Homer Bailey: Ranking Reds Pitcher's Performance Amongst This Year's No-Hitters
When Cincinnati Reds right-hander Homer Bailey threw a no-hitter Friday against the Pittsburgh Pirates, he joined an exclusive club as the seventh pitcher/group of pitchers to hurl a no-hitter or perfect game in Major League Baseball...in the 2012 season.
Bailey, who entered the game with a 3.92 ERA and 1.30 WHIP, racked up 10 strikeouts with only one walk in the Reds' 1-0 victory.
The question now becomes, with so many no-hitters and perfect games this season, where does Bailey's performance rank?
Well, that's a good question, and I'm going to answer it for you right now.
Read on for a ranking of the seven no-hitters/perfect games in 2012.
7. Kevin Millwood and Company vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
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This was technically a no-hitter, even though it took six Seattle Mariners pitchers to complete the feat in the 1-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 8.
Kevin Millwood (six innings, one walk, six strikeouts) and the bullpen held the Dodgers to zero hits on three walks in this game, capitalizing on an offense that ended up scoring the fourth-fewest runs in baseball before the All-Star break.
The Mariners threw a total of 114 pitches in the shutout.
6. Johan Santana vs. St. Louis Cardinals
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Putting Johan Santana at No. 6 here almost seems unfair, given that he faced a St. Louis Cardinals team that scored the fourth-most runs before the All-Star break.
But when Santana tossed a no-hitter on June 1, it also took him 134 pitches to do so, and he walked five batters in the process. He also was playing with a home crowd behind him.
Nonetheless, Santana had eight strikeouts and showed what you can accomplish with good old-fashioned perseverance.
5. Homer Bailey vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
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Homer Bailey's night against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sept. 28 was mighty impressive.
Bailey fanned 10 batters while walking just one in the Cincinnati Reds' 1-0 victory. It took him a respectable 115 pitches to do so, too.
What keeps him at No. 5 is the fact that the Pirates had scored the 10th-fewest runs after the All-Star break headed into the matchup.
4. Jered Weaver vs. Minnesota Twins
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Jered Weaver racked up nine strikeouts and walked one batter in his no-hitter against the Minnesota Twins on May 2.
The right-handed three-time All-Star did so on 121 pitches (77 strikes) in front of a delighted home crowd.
He is ranked higher than Bailey because he was facing a better offensive club at the time than Bailey did on Sept. 28. (Keyword: "better"—the Twins still ranked 18th in runs scored before the All-Star break.)
3. Philip Humber vs. Seattle Mariners
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This is where we reach the no-hitters that also were perfect games.
Philip Humber pitched the first no-hitter and perfect game of the 2012 MLB season, doing so in just his second start (April 21).
Humber threw the fewest pitches of any no-hitter or perfect game this season (an astounding 95) while striking out nine in the 4-0 victory over the Mariners—in Seattle.
The only thing that keeps him at No. 3 is the fact that Seattle ranked 25th in runs scored before the All-Star break. A lot of pitchers excelled against the Mariners.
Still, a splendid performance from the 29-year-old.
2. Matt Cain vs. Houston Astros
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The Houston Astros may have ranked 23rd in runs scored before the All-Star break, but what Matt Cain did in San Francisco on June 13 will never be forgotten.
The veteran right-hander racked up 14 strikeouts en route to a perfect game while doing so on 125 pitches. He threw 86 strikes and hit every spot with every pitch in his arsenal.
The Giants destroyed the Astros that day, 10-0, in a memorable moment for the 27-year-old.
1. Felix Hernandez vs. Tampa Bay Rays
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Not only did Felix Hernandez face a stronger offense than Millwood, Bailey, Weaver, Humber or Cain but he also racked up 12 strikeouts while throwing 113 pitches on Aug. 15 in Seattle.
"King Felix" really was king that day, throwing a perfect game against the contending Tampa Bay Rays, a team that has scored the 15th-most runs in baseball after the All-Star break.
As if you needed any reminder, the 26-year-old from Venezuela showed us all on that day why he's a three-time All-Star and Cy Young Award winner.