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Homer Bailey throws a no-hitter against the Pirates


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.

Report: Barry Bonds under consideration to be the Marlins hitting coach

Barry Bonds

This shouldn’t cause any controversy, lead to a lot of people saying dumb things or provide fodder for jokes at all. Nope, none whatsoever:

In what promises to be a bombshell move, if executed, all-time great slugger Barry Bonds is under consideration to become Marlins hitting coach.

Team higherups have quietly been discussing this possibility for weeks.

That’s Jon Heyman, who reminds us that Bonds has worked with the Giants in the spring in recent years. And who, no matter what else you can say about him, was one of the greatest hitters the game has ever seen. Also worth remembering that despite his controversial past, that greatness came not just from physical gifts, naturally or artificially bestowed. It came from his approach, preparation and strategy at the plate. No one can teach a hitter to hit like Barry Bonds, but you’d think that hitters could be taught to try to approach an at bat the way Barry Bonds would. And who better to do it than Barry Bonds?

That is, if Bonds is willing to drop his seemingly ideal retired life in San Francisco, move to Miami and work for Jeff Loria for nine months a year. Which, eh, who knows? But the possibility of it is pretty fascinating to think about.

Yadier Molina’s new backup: Cardinals sign Brayan Pena to two-year deal

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Veteran catcher Brayan Pena has agreed to a two-year, $5 million contract with the Cardinals, who’re investing much more than usual in their backup for Yadier Molina.

After bouncing around for a decade without getting even 250 plate appearances in a season Pena signed with the Reds and topped 350 plate appearances in both 2014 and 2015. His production didn’t improve any, as Pena hit .263 with five homers and a .652 OPS in 223 games as a regular.

Pena’s best skill is rarely striking out, which enables him to hit for a decent batting average, but he has very little power and swings at everything. He struggled to control the running game this season at age 33, but has a decent throw-out rate for his career.

Making a multi-year commitment to Pena suggests the Cardinals are no longer counting on Molina being the same type of workhorse behind the plate, which certainly makes sense given his age and injury history. Pena will replace Tony Cruz, who’s been Molina’s understudy since 2011 while hitting just .220 with five homers and a .572 OPS in 259 games.

While we wait for free agent signings: Andrew McCutchen stars in a one-act play

Andrew McCutchen
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It’s a pretty slow offseason so far. We’ve had a couple of minor signings. I guess Jordan Zimmermann is sort of a big deal. But it’s a lot more quiet so far this year than it was this time last year. I suppose there’s no real rhyme nor reason for it. Baseball offseason is long, there is no salary cap and thus there’s no rush to do things too quickly.

So, while we wait, here’s Andrew McCutchen doing his best to kill time until spring training starts:

Red Sox sign outfielder Chris Young

Chris Young Getty

Veteran outfielder Chris Young thrived in a platoon role for the Yankees this past season and now he’s headed to the rival Red Sox to fill a similar role, signing a multi-year deal with Boston according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com.

Young was once an everyday center fielder for the Diamondbacks, making the All-Star team in 2010 at age 26, but for the past 3-4 years he’s gotten 300-350 plate appearances in a part-time role facing mostly left-handed pitching. He hit .252 with 14 homers and a .773 OPS for the Yankees, but prior to that failed to top a .700 OPS in 2013 or 2014.

Given the Red Sox’s outfield depth–Mookie Betts, Rusney Castillo, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Brock Holt even with Hanley Ramirez back in the infield–Young is unlikely to work his way into everyday playing time at age 32, but he should get another 300 or so plate appearances while also providing a veteran fallback option. And it’s possible his arrival clears the way for a trade.