Sports, Spring, Baseball

Sheehan Shines in MLB Debut, Posts Six No-hit Innings for Dodgers in 7–5 Loss

Emmet Sheehan started 18 games on the mound during his three-year career at Boston College. In each of those games, he allowed at least one hit. On day two of the 2021 MLB Draft, Sheehan got a call from the Los Angeles Dodgers. On June 16, Sheehan took the mound at Dodger Stadium for his MLB debut. He stayed there for six innings, accomplishing a feat he came up short of in each of his starts as the ace of BC’s rotation. In his first start under the L.A. lights, Sheehan was unhittable. 

Sheehan didn’t technically pitch a no-hitter that night. To do so, a starter must finish the game without allowing any hits. With Sheehan tallying 89 pitches through six innings, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts decided to turn the game over to the bullpen to start the seventh. San Francisco Giants hitter Thairo Estrada immediately singled to end the combined no-hit bid. Though the Giants ultimately won 7–5 in extra innings, the 23-year-old BC baseball alum walked away from his debut with six no-hit innings, three strikeouts, and a feature on MLB’s Instagram account

Before his time in MLB, Sheehan pitched for the Eagles for three seasons. He emerged as the undisputed ace of BC’s staff during his junior season, but in his first two seasons, Sheehan pitched just 28 innings. His junior season propelled him from the bottom of the depth chart to a bona fide star. Sheehan led the rotation with a team-low 4.23 ERA. He also led the team with 106 strikeouts, fanning 33 more hitters than the second-closest pitcher. 

While Sheehan pitched for BC and head coach Mike Gambino, the Eagles did not see the success of BC’s 2023 squad, which recorded a program-high 16 conference wins. But he was a key component of the 2021 group that earned a then program-high No. 13 ranking early in the season

The Eagles dropped out of the rankings as the year continued, but Sheehan helped BC baseball make headlines at the end of the season. He was the third Eagle picked in the 2021 draft, marking the first and only time three Eagles were picked in the first 10 rounds of an MLB draft. 

After joining the Dodgers, Sheehan climbed the ladder to the big leagues faster than most. He started 26 games at the minor league level, recording a 2.76 ERA and 1.015 WHIP in the process. During his time in the minors, Sheehan struck out 41.7 percent of batters he faced for the second-highest rate in the minors. As of June 16, Sheehan was the No. 7 player in the Dodgers’ farm system. 

Under normal circumstances, Sheehan would likely have waited another year or more to make his MLB debut. With an injured pitching rotation and a disappointing start to the season, however, the Dodgers needed help. 

Sheehan’s start went about as well as it could have for the former Eagle. He allowed just three barrels in 89 pitches, relying heavily on his sinker with support from a slider and changeup. Though counterintuitive to pull a pitcher who hasn’t allowed a hit, Roberts’ choice made sense considering Sheehan’s lack of experience and potential susceptibility to injury. 

Still, when Brusdar Graterol came into the game for the Dodgers with the task of carrying on the combined no-hitter, Estrada immediately lofted a single into shallow left field for the first hit of the game. The combined no-hitter was over, and the Giants had their first base runner trailing 4–0. Two batters later, Wilmer Flores took a ball to deep left field to cut the Dodgers’ lead to 4–2. The Giants added three more runs in the eighth, the Dodgers tied it in the ninth, and all of a sudden Sheehan’s pitching masterclass was tied at five in the eleventh inning. 

With runners on first and second base, Brandon Crawford finished the Giants’ unraveling of Sheehan’s dominant start. He dug a low breaking ball into right-center field, scoring the go-ahead run for the Giants. The Dodgers failed to respond in the bottom of the inning and the Giants walked away with a comeback 7–5 win. Nevertheless, the story of the game remained Sheehan’s dominant start.

June 26, 2023