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Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Homer Bailey joins exclusive no-hit club


Homer Bailey has pitched two no-hitters. Meanwhile …

Clayton Kershaw, CC Sabathia, David Price, Cliff Lee, Adam Wainwright and Zack Greinke have combined to pitch zero no-hitters.

Baseball is a beautiful sport, ladies and gentlemen.

And on that note, our Useless Homer Bailey Information Department presents seven things you need to know about the latest member of the Two No-Hitter Club:

Homer Bailey
Homer Bailey struck out nine and walked one while throwing 109 pitches in his no-hitter against the Giants on Tuesday.

1. As we bet you've heard someplace, Bailey threw the final no-hitter of 2012 and the first no-hitter of 2013. Fun feat. He should know that only two other men pitched the last no-hitter of one season, then twirled the first no-no of the following season. Here they come:

Nolan Ryan 1974-75
Warren Spahn 1960-61

And now Homer Bailey. Pretty cool group!

2. In between his no-hitters, Bailey won exactly four games. Our friends at the Elias Sports Bureau tell us that only three pitchers in history beat him in the Fewest Wins Between No-Hitters standings (including wins in relief):

0: Johnny Vander Meer (1938)
2: Warren Spahn (1960-61)
3: Virgil Trucks (1952)

3. Another amazing Homer Bailey claim to fame: He now has thrown more no-hitters (two) than shutouts in which he allowed a hit (one). You won't be shocked to learn that no one else with multiple no-hitters has ever done that.

Fewest non-no-hit shutouts by pitchers with two-plus no-hitters since 1900:

Bailey, 1
Justin Verlander, 4
Steve Busby, 5
Mark Buehrle, 6
Hideo Nomo, 7

On the other hand, Walter Johnson also threw two no-hitters -- and 108 other shutouts. Second on that list: Christy Mathewson (two no-hitters and 77 other shutouts). So what are the odds that those guys would have pitched the same number of no-hitters as Homer Bailey? Off the charts, we'd say.

4. Bet you didn't know that while Bailey was firing his two no-hitters, no other Reds right-hander has pitched a no-hitter since Tom Seaver. In 1978. In between, 114 other right-handers have started games for the Reds – from Jose Rijo to Johnny Cueto, from Mario Soto to John Denny, from Aaron Harang to Fred Toliver -- and combined for zero no-hitters. While Homer Bailey was pitching two of them. Tremendous.

5. How amazing is it for any pitcher to cram two no-hitters into the first 43 wins of his career? Elias reports that only three pitchers in history have fired two no-hitters "faster" than that -- Vander Meer (two in his first 10 wins), Don Wilson (26) and Busby (28).

6. As dazzling as Bailey's stuff clearly is, opposing hitters he has faced in his career are batting .262 against him -- an average that wouldn't quite be a synonym for "unhittable." In fact, that's the second-highest opponent average against any pitcher since 1900 who has thrown multiple no-hitters. Guess who's first:

Mark Buehrle, .272
Homer Bailey, .262
Bob Forsch, .261
Pud Galvin, .261
Ken Holtzman, .255
Bill Stoneman, .253
Steve Busby, .253

7. Finally, you think the Giants have seen enough of Homer Bailey to last them about a decade? Last October, they faced him in Game 3 of the NLDS and got one hit against him in seven innings. Nine months later, they managed to beat that by getting no hits against him the next time around.

So here's his insane line in those two starts:

16 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 19 K

Just so you know, according to Elias, only three pitchers since 1900 have made consecutive regular-season starts against the same team, and thrown a no-hitter in one of them, plus at least seven one-hit or no-hit innings in the other:

• Dazzy Vance (Dodgers) versus Phillies:
CG one-hitter (Sept. 8, 1925) and no-hitter (Sept. 13, 1925)

• Tom Hughes (Braves) versus Pirates:
8-inning one-hitter (July 16, 1915) and no-hitter (June 15, 1916)

• Smoky Joe Wood (Red Sox) versus Browns:
CG one-hitter (July 7, 1911) and no-hitter (July 29, 1911)

To be clear, it wouldn't be quite accurate to say Bailey is the fourth pitcher to do this, because one of his starts came in the postseason. But that's a technicality the Giants wouldn't find real uplifting.

"We've got one hit off him in 16 innings," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Tuesday night, in that eloquent way of his. "I'd say he's got our number."