley L. Cox / USA TODAY Sports