You’d think a guy named Homer would either stay in Springfield or stay off the pitchers mound. But there was anything but homers given up by Reds pitcher Homer Bailey on Friday, as he pitched his way to the 15th no-hitter in Cincinnati Reds and helped tie a modern MLB record for no-hitters thrown in a single season.
The last time seven no-hitters were thrown was back in 1991.
“I don’t think there is any reason why there have been so many,” Bailey said. “There is a real fine line there in throwing a no-hitter. A bloop can fall in the outfield or an infielder can be in the wrong position and there goes your hit. You have to be extremely fortunate to throw a no-hitter, and we had luck on our side tonight.”
Bailey was all over the record books with his no-hitter. Outside the more general no-hitter stats, Bailey became the sixth pitcher in modern baseball history to throw 10 strikeouts in a 1-0 bid. The last pitcher to do this was Felix Hernandez of Seattle this past month, and Bailey joins the likes of Roy Halladay and Dennis Eckersley as well.
In addition to the no-hitter stats, Bailey reached the 200-inning threshold for the first time in his six-year MLB career, something Bailey holds in as high a regard as his no-no.
“I looked up at the scoreboard (after the fifth inning) to see if I had hit 200 and saw a couple of zeros,” Bailey said. “That’s when I knew I had a chance at a no-hitter. It’s not something you think about doing.”
And it’s not like Bailey is throwing a no-hitter in the garbage time of the season, the Reds are in the heat of their race to finish with the National League’s best record. They’re currently tied with the Washington Nationals with a record of 95-62 and have already locked up the NL Central and are in a position to finish with either the No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the postseason.
The no-hitter was special for not only Bailey but for catcher Ryan Hanigan, who has been with Bailey since the two were in the minor leagues together.
“It’s very special because Homer and I have been there every step of the way,” Hanigan said. “It’s great for Homer, it’s great for the organization and it’s just great for the team because it’s another special moment in what has been a very special season.”
Bailey may have just missed throwing a perfect game, but he did something that hasn’t been done in 40 years: no-hit the Pirates. The last time the Pirates were no-hit Richard Nixon was still in office and a guy named Bob Gibson was on the mound for the St. Louis Cardinals. Since Gibson’s no-hit bid against the Pirates in 1971, no pitcher has been able to blank the Pirates in that way — even as bad as they were for a while.
Ironically enough, Bailey’s last scheduled start of the 2012 regular season is against the St. Louis Cardinals. But until then, Bailey can relish in the fact that he’s now forever engraved in baseball history.