Homer Bailey throws a no-hitter against the Pirates

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UPDATE: He did it! Homer Bailey has done it. He threw a no-hitter tonight against the Pirates as part of a 1-0 win.

Bailey struck out pinch-hitter Brock Holt swinging to begin the ninth before getting pinch-hitter Michael McKenry to pop out to left field for the second out. He then Alex Presley to pop out to Brandon Phillips in shallow center field to finish off the no-hitter.

Bailey is the first Reds pitcher with a no-hitter since Tom Browning threw a perfect game against the Dodgers on September 16, 1988. This is the seventh no-hitter in MLB this season, joining Felix Hernandez (perfect game), Matt Cain (perfect game), the six-pitcher no-hitter by the Mariners, Johan Santana, Jered Weaver and Philip Humber (perfect game). There haven’t been seven no-hitters in a season since 1991.

Bailey tied a career-high with 10 strikeouts and needed 115 pitches to get it done. This no-hitter won’t be without some controversy, as the play with Scott Rolen in the third inning could have easily been ruled a hit instead of an error. Still, the Pirates had the rest of the game to get a hit and couldn’t do it. Can’t lose sleep over that. Congrats to Bailey on his first career no-no.

By the way, this was the Pirates’ 81st loss of the season, ensuring their 20th straight season without a winning record. I’m sorry, Pirates fans.

9:18 PM: Bailey has now held the Pirates hitless through eight.

Travis Snider pinch-hit for Jose Tabata to lead off the eighth inning and flew out to left field. Pedro Alvarez then hit a liner right at Scott Rolen for the second out. Jeff Clement then pinch-hit for Clint Barmes and struck out swinging.

Bailey has nine strikeouts on the night and has thrown only 99 pitches, so he plenty of bullets left. The Pirates have Rod Barajas, the pitcher spot and Alex Presley due up in the bottom of the ninth.

By the way, the Pirates have not been no-hit since Bob Gibson did it on August 14, 1971.

9:02 PM: The Pirates’ second-half collapse has been pretty depressing to watch, but they could be reaching new depths tonight against the Reds.

Homer Bailey has held the Pirates hitless through seven innings. The Reds currently lead it 1-0 thanks to a first-inning sacrifice fly by Todd Frazier.

Bailey has only allowed two baserunners all night, one on a fielding error by Scott Rolen in the third inning and the other via a walk to Andrew McCutchen in the seventh. McCutchen stole second base, but was then thrown out trying to steal third. Bailey has eight strikeouts and has thrown 57 out of 89 pitches for strikes.

The Pirates will send Jose Tabata, Pedro Alvarez and Clint Barmes to the plate in the bottom of the eighth. Stay tuned to see if Bailey can make a little history.

2017 Preview: The American League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League East

Boston may have the most talent and, in Mookie Betts, the best player. The Yankees have the best farm system. Baltimore has all the dingers and the best closer. Toronto may have the best collection of heels, at least in the view of fans of the other AL East teams.  The Rays have the best . . . hmm. I’ll get back to you on that.

Anyway, here are our previews for the American League East:

Boston Red Sox
Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays

Steven Matz likely to start season on DL; Zack Wheeler to adhere to innings limit

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Mets manager Terry Collins said on Wednesday, “It’s unlikely that [Steven Matz] will start the season with us.” The final spot in the Mets’ starting rotation will go to either Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo, Newsday’s Marc Carig reports.

On Wheeler’s innings limit, assistant GM John Ricco said, “There’s going to be some number but we don’t exactly know what that is.” Wheeler missed the last two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Neither Wheeler nor Lugo have had terrific springs as each carries a 5.11 and 5.56 Grapefruit League ERA, respectively. However, Carig notes that Wheeler has impressed simply by appearing healthy and brandishing a fastball that once again sits in the mid- to high-90’s. Lugo, meanwhile, proved crucial to the Mets last year, posting a 2.67 ERA across eight starts and nine relief appearances.