Mike Clevinger spent the vast majority of the 2015 season with the Double-A Akron RubberDucks. He was phenomenal in his 26 starts there, dropping his walk rate to a career-low and striking out 22.7 percent of the batters he faced. He finished his Double-A career with a 2.73 ERA and a 3.02 FIP.
At 24 years old, Clevinger probably pitched well enough to earn himself a spot with the Triple-A Columbus Clippers at some point in the regular season, but he did not make his Clippers debut until September 14. Clevinger was brought in to finish off the Norfolk Tide in the first round of the International League playoffs. And, well, he did it. A lot. Like really a lot.
He threw 7.2 innings that game, striking out 10 and walking two. Best of all, he did not allow a single hit. With one out left in the eighth inning, however, Columbus manager Chris Tremie made the better decision for Clevinger's future and pulled him after 102 pitches with a runner on and two outs. Sure, he missed out on the chance at a playoff no-hitter at the then-highest level of his career, but being three years removed from Tommy John surgery, it was just was not worth the risk.
As the highlights below show, Clevinger was absolutely dominant in his no-hit bid. There is a pretty decent chance he could have carried the no-hitter all the way if he was left in for the full nine innings and fatigue did not set in towards the end.
In his next start, five days later against the Indianapolis Indians in the Governors' Cup Championship, Clevinger imploded. He allowed a whole five hits and issued a walk while striking out only seven in another 7.2-inning performance. Oh yeah, and it was another shutout.
Will Clevinger ever do this in the majors (let alone in the playoffs)? Probably not, but it sure was fun to watch.