Ronel Blanco completes historic no-hitter after barely making Astros rotation

Ronel Blanco defied all logic and made history against the Blue Jays on Monday evening.
Toronto Blue Jays v Houston Astros
Toronto Blue Jays v Houston Astros / Logan Riely/GettyImages

Entering Monday night's game, there were few expectations for Houston Astros starter Ronel Blanco. He won a spot in the rotation after a strong camp and an injury to Justin Verlander. His ascension was the culmination of a lot of hard work as he looked to stick in the big leagues as a starter instead of spending his time in the bullpen. The Astros have long loved his stuff, but he was still a guy who posted a 4.50 ERA last year so no one pegged him as an ace right out of the gate.

Well, his first start of 2024 couldn't have gone much better. He threw the 17th no-hitter in Astros history against the the Blue Jays on Monday night. Yes, the Astros offense did some stuff as well including multi-homer games from Yainer Diaz and Kyle Tucker, but Blanco absolute stole the show.

Ronel Blanco makes history with no-hitter in first start of the season

Not everything went Blanco's way on Monday evening as he missed out on a perfect game with a pair of walks. Funny enough, both walks were to former Astro George Springer -- one in the first inning and one in the ninth. Beyond that, though, Blanco was untouchable and he struck out seven Blue Jays hitters along the way.

On top of throwing a no-hitter in his first start of the season, he did so only after an injury to Justin Verlander gave him an opportunity at a spot in the rotation. Plus, a cursory look around has Blanco's no-hitter as the earliest no-hitter in a season in the history of MLB, beating out former Astros great Ken Forsch who tossed a no-hitter on April 7, 1979.

The Astros current rotation actually has quite the track record when it comes to no-hitters. Framber Valdez threw one in August last season while Cristian Javier was a part of two combined no-hitters in 2022 including one in the playoffs. Even the guy that Blanco is currently filling in for, Justin Verlander, added his third career no-hitter when he carried Houston to victory back in August 2019.

Not too shabby for the first start of the season when a guy wasn't even supposed to be in the Astros' rotation in the first place.

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