Homer Bailey becomes the 28th pitcher in major league history to throw multiple no-hitters

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The two most recent no-hit performances in Major League Baseball belong to Cincy’s Homer Bailey.

Bailey’s first, last September 28 at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park, required 115 pitches and played out in front of a small opposing crowd of yellow and black. The scene on Tuesday night was a little more special.

Bailey needed only 109 pitches to shut down the defending World Series-champion Giants in front of an intense and attentive but clearly nervous group of 27,000-plus fans at Great American Ball Park. He benefited from some nice defensive plays — one especially from Joey Votto — but yielded only a seventh-inning walk to Gregor Blanco and racked up nine strikeouts.

The last pitcher to own the two most recent no-hitters in the majors was Nolan Ryan (in 1974-1975).

Only 28 pitchers in history have thrown multiple no-hitters and just five (Cy Young, Sandy Koufax, Bob Feller, Larry Corcoran and Ryan) have thrown three or more. At 27 years old, Bailey has a shot to join that club.

The former No. 7 overall pick owns a 3.57 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 111/26 K/BB ratio through 111 innings this season for third-place Reds. He is scheduled to face the light-hitting Mariners at home next time out.

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉