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.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.