What does Homer Bailey's no-hitter on Friday mean for the Bucs?
Short answer: Not a whole lot. For many Pirates fans, Homer Bailey's 10-strikeout no-no will simply be the rotting cherry atop the curdled sundae that the Bucs' season has become. It doesn't have any grand significance beyond that. Throughout baseball, 2012 has been a season of no-hitters, and nationally, few fans will even remember in a month that this happened.
Prior to Friday night, the Pirates had not been no-hit since 1971. That's incredible. Consider that this team was two-hit by Roy Halladay and Jonathan Papelpon on the first game of the season. They only got six hits the following day. Then, two games after that, they were five-hit by Clayton Kershaw and Javy Guerra. The next day, Chad Billingsley and the Dodgers held them to five hits. Two games later, they were one-hit by Matt Cain, with the Bucs' only hit coming from pitcher James McDonald. The start of their next series was a six-hit game against Joe Saunders and the Diamondbacks. Four days later, Lance Lynn and the Cardinals four-hit them. Two days later, it was just six hits against Kyle Lohse and the Cards. Five days later, it was six hits against Tommy Hanson and Kris Medlen. All these games were in April. All that was before Justin Verlander took a no-hitter into the ninth against them in May.
The Pirates' offense did, of course, pick up considerably in June and July, and the brutal April schedule surely had something to do with the offense's early struggles. But this still wasn't a good hitting team. Now, couple that with the Bucs' tendency -- and this goes back years -- to vanish in the last couple months of the season. The Pirates got two-hit by Jason Marquis in August, and three-hit by Yovani Gallardo in September, racking up loss after loss in the games in between. A no-hitter was no great surprise.
Compared with the rest of the one-hit and two-hit and three-hit and four-hit games the Pirates have suffered this year, the Bailey game wasn't even a terrible one. It wasn't a good offensive performance, or anything resembling one, but the Pirates had a number of hard-hit balls that just didn't fall in.
In the end, then, Bailey's no-hitter wasn't some grand embarrassment. It was a minor embarrassment piled atop a long list of minor embarrassments. And, oddly, that seems to be how most fans are treating it. The Pirates had the playoffs in their sights two months ago, peaking at 16 games above .500. The latest loss to Bailey finally rules out the possibility of a winning season. With the team's collapse down the stretch, most fans are too numb to even care much that it was a no-hitter.