Astros made right choice to pull Ronel Blanco from no-hitter bid despite fan outcry

Ronel Blanco was electric in his latest no-hitter bid, but it was still right to pull him when the Astros did.
Detroit Tigers v Houston Astros
Detroit Tigers v Houston Astros / Tim Warner/GettyImages

There are few things in the sport of baseball that will elicit a stronger reaction than how a team handles a pitcher who is throwing a no-hitter. Fortunately (and unfortunately), the Houston Astros were the recipients of said unsolicited opinions during Ronel Blanco's latest gem against the Tigers.

For some fans, they see the bigger picture and know that Blanco's pitch count was getting up there and the important thing is keeping him healthy and winning the game. For others, taking any pitcher out of a game, including Blanco, where they are throwing a no-hitter is a cardinal sin and a sign that the game of baseball has gone soft.

Well, the Astros decided to take the "soft" approach and pulled Blanco after seven innings. Ultimately, the Astros lost the no-hit bid, but still beat the Tigers handily. Whether fans like it or not, it was the right decision.

Astros lost a chance at a no-hitter against Tigers, but they didn't do anything wrong

Look, we get it. Seeing a guy throw a complete game no-hitter is amazing and historic. Astros fans also remember that Blanco already tossed a no-no earlier this season in just his eighth big league start. It would have been great to see him finish it out again and no one is arguing otherwise.

However, this is purely a fan-generated controversy. Blanco himself said, "I knew I had thrown a lot of pitches and I wasn’t going to be able to finish it, so I just accepted it." When asked about the decision after the game, manager Joe Espada correctly noted, "That fifth inning, those three walks there, taxed him a little bit. But a no-hitter for seven innings? That’s pretty damn good."

Unfortunately, there were no shortage of takes on social media that couldn't care less about things like "logic" or "reason" when they saw Blanco get pulled at 94 pitches into the no-hit bid, like this gem here.

In the actual real world, Blanco's night needed to end when it did. The Astros have a rotation that is ravaged by injuries and Blanco was laboring late in the start if folks actually bothered to watch the game instead of just looking at the box score and seeing how many pitches he threw. If Espada sent Blanco back out there, it is likely that the no-hitter would have ended anyway, and there was a risk that Blanco would've unnecessarily wore himself down more than he needed to.

Would it be cool to see another complete game no-hitter from Blanco in the same season as his first? Absolutely, but Houston was right to prioritize his longevity.

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