Some killjoys say no hitters are just a bunch of freak occurrences and, sadly, they’re right. Because a pitcher throws a no-hitter does not place them on the Cy Young fast track nor does any one outing represent a fair reflection of a player’s current or future skill.
But Homer Bailey has the look of a man who is figuring things out. He is now one of a select group of players to throw consecutive no hitters (not in consecutive starts, of course.) He threw the final no hitter of 2012 and the first no hitter of 2013, the first person to do that since Nolan Ryan. Bailey joins Justin Verlander, Mark Buehrle, and Roy Halladay as active pitchers with multiple no-nos.
More importantly/tellingly, he’s a much better pitcher now. His strikeouts are way up as is his ground ball rate. He’s keeping the ball in the park and getting more swinging strikes. He’s even throwing a little bit harder. He’s a better pitcher who also has two no hitters among his last 17 starts (spanning two seasons).
Tonight he rode a heads up play from Joey Votto into the world’s most important fielders choice and a no hitter against the reeling Giants. Unlike most no hitters, there was no great defensive play to preserve the treat, other than Joey Votto astutely noticing that Gregor Blanco lost his fool mind.
Everything else looked about as routine as you’d like, a credit to Bailey of course but also to his catcher Ryan Hanigan and the coaching staff of the Reds for positioning the outfielders excellently/fortunately. Bailey got stronger as the night went on, increasing his velocity over significantly as the night wore on.
Mostly congrats to Homer Bailey for mowing the Giants down like it is his job. It actually is his job and, tonight, he did it with aplomb. It is awesome that you threw a no hitter, the second of your career, Homer. We all appreciate you going out there and kicking ass as you do (now).